Anchoring her poetic narrative in the midst of the Great Migration, Rita Dove knits together the story of Thomas and Beulah, a black couple living in the industrial and urban Midwest. Divided into two halves, the first twenty-three poems in the section “Mandolin” are Thomas’s while the other twenty-one in the section “Canary in Bloom” are Beulah’s. The two halves come together in a poetry collection that tells the story of a migrant generation from two gendered vantage points. Dove was the second black woman to be named United States Poet Laureate, after Gwendolyn Brooks. Thomas and Beulah garnered her the Pulitzer Prize in 1987.