Rita Dove and Kyle Dargan Gage Skidmore, Slowking

The Academy of American Poets recently honored two poets with UVA connections: English professor Rita Dove, the Pulitzer Prize-winning former U.S. poet laureate, and Kyle Dargan (Col ’02), one of Dove’s former students.

Dove won the prestigious Wallace Stevens Award for “proven mastery” in poetry. Dargan, an associate professor at American University, took home the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for his book Anagnorisis. “Whenever Rita wins something or achieves something, I’m never surprised,” Dargan said. “She’s a giant.”

Both said their honors shine a light on UVA’s creative writing program. “Though it has been listed as one of the top creative writing programs in the country, I think people tend to think, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s just numbers,’ ” Dove said. “Here’s some proof in the pudding that our students consistently publish books and go out and become really, really well-respected writers. It’s just great to see it shown in such a dramatic fashion.”