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April 5, 2016


Rita Dove

About This Poem


“Many Jewish musicians and composers were interned at Theresienstadt, the ‘model’ concentration camp showcased by the Nazis when the Red Cross arrived for inspection: New clothes were issued, fresh produce displayed in the ‘marketplace,’ while the musicians played concerts and marched in mock parades. As soon as the inspectors left, grim reality returned—including death marches to mass extermination sites like Auschwitz. Even so, those whom Fate spared one more time continued to compose and perform for their fellow inmates; they even staged operas from memory. How does one retain a human yearning in the midst of such horror?”
—Rita Dove


Rita Dove is the author of Collected Poems: 1974-2004 (W. W. Norton, 2016). She teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.


Photo credit: Fred Viebahn

Poetry by Dove


Collected Poems: 1972-2004

(W. W. Norton, 2016) 


"sorrows" by Lucille Clifton


"Duende" by Tracy K. Smith


"Little Box" by Marilyn Nelson


Poems on the Air


Every weekday at 6 p.m. (EST) during National Poetry Month, WQXR 105.9 FM will feature a special reading of a poem from the Poem-a-Day series. Tune in or visit

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