Former US Poet Laureate visits Kent State

Aaron Corpora

Akron native and former United States Poet Laureate Rita Dove visited Kent State on Thursday as part of the Wick Poetry Center’s reading series.

Dove spent the day touring the Kent State campus, meeting with students, faculty and members of the community. Her afternoon began with a session in the University Library, where many classes and poetry enthusiasts made their way to listen as Dove fielded questions from the audience and read some of her original works.

“We wanted Rita Dove for many reasons,” Wick’s program manager Jessica Jewell said. “We do a Poet Laureate series, and she’s an Akron native. We all really admire her work, so she was the logical choice.”

Dove was recruited by the Wick Poetry Center to do a reading on campus as part of its spring reading series. This was the fourth year in a row that Wick has hosted a former US Poet Laureate.

Dove acknowledges Akron and her upbringing as helping shape her into the person that she is today.

“When I went out into the world, I realized how lucky I was to grow up in the neighborhood that I did,” said Dove during the question and answer session.

Dove said she had not seen the city of Kent in many years.

“I didn’t recognize Kent at all when we came back here,” she said.

Dove’s day at Kent State concluded with one of Wick’s most anticipated events of the semester — a poetry reading from Dove in the Kiva.

The Kiva came close to reaching maximum capacity as students, teachers and poetry enthusiasts took their seats. Dove read some of her personal favorite works and provide some background about each one.

Julia Cicchinelli, a sophomore communication major, attended the reading for extra credit in her College Writing II class.

“We’d read some of Rita Dove’s poems in class in preparation for tonight, so after hearing a few of her works this week I was excited to listen to her speak in person,” Cicchinelli said. “It was especially neat to hear from someone from around the area who became so successful.”

Contact Aaron Corpora at [email protected].