Rick Barot

Director of MFA

Rick Barot Profile

Office Location:Hauge Administration Building - Room 209

  • Professional
  • Biography

Additional Titles/Roles

  • Professor of English


  • 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


  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 2016
  • UNT Rilke Prize, for Chord, 2016
  • Finalist for the LA Times Book Prize, for Chord, 2016
  • PEN Open Book Award, for Chord, 2016
  • Thom Gunn Award, for Chord, 2016
  • Civitella Ranieri Residency Fellowship, 2011
  • K.T. Tang Award for Faculty Excellence in Research, 2010
  • Artist Trust Fellowship Award, 2009
  • Grub Street Book Prize, for Want, 2009
  • Finalist for Lambda Literary Awards, for Want, 2009
  • PLU Regency Advancement Award, 2007


Rick Barot 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 received the UNT Rilke Prize, the PEN Open Book Award, the Publishing Triangle’s Thom Gunn Award, and was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial 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. In 2020 he received the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. He lives in Tacoma, WA and is a professor of English at Pacific Lutheran University and the director of The Rainier Writing Workshop. His fourth book, The Galleons, was published by Milkweed Editions in 2020. The Galleons was listed on the top ten poetry books for 2020 by the New York Public Library and was on the longlist for the National Book Award. Also in 2020, his chapbook During the Pandemic was published by Albion Books. His new book of poems, Moving the Bones, is forthcoming in 2024 from Milkweed Editions.

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’.”