When Doves Fly
Rita Dove is one of the most astounding poets in America. I’m brave enough to declare that statement and stand completely behind it. I read Rita Dove, for the first time, in my Contemporary Poetry class. At the time of my encounter with Rita I remember being in a bit of a funk because I was digging so deep in my poetry to reveal the richness in my culture as a black woman. But reading Rita freed me of my fears being to open because she creates a sense of rawness in her pieces that draws readers in! I admire that, greatly. Looking up to her style has helped me decipher the boundary.
Here’s a poem Ms. Dove wrote called “Vacation” that exhibits her balance in description, precision in words, and perfection in rhythm:
I love the hour before takeoff, that stretch of no time, no home but the gray vinyl seats linked like unfolding paper dolls. Soon we shall be summoned to the gate, soon enough there’ll be the clumsy procedure of row numbers and perforated stubs—but for now I can look at these ragtag nuclear families with their cooing and bickering or the heeled bachelorette trying to ignore a baby’s wail and the baby’s exhausted mother waiting to be called up early while the athlete, one monstrous hand asleep on his duffel bag, listens, perched like a seal trained for the plunge. Even the lone executive who has wandered this far into summer with his lasered itinerary, briefcase knocking his knees—even he has worked for the pleasure of bearing no more than a scrap of himself into this hall. He’ll dine out, she’ll sleep late, they’ll let the sun burn them happy all morning —a little hope, a little whimsy before the loudspeaker blurts and we leap up to become Flight 828, now boarding at Gate 17.
Get the new book if you’re into contemporary poetry . I know I plan on buying it and taking PLENTY of notes!