2023 UNT Rilke Prize
The UNT Rilke Prize awards $10,000 to a collection 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.
The submission period for the 2023 UNT RIlke Prize is closed. We'll announce the winner early in the Spring 2023 semester.
The 2024 UNT Rilke Prize submission guidelines will be posted on August 1, 2023.
The UNT Rilke Prize was founded in 2011 and is offered by Creative Writing and the Department of English.
2022 UNT Rilke Prize
Valzhyna Mort's Music for the Dead and Resurrected (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) has won the 2022 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.
Songs of grieving, memory, and witness lie at the center of Valzhyna Mort's latest collection, Music for the Dead and Resurrected, a book that makes vivid and palpable the upended history of Belarus, a country filled with "forests / of the unburied dead" and tanks driving through the streets. "The empire fell, then snow fell," Mort writes in "Self-Portrait with Madonna on Pravda Avenue," pravda meaning truth, a Russian word that, under Soviet rule implied propaganda, disinformation, and the suppression of free speech. Here, the poet reclaims the word. She restores truth in lines informed by historical insight--invasions and wars, exile, the nuclear catastrophe of Chernobyl--and by a biting humor so characteristic of the region. "What has kept us alive?" a speaker asks. "Our death songs" is the dry answer. Mort's poems enact both an elegy and an affirmation that survival is possible, that tongues can go on speaking, "tied with a black ribbon of verse."
Photos from our October 2022 UNT Rilke Prize events:
Valzhyna Mort, Jeff Doty, Corey Marks
Click here for press flyer.
Author photo: Tanya Kapitonava
UNT Rilke Prize Recipients:
Click covers for more information.
Music for the Dead and Resurrected
Click here for an audio file of Valzhyna Mort's campus reading on October 27, 2022.
White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia
The River Twice
Click here for a feature about David Keplinger and the UNT Rilke Prize on KERA's Art&Seek.
Click here for an audio file of David Keplinger's campus reading on April 4, 2019.
Allison Benis White
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.
Click here to listen to an audio file of Wayne's campus reading on April 13, 2017.
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.
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.
Click here for more information about 2014 winner.
Click here for Katie's campus reading on April 8, 2014.
Click here for an interview and radio piece by Jerome Weeks.
Click here for more information about the 2013 winner!
Space, in Chains
Click here for more information about our inaugural winner!