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by Rita Dove

Analysis: Calling Card

History made Personal

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 figures in history and show us a personal, human side. We've looked at this in "Rosa," and you can also see it in "Ludwig Van Beethoven's Return to Vienna." Dove wants to give us a perspective that we wouldn't ever get from a history lesson. Oftentimes this perspective is rooted more heavily in imagination than fact. While Dove likes to explore some famous historical figures, she gives the everyday person just as much airtime. The poems in Thomas and Beulah imagine the lives of two African-Americans from the early 1900s to their death in the 1960s. It gives readers a unique, and personal perspective on African-American history during that time. For Dove, history isn't a chronological timeline, it's the fabric of who we are—and that's worth taking personally.

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