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On the Bus With Rosa Parks

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  205 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
In these brilliant poems, Rita Dove treats us to a panoply of human endeavor, shot through with the electrifying jazz of her lyric elegance. From the opening sequence, "Cameos", to the civil rights struggle of the final sequence, she explores the intersection of individual fate and history.
Paperback, 96 pages
Published April 17th 2000 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1999)
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Feb 29, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Dove descends onto the concreteness of the lives of poetry on the bus. Strange and familiar as historical fiction.
Apr 18, 2014 William rated it really liked it
An ok collection of poems with a few standouts. The first set, "Cameos," captures mid-century working life for blacks. Dove is especially vivid here. The closing sequence, the namesake for the book, tells the Rosa Parks story more obliquely, less narrative than moments, or reflections. I had hoped, I suppose, for a little more heat here, but Dove instead keeps the voice cool as is her style.

For a poem for graduation or an important birthday, Testimonial brought a lot of pleasure:

Back when the e
Nov 19, 2015 Robin rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
There's a lot here that I can appreciate on a technical, craft level... but it just isn't necessarily my thing. I want to understand Dove's poetry and it feels at once accessible and inaccessible - like I have to work too hard to find out what's being said, and in the end it feels like too much and not enough.
Jan 13, 2016 SmarterLilac rated it really liked it
Lovely. Gets to the root of some deep social concerns (racial identity, racism, poverty and violence) with concision and finesse. But I would expect nothing less from Ms. Dove, who continues to create the most durable and stunning American poetry of our age.
Vikki Marshall
Mar 06, 2013 Vikki Marshall rated it really liked it
Rita Dove is a gifted, treasured poet with accolades too numerous to mention, her words so perfectly chosen. In this collection of poetry she pays tribute to the wisdom that existed before us and to the people whose simple, elegant acts have had a profound impact on the world around them. Her intimate pieces invite readers to see Ms. Dove as a child with the young eyes of a future poet observing the world around her. The 10 poems directly attributed to the humble humanity of Rosa Parks, are brea ...more
Oswego Public Library District
On the Bus with Rosa Parks is a heartfelt collection of poems by the former U.S. Poet Laureate, Rita Dove. Poems like “Maple Valley Branch Library, 1967” and “Singsong” testify to the vivid imagery she masters. Dove writes with a thoughtfulness that makes her poems intriguing and beautiful. There are poems tied to the Civil Rights Movement, poems about human struggle, and poems that provide a glimpse into everyday life. - JM

Place a hold on On the Bus with Rosa Parks.
Oct 03, 2010 Jesse rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous, breath-taking, and inspired! Pure, original, and engrossing! Dove has a command of the art that, I believe, outshines many of her contemporaries. Her powerful verse is like a lighthouse beacon shining a glorious light upon an American vessel of poetry, long thought to be lost at sea. Her work comes equipped with powerful textual imagery which touches deepest regions of the soul, and each poem is topped with a sense of euphoric delight upon literary consumption. If you can think of any ...more
Jan 16, 2016 Ellice rated it really liked it
Wonderful linked poems by the former Poet Laureate of the United States. As the title would suggest, many do cover the Civil Rights Movement, but many are about everyday folk who are not celebrated, with some poems seeming to have an autobiographical bent. These poems feel like deep pools--something you can enjoy on a surface level, but that reveals more and more the deeper you go--and perhaps you'll never reach the bottom. My favorite is "The First Book," about the promise of learning to read, ...more
Jul 31, 2015 Anne rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, adult, 2015
Read for SPL's summer reading bingo.
Aug 11, 2010 Nisha added it
Shelves: poetry
did NOT enjoy this book. i've been trying to read more poetry since i'm pretty dense about it, but even so, i'm pretty sure this is NOT good poetry. i checked out some reviews on amazon and a few people said that this is far from rita dove's best work, so maybe i should have tried another one of her collections, but i picked this up at my used book store for 1. it's going in the pile to be donated (again). ...more
Sherry (sethurner)
Mar 15, 2009 Sherry (sethurner) rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
A slender volume of accessible poems that highlight the lives of black women. I found the book because I was looking up information on the Venus of Villandorf, and one of the poems is about the little goddess, but the poems cover wide-ranging topics.
Ada  Library
Dec 23, 2013 Ada Library rated it really liked it
Fans of Rita Dove won't be disappointed with this collection of poems.
Nov 19, 2011 Molly rated it really liked it
Great poetry and insight into the culture of the 1950s/60s! I definitely recommend :)
Katie M.
Dec 19, 2011 Katie M. rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I could not possibly be more unqualified to evaluate poems. I... liked them?
Stephen Frey Wagg
Feb 29, 2008 Stephen Frey Wagg rated it liked it
dear Sophie,
littlest phoenix.
Maxie Steer
Mar 15, 2011 Maxie Steer rated it it was amazing
Poignant and beautiful
Apr 25, 2008 Cre rated it it was amazing
Loved It
Dec 21, 2011 Phoebe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Lovely poetry
Sep 05, 2007 Laura rated it really liked it
A good poet.
May 24, 2008 Philip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Mike rated it it was amazing
Oct 19, 2016
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Rita Dove, former U.S. Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner, and musician, lives in Charlottesville, where she is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.
More about Rita Dove...

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“I was pirouette and flourish,
I was filigree and flame.
How could I count my blessings
when I didn't know their names?”
“I've never

stopped wanting to cross
the equator, or touch an elk's
horns, or sing Tosca or screw
James Dean in a field of wheat.
To hell with wisdom. They're all wrong:
I'll never be through with my life.”
More quotes…