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by Rita Dove

Rosa Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

There is no fancy or formal form or meter in this poem, but that doesn't mean there isn't a very definite structure and intentional pace. When you look at the poem on the page it might not seem lik...


Like many things in this poem, who the speaker is isn't exactly clear. Don't pull your hair out trying to pin it down (it's not a good look for anyone—ask Miley Cyrus). The identity of the speake...


Though Dove tries to keep it non-specific ("a place" and "a bench"), when you read about Rosa Parks it's difficult not to have some idea of setting. History's given us a leg up going into this poem...

Sound Check

If the sound of this poem were a Starbucks beverage (bear with us here), this would definitely not be the caffeinated and sugared rant of a venti caramel latte. It would probably be more like a smo...

What's Up With the Title?

Rosa—well, that could be anyone! That could be your aunt from South Dakota. Not in this case, though (sorry Aunt Rosa). This poem is talking about the Rosa Parks, the woman who made a major impac...

Calling Card

Take it personally. That's what many of Rita Dove's poems do with history. No, they don't get all sensitive and offended—that's not what we mean. We mean that Dove likes to take events and figure...


You could walk for days at this level, but be careful not to breeze by too quickly. You'll miss all the beautiful sights.


Rita Dove isn't just a talented poet; she and her husband are pretty smooth ballroom dancers, too. (Source.)Zap! Rita Dove's house was struck by lightning. She and her husband were OK, but their st...

Steaminess Rating

There is just about zero sexy going on in this poem—unless you count picking up a lady's purse, in which case you have a very active imagination.


Rosa Parks (Title): "Rosa" refers to Rosa Parks, the Civil Rights activist from Alabama who refused to give up her seat to a white person in 1955. Her action helped spark the Montgomery Bus Boycott...

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