DENTON (UNT), Texas - Rick Barot was named the 2016 UNT Rilke Prize winner for his book of poetry, “Chord.” The $10,000 prize, sponsored by UNT’s Department of English, recognizes a book published by a mid-career poet that demonstrates exceptional artistry and vision.
To celebrate the award, a Q&A and reception will be held with Barot at 7 p.m. April 13 at UNT on the Square, 109 N. Elm St. Barot will also give a reading and sign books at 8 p.m. April 14 in Room 180 of the Business Leadership Building, 1307 W. Highland St. Barot originally was scheduled to read as part of UNT's Visiting Writers Series on March 9, but his visit has now been moved to coincide with the previously scheduled UNT Rilke Prize dates in April.
“Rick Barot’s ‘Chord’ is a fantastic book that’s moving and intelligent and I’m thrilled we were able to select it as the fifth winner of the UNT Rilke Prize,” said Corey Marks, director of UNT’s Creative Writing program. “There were many terrific books submitted this year, but Barot’s stood out as the clear winner.”
“Chord,” published by Sarabande Press in 2015, is Barot’s third published work. The book “explores the hazards and marvels of beauty in relation to those of language with its potential to connect and divide, clarify and obscure,” according to the Department of English. “Chord” has also been shortlisted for the PEN Open Book Award and named a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Award.
Marks said students and others who attend the book reading and other events will have ample time to chat with Barot about his work.
“Poetry is so often encountered on the page, in the classroom, as an academic exercise,” Marks said. “These readings allow audiences to experience poems as living performances that strive to teach us something, yes, but also to thrill us.”
Barot, who directs the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University and serves as the poetry editor for the New England Review, is no stranger to success. His two previous books, also published by Sarabande Press, received several accolades. “The Darker Fall” (2002) received the Katherine A. Morton Prize, and “Want” (2008) was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize.
The Rilke Prize is unique in that it recognizes poets in the midst of their literary careers.
“In the literary world, there are many prizes that recognize poets at the beginning of their careers or poets who are well established,” Marks said. “The UNT Rilke Prize is one of the few awards that celebrate mid-career poets—writers who have already published at least two books and haven’t yet received major recognition.
“The prize calls attention to poets who are writing mature, ambitious work who are poised to become significant voices on the literary landscape,” Marks said. “The prize money also allows them some freedom to travel, to research, to write, and so fuels the next stage in their work as poets.”