Born in Akron, Ohio, Rita Dove was educated at Miami University in Ohio, the University of Tübingen in Germany, and the University of Iowa. She teaches at the University of Virginia. History and myth are frequent subjects. A book-length poem sequence, Thomas and Beulah (1986), presents her maternal grandparents' family history in the broad context of African American migration north after reconstruction. Mother Love (1995) is a contemporary retelling of the story of Demeter and Persephone.