English (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Joe Pellegrino


Throughout her career, Rita Dove’s poetic project has circled around addressing commonly-conceived ways of reading history, offering a variety of perspectives on histories that may have been forgotten or overlooked. This thesis presents an analysis of poems in her Pulitzer Prize winning Thomas and Beulah as an exploration of personal histories which may not be familiar to anyone beyond a small circle of family members. I move then to an analysis of selected poems in her On the Bus with Rosa Parks as an example of her explorations of famous historical events through multiple lenses, each coming from voices that are either overlooked or forgotten. Finally, I consider several poems from Sonata Mulattica as representative of Dove’s work to uncover hidden histories, in this case the life of George Bridgetower, the mulatto violin prodigy, internationally famous in his time but forgotten now, for whom Beethoven originally wrote his famous Kreutzer Sonata.