Thomas and Beulah; Poems

Ray A. Dove (Cover photograph) and Fred Viebahn (a Pittsburgh: Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 1986. First Edition [stated], presumed first printing thus--with Pulitzer Prize banner. Trade paperback. Format is approximately 5.25 inches by 8.5 inches. 79, [1] pages. Chronology. Cover states Winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Signed by the author on the title page. These poems tell two sides of a story and are meant to be read in sequence. Rita Frances Dove (born August 28, 1952) is an American poet and essayist. From 1993 to 1995, she served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She is the first African American to have been appointed since the position was created by an act of Congress in 1986 from the previous "consultant in poetry" position (1937–86). Dove also received an appointment as "special consultant in poetry" for the Library of Congress's bicentennial year from 1999 to 2000. Dove is the second African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, in 1987, and she served as the Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2004 to 2006. Since 1989, she has been teaching at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she held the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English from 1993 to 2020; as of 2020 she holds the chair of Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing. Dove's work cannot be confined to a specific era or school in contemporary literature; her wide-ranging topics and the precise poetic language with which she captures complex emotions defy easy categorization. Her most famous work to date is Thomas and Beulah, published by Carnegie-Mellon University Press in 1986, a collection of poems loosely based on the lives of her maternal grandparents, for which she received the Pulitzer Prize in 1987. The poems in this unusual book tell a story, forming a narrative almost like a realistic novel. Read in sequence as intended, they tell of the lives of a married black couple (not unlike Dove's own grandparents) from the early part of the century until their deaths in the 1960s, a period that spans the great migration of blacks from rural south to urban north. But this is merely the social backdrop to the story of a marriage. Two separate sequences offer two views of the couple's lives: the first, "Mandolin," consists of 23 poems giving Thomas's side, and "Canary in Bloom" gives Beulah's in 21 poems. Together they paint a detailed, poetically dense portrait of two lives in all their frailty, dignity and complexity. The dueling perspectives of Thomas and Beulah build on each other, fleshing out the narrative of a complete life, and seventy years of romance. Thomas dies reassuring Beulah that they lived a good life together, which they never believed, and the sentiment is both sweet and sincere. In some moments, when perspectives contradict, it is easy to see the tensions in the marriage – typical tensions, which more clearly develop each character in turn and give the story nuance. The result is a personal history of a typical family at a pivotal moment in history, too common for any historian of significance to note, but important because it gives an account of the real lives of African American people during the twentieth century. Condition: Very good.

Keywords: Poetry, Poems, Pulitzer Prize, Verse, Beulah, Grandparents, Pain, Courtship, Guilt, Zeppelin, Viaduct, Blues, Fury, Aircraft, Aurora Borealis, Volume, Missing, Charm, Gospel, Possum, Stroke, Coal Company, Motherhood, Obedience, Pomade, Headdress, Win

ISBN: 0887480217

[Book #85436]

Price: $275.00

See all items in Aircraft
See all items by