A big congratulations to Rick Barot, who has won the 2016 UNT Rilke Prize for his book Chord. This $10,000 prize is given yearly by the University of North Texas to a book of poetry that "demonstrates exceptional artistry and vision."
The prize committee said of Chord:
"Rick Barot explores the hazards and marvels of beauty in relation to those of language with its potential to connect and divide, clarify and obscure. Words repeatedly appear as failed mimetically and, by virtue of this, fraught politically, and Barot's allusions to the writing process are less self-regarding than enlarging of our empathy, longing, and sense of wonder for that which must lie, in part, beyond representation. The more language knows of itself and the world, the larger the experience of the unknown. The language of elegy becomes the language of recovery. What the speaker says in one poem figures as a gesture of both advocacy and inquiry: 'you need to ask what is/ left out for beauty's sake to see how the unspoken/ will inflect the things you have allowed yourself to say.' Throughout his remarkable book, Barot weds the experience of beauty to the horror of experience. Beauty cannot be extricated from all that it is not."