The Smoothest Americans

Stop by the poster and get a free smoothie

A Brief Biography

Rita Dove served as Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant to the Library of Congress from 1993 to 1995 and as Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2004 to 2006. She has received numerous literary and academic honors, among them the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry (video) and, more recently, the 2003 Emily Couric Leadership Award, the 2001 Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award, the 1997 Sara Lee Frontrunner Award, the 1997 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, the 1996 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities and the 1996 National Humanities Medal (video) from President Clinton. In 2006 she received the Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service (award details, press release, newspaper coverage and photos), in 2007 she became a Chubb Fellow at Yale University, in 2008 she was honored with the Library of Virginia's Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2009 she received the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal and the Premio Capri. President Barack Obama presented her with the 2011 National Medal of Arts (White House video-excerpt, White House video-full ceremony,personal slide show), which made her the only poet with both the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts to her credit. To date, 25 honorary doctorates have been bestowed upon Rita Dove, most recently -- in 2014 - by Yale University (video) and - in 2013 - by Emerson College in Boston (video) and Emory University in Atlanta (video).

American Smooth

We were dancing, it must have been a foxtrot or a waltz, something romantic, but requiring restraint, rise and fall, precise execution as we moved into the next song without stopping,-two chests heaved above a seven league stride, such perfect agony, one learns to smile through, ecstatic mimicry, being the sine qua non, of american smooth

Emotions and Transitions

I chose this poem because of its swift change of mood. The quick transition from laboring under a task to being able to complete what they were doing without effort war very heart warming.

American Smooth, a continuation

And because I was distracted by the effort of keeping my frame, the leftward lean, head turned just enough to gaze out past your head, and always smiling, smiling,

I didn't notice haw still you'd become until we had done it,

for two measures, four,

achieved flight, that swift and serene magnificence

remembered who we were, and brought us back down

Poetry Everywhere: "American Smooth" by Rita Dove