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Department of English

Rick Barot

Associate Professor of English

Rick Barot - Associate Professor of English & Director of MFA
Hauge Administration Building - Room 209
On Leave
  • Professional
  • Personal

Additional Titles/Roles

  • Director of MFA


  • M.F.A., Iowa Writers' Workshop, 1998
  • B.A., Wesleyan University, 1992

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Creative Writing
  • Poetry
  • Ethnic Literature
  • Gay/Lesbian Literature


  • Chord: Poems, (Sarabande Books, 2015) : View Book
  • Want: Poems, (Sarabande Books, 2008) : View Book
  • Darker Fall: Poems, (Sarabande Books, 2002) : View Book


  • Civitella Ranieri Residency Fellowship, 2011
  • K.T. Tang Award for Faculty Excellence in Research, 2010-11
  • Artist Trust Fellowship Award, 2009
  • Grub Street Book Prize for poetry, for Want, 2009
  • Lambda Literary Awards, Finalist in Gay Poetry Category, for Want, 2009
  • McGinnis-Ritchie Award for Nonfiction, for “Devoted Forms: Reading George Herbert,” Southwest Review, 2008
  • Kathryn A. Morton Prize, for The Darker Fall, 2002


Rick Barot has published two books of poetry with Sarabande Books: The Darker Fall (2002), which received the Kathryn A. Morton Prize, and Want (2008), which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize.  He has received fellowships from 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, 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.  His third collection, Chord, will be published by Sarabande in 2015.  He lives in Tacoma, WA and is an associate professor of English at Pacific Lutheran University.  For many years he was on the faculty of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.  He is now the director of the Rainier Writing Workshop.

Mentor. Workshops and classes in poetry. Oversight of program.

Statement: “I’ve always been intrigued by these two connotations of the word craft—that it refers to something like technique, and also that it refers to cunning. Which is to say that we writers handle materials that, when handled just so, lead to a sort of alchemy. The most powerful pieces of writing, then, contain an infinite complexity—a complexity that’s tangible and undefinable at the same time. And all of this is done in the writer’s solitude, which seems its own mixture of materiality and expansiveness.

Even though I believe that a strong piece of writing generates something like magic, I also believe in tough-minded examinations of the thematic and formal elements that we use as writers. As a teacher, I prefer discussions in which everyone seems to have a lab coat on, detailing the mechanics of the work at hand. How a piece achieves its force through writerly decisions—decisions which have been guided by thought and feeling, insight and intuition, analysis and imagination, failure and risk—this is what I care about.

As a necessary complement to the writer’s solitary work, the conversations we have about each other’s work can be as vital as the work itself. With as much rigor and delight as possible, we engage in what Czeslaw Milosz described as the purpose of poetry: ‘the passionate pursuit of the real.’”