The most celebrated African American poets in America pay homage to the life’s work of former Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Rita Dove (University of Virginia). The occasion was the inspiration of Joanne Gabbin, Director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University. With Good Reason interviews Rita Dove and features readings from Dove, as well as readings by renowned poets Elizabeth Alexander and Ishmael Reed.

Later in the show: A common myth is that Native Americans were an “oral people” and did not engage in literacy. In his book, Red Ink, Drew Lopenzina (Old Dominion University) argues that Native Americans early on acquired the skills of reading and writing. Also featured: In the movies, the American frontier is a lawless place. But historian Turk McCleskey (Virginia Military Institute) studied 18th-century court records and found that the first settlers of Virginia’s frontier actually took the law very seriously. And: We have a sense of what early America looked like, but Bonnie Gordon (University of Virginia) and Emily Gale ask: What did it sound like? From bawdy tavern songs to tunes about Thomas Jefferson’s relationship with Sally Hemings, Gordon and Gale are uncovering the soundscape of early America.

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