Writers Forum Videos


Stan Sanvel Rubin and Judith Kitchen

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Read the Transcript of the Interview (238 KB)


Dove discusses her fascination with the unseen and insignificant details of historical events and individual lives. This interest in the less celebrated moments of experience shaped Museum and Thomas and Beulah. Her careful attention to language, form, structure, and organization in her work is revealed throughout the interview. She talks about the crafting of "Parsley" as well as the organization of the Museum. Dove says she doesn't want the reader to know what is coming in a book. She says the worst thing that can happen to a poet is to be self-conscious because it interferes with the creative process. She tries not to "clutter her head" with too much literary critique and theory, particularly when she is composing.

Work(s) Discussed:

  • The Yellow House on the Corner
  • Museum
  • Thomas and Beulah

Work(s) Read:

  • "Parsley"
  • "Delft"
  • "Anti-Father"
  • "Dusting"
  • "Variation on Pain"

Date of Forum


Length of Video


Document Type



This interview has been published in the following venues:

"A Conversation with Rita Dove." Rubin and Earl G. Ingersoll. Black Literature Forum 20 (1986):227.

"The Underside of the Story: A Conversation with Rita Dove." The Post-Confessionals. Earl Ingersoll, Judith Kitchen, and Stan Sanvel Rubin, Eds. Cranbury, NJ: Associated U P, 1989, 151-65.

Rita Dove: 03-06-1985

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