Rick Barot is an award-winning Tacoma poet. His latest book of poems, The Galleons (2020), is in part about the centuries-long colonial structure that sustained Spanish control over Latin and South America, the Caribbean, and the Philippines.
Rick Barot was born in the Philippines and emigrated to the San Francisco Bay area when he was ten years old. He partially attributes his love of the written word to his youth spent enjoying the public library system and independent book stores in Oakland. Barot earned a BA from Wesleyan University and an MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. He was both a Stegner Fellow in Poetry and a Jones Lecturer of Poetry at Stanford University.
After spending some time writing non-fiction, Barot discovered poetry was truly his “home genre.” He loves the expansive possibility of imagery, metaphor, and rhythm. He often talks about the alchemic power of writing, how with the proper craft and care, writers can turn ordinary words into something charged with immense value.
Barot’s work includes The Darker Fall (2002), Want (2008), and Chord (2015). Barot’s poems and essays have appeared in the New Republic, Poetry, the Kenyon Review, Tin House, The New York Times Magazine, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. Barot recently achieved one of the items on his writing bucket list: having one of his poems from The Galleons published in The New Yorker.
Barot lives in Tacoma, Washington, where he is the poetry editor of the New England Review and the director of the Rainier Writing Workshop, a low-residency MFA through Pacific Lutheran University. Barot was on the faculty of the MFA program at Warren Wilson College and has taught at Breadloaf Writing Conference. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Barot received the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry for The Darker the Fall. Barot won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards with his book, Want. Chord received the UNT Rilke Prize, the PEN Open Book Award, and the Publishing Triangle’s Thom Gunn Award, and was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize.
Jane Wong, who will be moderating the Q&A portion of Barot’s event, is the author of Overpour from Action Books, and How to Not Be Afraid of Everything, which is forthcoming from Alice James Books. She is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Western Washington University. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships and residencies from the U.S. Fulbright Program, Artist Trust, 4Culture, the Fine Arts Work Center, Bread Loaf, Willapa Bay AiR, Hedgebrook, the Jentel Foundation, SAFTA, and Mineral School. In 2017, she received the James W. Ray Distinguished Artist award for Washington artists. A scholar of Asian American poetry and poetics, you can explore “The Poetics of Haunting” project here.