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Through the Ivory Gate Hardcover – October 13, 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books; 1st edition (October 13, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679416048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679416043
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,554,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

A Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (1987) occasionally gives her gift free rein in this somewhat mechanically rendered first novel- -about a young artistic black woman and her search for self. Virginia King returns to Akron, her hometown, as an artist-in- the-schools. Her interest in classical cello has become little more than a hobby since the end of her affair with a fellow cellist; her studies of drama and mime led to a dead end because Nixon-era America had no work for a serious black actress; and the experimental puppetry troupe she worked and lived with has gone under. But now, at Washington Elementary School, everything seems at first to go her way: she all but effortlessly captivates the children, as well as a gorgeous man who wears great-smelling cologne and helps heal past disappointment. For drama, there's the revelation of a family secret, the conflict between marriage and career, and an accident to a child. In between, Virginia visits her wise grandmother, delivers essaylike disquisitions on the history and psychology of puppetry, and has serious thoughts about the cello's classical repertoire. In these sections--even the didactic ones--the author seems to care about her subject and her own words. Perhaps adherence to conventional structure and development hindered Dove's vision: the telling of Virginia's personal story often seems driven more by obligation than inspiration. Virginia worth knowing, but she's not alive enough on the page to be of interest for herself instead of just for her situation. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From the Inside Flap

A debut novel by the 1987 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. When a woman returns to her Midwestern hometown as an artist-in-residence to teach puppetry to schoolchildren, her homecoming also means dealing with memories of racism, rejected love--and truths about her family. Author readings.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Rita Dove served as Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant to the Library of Congress from 1993 to 1995 and as Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2004 to 2006. She has received numerous literary and academic honors, among them the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and, more recently, the 2003 Emily Couric Leadership Award, the 2001 Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award, the 1997 Sara Lee Frontrunner Award, the 1997 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, the 1996 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities and the 1996 National Humanities Medal. In 2006 she received the Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service (together with Anderson Cooper, John Glenn, Mike Nichols and Queen Noor of Jordan), in 2007 she became a Chubb Fellow at Yale University, in 2008 she was honored with the Library of Virginia's Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2009 she received the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal and the Premio Capri (the international prize of the Italian "island of poetry").

Ms. Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952. A 1970 Presidential Scholar, she received her B.A. summa cum laude from Miami University of Ohio and her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. She also held a Fulbright scholarship at the Universität Tübingen in Germany. She has published the poetry collections The Yellow House on the Corner (1980), Museum (1983), Thomas and Beulah (1986), Grace Notes (1989), Selected Poems (1993), Mother Love (1995), On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999), American Smooth (2004), a book of short stories, Fifth Sunday (1985), the novel Through the Ivory Gate (1992), essays under the title The Poet's World (1995), and the play The Darker Face of the Earth, which had its world premiere in 1996 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and was subsequently produced at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Royal National Theatre in London, and other theatres. Seven for Luck, a song cycle for soprano and orchestra with music by John Williams, was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood in 1998. For "America's Millennium," the White House's 1999/2000 New Year's celebration, Ms. Dove contributed -- in a live reading at the Lincoln Memorial, accompanied by John Williams's music -- a poem to Steven Spielberg's documentary The Unfinished Journey. She is the editor of The Best American Poetry 2000, and from January 2000 to January 2002 she wrote a weekly column, "Poet's Choice," for The Washington Post. Her latest poetry collection, Sonata Mulattica, was published by W.W. Norton & Company in the spring of 2009. Most recently she edited "The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century American Poetry" (2011).

Rita Dove is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she lives with her husband, the German writer Fred Viebahn. They have a grown daughter, Aviva Dove-Viebahn.

More biographical information is available at http://www.people.virginia.edu/~rfd4b/

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lain on April 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
The book began slow. It was a very slow read. There were moments were the story could have expand and been worth reading but then it would wonder off again. This book had real potiential. It could have been so good. It was all over the place. The ending sucked.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gatorbear83 on January 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I sent this book as a gift to a friend. It arrived on time despite my procrastinating. She loved it!
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