An annual award of a $10,000 recognizing a book that demonstrates exceptional artistry and vision written by a mid-career poet and published in the preceding year. The prize is named after the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), a writer whose work embodies the qualities of ambition, intellectual and imaginative scope, and technical mastery we seek to recognize.
2018 UNT Rilke Prize
Allison Benis White
Please Bury Me in This
Allison Benis White's Please Bury Me in This, published by Four Way Books, has won the 2018 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 White will be held on Wednesday, April 11, at UNT on the Square and a campus reading will take place on Thursday, April 12, 2018.
In her moving book-length meditation on language and bereavement, Please Bury Me in This, the poet Allison Benis White writes, "In the museum of sadness, in the museum of light-- // I would climb so carefully inside the glass coffin and lower the lid." The book enacts just such an attempt, to enter the space of the unspeakable--the suffering of those lost to suicide--and to speak there, but the gestures of longing remain fraught, haunted by hopelessness, destined to begin and begin again. The suicide note, the letter to the dead, the message scrawled by a death camp victim and buried in a jar--they resonate as modes of singing, of reaching toward the inaccessible, whose radical mystery remains, and therein resides a measure of the music's beauty, its power to hold us, if only briefly, in its glass. Out of the mouth, a ring of gray against a wall. Out of emptiness, a listening, an inconsolable compulsion to "assemble the soul."
Allison Benis White is the author of Please Bury Me in This and Small Porcelain Head, selected by Claudia Rankine for the Levis Prize in Poetry and named a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the California Book Award. Her first book, Self-Portrait with Crayon, received the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Book Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, 2017 Pushcart Prize XLI: Best of the Small Presses, and elsewhere. She has received honors and awards from the San Francisco Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, and Poets & Writers magazine. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. http://www.allisonbeniswhite.com/
The judges also selected three finalists for this year's Rilke Prize: Christopher Howell's Love's Last Number (Milkweed Editions), Alessandra Lynch's Daylily Called it a Dangerous Moment (Alice James Books), and Maurice Manning's One Man's Dark (Copper Canyon Press)
Click here for a feature on KERA's Art & Seek about Allison Benis White and the UNT Rilke Prize.
Click here for an audio file of Allison's campus reading on April 12, 2018.
2018 UNT Rilke Prize winner Allison Benis White.
Bruce Bond, Allison Benis White, Jehanne Dubrow, and Corey Marks.
UNT Rilke Prize Recipients:
Wayne Miller, 2017 for Post-
Click here to listen to an audio file of Wayne's campus reading on April 13, 2017.
Rick Barot, 2016 for Chord
Click here for a feature on KERA's Art & Seek!
Click here for an audio file of Rick's campus reading on April 14, 2016.
Click here for an interview from American Literary Review.
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.
The UNT Rilke Prize is offered by Creative Writing, Department of English and was founded in 2012.