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UNT Announces Latest $10,000 Poetry Prize Winner
by Jerome Weeks 2 Mar 2016

Rick Barot, the director of the Rainier Writing Workshop in Washington, is the fifth winner of the annual Rilke Poetry Prize.


Barot CHORD web1UNT has announced the fifth winner of its annual $10,000 poetry prize. Rick Barot, who leads the Rainier Writing Workshop in Washington state, has won the Rilke Poetry Prize, named for the great German poet Rainier Maria Rilke. The prize recognizes a mid-career writer who has released an exceptional book of poetry.

Barot was born in the Phillipines and raised in San Francisco. His essays and poems have appeared in ‘The New Republic,’ ‘The Paris Review’ and ‘Poetry’ magazine. His winning book, his third poetry collection, called ‘Chord,’ is also a finalist for the LATimes Book Prize and was shortlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award. As part of the Rilke Prize, Barot will be at UNT for two public events in April.

‘Tarp’ by Rick Barot – from ‘Chord’

I have seen the black sheets laid out like carpets
under the trees, catching the rain

of  olives as they fell. Also the cerulean brightness
of   the one covering the bad roof

of  a neighbor’s shed, the color the only color
inside the winter’s weeks. Another one

took the shape of   the pile of   bricks underneath.
Another flew off the back of a truck,

black as a piano if a piano could rise into the air.
I have seen the ones under bridges,

the forms they make of sleep. I could go on
this way until the end of the page, even though

what I have in my mind isn’t the thing
itself, but the category of   belief that sees the thing

as a shelter for what is beneath it.
There is no shelter. You cannot put a tarp over

a wave. You cannot put a tarp
over a war. You cannot put a tarp over the broken

oil well miles under the ocean.
There is no tarp for that raging figure in the mind

that sits in a corner and shreds receipts
and newspapers. There is no tarp for dread,

whose only recourse is language
so approximate it hardly means what it means:

He is not here. She is sick. She cannot remember
her name. He is old. He is ashamed.

Barot NEW1