Prof. Rick Barot’s latest collection of poems, Chord, has seen the light to great acclaim. We are proud to showcase some of the praise it has received so far:
“At his best, Barot seamlessly weaves history, image, and etymology in ways that offer the reader new eyes to see language and the world it describes…. Barot’s poems transfix and transform through his remarkable ability to pack and unpack narratives within the space of an image.
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“This book harmonizes with the two that came before, while stretching, too—reaching to reveal Barot’s ever-increasing dexterity as a maker of songs. There is perhaps an analogy here with the way a pianist extends his pinky finger farther than he thinks he can in order to complete the chord, then trembles at the unexpected grace…. The poems are sensuously complex, perhaps the most complex of Barot’s canon—that chord again, that striking of multiple, complementary pitches.”
“These new poems, while various in subject matter, are all seemingly born from a world tenaciously observed, from a practice of looking closely in a way that both reaches for what has gone before and remembers that the present will soon pass, too. You might imagine this makes for a melancholy read, but instead, these poems crackle with the language of deep attention, making his observations of even the mundane seem like prayer. Barot is also brilliantly adept at taking abstract thought and giving it flesh.
—Nickole Brown, Arkansas Times
“I envy Barot’s measure and patience—the poems of Chord gently coax us into their arms where we learn about the mind and grief and how art preserves and distorts experience and how we manipulate our worlds, consciously or otherwise. This is an incredible strength of these poems, making them rather sleek, deft, and effective, for both the avid poetry reader and the less familiar….Essential poems that confront and question colonialism, privilege, and other problematic… mind positions… Chord is healthy for the craft of poetry and for the soul of society.
“I loved that I could feel him wrestling to understand his life, even while the poems make clear that he knows the limits of understanding. The fluidity with which Barot walks this difficult line between meaning and certainty makes these poems feel more born than made. This is a fantastic book.”
“A song plays throughout this collection and soon we realize that it’s Rick Barot’s chord, each poem a note striking harmony between living and the reverie of lives lived. . . . If these poems don’t move you, have your hearing checked.”
–A. Van Jordan
“Chord is a smart, moving, and elegant collection that takes none of its hard-won assertions for granted.”