Rick Barot's Chord, published by Sarabande Books, has won the 2016 UNT Rilke Prize. The $10,000 prize recognizes a book written by a mid-career poet and published in the preceding year that demonstrates exceptional artistry and vision. A Q&A and reception for Barot will be held on Wednesday, April 13, at UNT on the Square and a campus reading will take place on Thursday, April 14, 2016.
In Chord, the poet Rick Barot explores the hazards and marvels of beauty in relation to those of language with its potential to connect and divide, clarify and obscure. Words repeatedly appear as failed mimetically and, by virtue of this, fraught politically, and Barot's allusions to the writing process are less self-regarding than enlarging of our empathy, longing, and sense of wonder for that which must lie, in part, beyond representation. The more language knows of itself and the world, the larger the experience of the unknown. The language of elegy becomes the language of recovery. What the speaker says in one poem figures as a gesture of both advocacy and inquiry: "you need to ask what is/ left out for beauty's sake to see how the unspoken/ will inflect the things you have allowed yourself to say." Throughout his remarkable book, Barot weds the experience of beauty to the horror of experience. Beauty cannot be extricated from all that it is not.
Barot has published two previous books of poetry with Sarabande Books: The Darker Fall (2002), which received the Kathryn A. Morton Prize, and Want (2008), which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize. Chord is also shortlisted for the PEN Open Book Award and a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. Barot's poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications including Poetry, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Artist Trust of Washington, the Civitella Ranieri, and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace E. Stegner Fellow and a Jones Lecturer. He lives in Tacoma, Washington and directs The Rainier Writing Workshop, the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at Pacific Lutheran University. He is also the poetry editor for New England Review.
The judges also selected three finalists for this year's Rilke Prize: Dan Beachy-Quick's gentlessness (Tupelo Press), Joanna Klink's Excerpts from a Secret Prophecy (Penguin Books), and Melissa Kwasny's Pictograph (Milkweed Editions).
Click here for more information about this year's UNT Rilke Prize.
Click here for a feature on KERA's Art & Seek!
Congratulations Rick Barot! Click here for an audio file of Rick's campus reading on April 14, 2016.
The UNT Rilke Prize
Department of English
University of North Texas
1155 Union Circle #311307
Denton, TX 76203-5017
Guidelines and entry form for the 2017 UNT Rilke Prize will be posted in August of 2016.
UNT Rilke Prize Recipients:
Mark Wunderlich, 2015 for The Earth Avails
Click here for more information about our 2015 winner.
Click here for KERA radio feature by Jerome Weeks
Click Here for an American Literary Review interview with Mark Wunderlich.
Katie Peterson, 2014 for The Accounts
Click here for more information about 2014 winner.
Click here for a podcast interview with Katie Peterson.
Click here for an interview and radio piece by Jerome Weeks.
Paisley Rekdal, 2013 for Animal Eye
Click here for more information about the 2013 winner!
Click here for a podcast interview with Paisley Rekdal.
Laura Kasischke, 2012 for Space, in Chains
Click here for more information about our inaugural winner!
Click here for a podcast interview with Laura Kasischke.
Contact: Lisa Vining / email@example.com / 940-369-5981