Late-breaking news from the White House (really!): President Obama will award U.Va. English professor Rita Dove (right) the National Medal of Arts on Monday afternoon.
Dove — the former U.S. Poet Laureate — is to be among eight recipients of the award. Others include actor Al Pacino and classical pianist Andre’ Watts. Obama will also hand out nine National Humanities Medals. The event begins at 1:45 p.m. and will be streamed live online here.
The White House press release says Dove is being honored “for her contributions as an American poet and author. Ms. Dove creates works that are equal parts beauty, lyricism, critique, and politics. Ms. Dove has worked to create popular interest in the literary arts, serving as the United States’ youngest Poet Laureate and advocating on behalf of the diversity and vitality of American poetry and literature.”
Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English, is only the ninth poet to receive the award, and is the youngest. In 1996, she received the other major presidential lifetime achievement award, the National Humanities Medal. The only others to have won both are novelists Eudora Welty and Philip Roth.
Dove is the only person to have won both medals and held the Poet Laureateship.
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