DENTON (UNT), Texas - Poet Allison Benis White, winner of the 2018 UNT Rilke Prize, will visit the University of North Texas to read from her work – covering a tough subject that she personally experienced.
White wrote “Please Bury Me in This” after four of her friends committed suicide within a year. She will attend a question-and-answer session and wine-and-cheese reception at 6:30 p.m. April 11 (Wednesday) at UNT on the Square, and she will read and sign her book at 8 p.m. April 12 (Thursday) in Room 180 of the Business Leadership Building.
The poems were recognized by the UNT Rilke Prize, awarded by UNT’s creative writing program in the English Department and given to mid-career poets who demonstrate exceptional artistry and vision. This is the seventh year for the prize.
“I think in certain ways poetry helps me live,” White said. “It helps process the things I’m experiencing and have a conversation with myself.”
White, an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of California in Riverside, has always used poetry to have conversations with herself. She noted the stories she wants to tell cannot be resolved or explained in traditional form.
“I think poetry appealed to me because it seemed to speak into a place between narrative and outside of traditional logic,” she said. “I felt that it was speaking in a language that I had never heard before and I didn’t know that I needed.”
She has written several books, including “Self-Portrait with Crayon” and “Small Porcelain Head,” which won the Levis Prize in Poetry and was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award.
She was grateful to win an award for mid-career poets.
“The mid-career aspect of the prize is valuable because it honors a trajectory as opposed to individual accomplishment,” she said. “The work is being seen through an individual piece of art, but with the consciousness of the previous books.”
When and Where: Question-and-answer session and wine-and-cheese reception, 6:30 p.m. April 11 (Wednesday) at UNT on the Square, 109 N. Elm St.; Reading and book signing, 8 p.m. April 12 (Thursday) in Room 180 in the Business Leadership Building, 1307 W. Highland St.
What else: The UNT at Barnes & Noble bookstore will have books available for sale at the April 12 reading.