UNT Rilke Prize | Department of English

UNT Rilke Prize


An annual award of $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.

UNT Rilke Prize Recipients:


2020 UNT Rilke Prize Submission Guidelines

All entries must be postmarked by November 30, 2019

  • Entrants must have published at least two previous books of poetry
  • Work must be original poetry written in English
  • Eligible books must have been published between November 1, 2018 - October 31, 2019
  • Books may be submitted by presses or by writers themselves and must be postmarked by November 30, 2019
  • Each submission must include 3 copies of the book and a completed entry form
  • Chapbooks are not considered previous publications
  • Self-published books will not be considered
  • Finalists may be asked to submit further copies
  • Books will not be returned

The winner will travel to Texas to give readings at UNT and in the DFW metroplex on April 1-2, 2020. UNT will pay for travel expenses. The author must also allow portions of the winning work to be reproduced for promoting the award. Poets who enter the prize must agree to these terms in order to accept the prize.


The prize will be judged by UNT's poetry faculty.

Contact: UNTrilkeprize@unt.edu



UNT Rilke Prize Events

April 1, 2020


Q&A / Reception

Location: TBD

April 2, 2020


Reading & Book Signing

University Union 333


2019 UNT Rilke Prize

David Keplinger

Another City

David Keplinger's Another City (Milkweed Editions) has won the 2019 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 Keplinger will be held on Wednesday, April 3, at UNT on the Square and a campus reading will take place on Thursday, April 4, 2019.

"But death is not the subject of our portrait," writes David Keplinger in the opening poem of Another City, as if to suggest the book's meditations on mortality and wounded dissatisfaction are equally haunted by metaphysical longing and the vast otherworld in the near at hand. To arrive in a body, through the body of another, is to feel its suffering as the echo, however distant, of our own. The cough of a dying mother could travel miles and yet arrive with a sharpened sense of its smallness, and hers, poised on the brink of the invisible. In poems of such keen attentions and imaginative wit, the intimation of always another city registers both an awareness of our inevitable diminishment and the possibility of some vaster sphere, some landscape of domes and illuminations, to mitigate our loneliness and loss. "Nothing was itself alone," he writes. "In this way, it all grew larger."

David Keplinger is a poet and translator. His collections of poems include The Most Natural Thing, The Prayers of Others, The Clearing, The Rose Inside and, most recently, Another City. His translations include Carsten René Nielsen's World Cut Out with Crooked Scissors and House Inspections, a Lannan Translations Selection; his most recent translation is Jan Wagner's The Art of Topiary. Keplinger's work has appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Poetry Review, and The Writer's Almanac, and has been translated and included in anthologies in China, Germany, Denmark, Northern Ireland, and elsewhere. The recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Keplinger has received support from the Soros Foundation, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the D.C. Council on Arts and Humanities, and the Danish Council on the Arts. He has also received the T.S. Eliot Award, the Colorado Book Award, the Cavafy Prize from Poetry International and The Erksine Poetry Prize from Smartish Place. Keplinger teaches in the MFA Program at American University in Washington, DC. http://www.davidkeplingerpoetry.com/

Judges also selected three finalists for this year's UNT Rilke Prize: Ada Limon's The Carrying (Milkweed Editions), Kevin Prufer's How He Loved Them (Four Way Books), and Doug Ramspeck's Black Flowers (LSU Press).

Click here for a feature about David Keplinger and the UNT Rilke Prize on KERA's Art&Seek.

UNT Rilke Prize judges (L-R): Bruce Bond, Jehanne Dubrow, David Keplinger (2019 UNT RIlke Prize), and Corey Marks.

Click here for an audio file of David Keplinger's campus reading on April 4, 2019.

A few photos from the UNT Rilke Prize events:

Congratulations, David!


UNT Rilke Prize Recipients:

Allison Benis White, 2018 for Please Bury Me in This

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.

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.

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Contact: UNTrilkeprize@unt.edu

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