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The textures of a strong poet’s voice can seem both perfectly identifiable and mysteriously indescribable. Parsing a poet’s voice can be a vexing exercise, involving a complex amalgam of subject matter, style and craft, features of biography and identity, plus any number of other elements. Using some remarkable models—from Frank Bidart to Lois Ann Yamanaka, Brigit Pegeen Kelly to Arthur Sze—we’ll examine the constitution of a poet’s voice. The instructor will assign a weekly writing prompt, and part of each class meeting will be devoted to lightly workshopping the poems written by participants.
Rick Barot was born in the Philippines, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and attended Wesleyan University and The Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa.
He has published three books of poetry with Sarabande Books: The Darker Fall (2002), which received the Kathryn A. Morton Prize; Want (2008), which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize; and Chord (2015), which was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and received the 2016 UNT Rilke Prize, the PEN Open Book Award, and the Publishing Triangle’s Thom Gunn Award. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Artist Trust of Washington, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace E. Stegner Fellow and a Jones Lecturer in Poetry.
His poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Poetry, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The New Yorker, and The Threepenny Review. His work has been included in many anthologies, including Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century, Asian-American Poetry: The Next Generation, Language for a New Century, and The Best American Poetry 2012 and 2016.
Barot is the poetry editor of New England Review. He lives in Tacoma, Washington and teaches at Pacific Lutheran University. He is also the director of The Rainier Writing Workshop, the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing at PLU. His fourth book of poems, The Galleons, will be published by Milkweed Editions in Spring 2020.