Poetry News

Wayne Miller's Post- Wins 2017 UNT Rilke Prize

By Harriet Staff

The University of North Texas awards $10,000 each year to a mid-career poet whose work "demonstrates exceptional artistry and vision." This prestigious honor, known as The Rilke Prize, is "named after the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), a writer whose work embodies the qualities of ambition, intellectual and imaginative scope, and technical mastery we seek to recognize." Wayne Miller's Post- (Milkweed Editions) is rooted firmly in the present moment, where we (Miller included) grapple with the after-effects of terror, a changing climate, and political unrest. Via UNT:

In his powerfully meditative book, Post-, Wayne Miller negotiates a contemporary world--post-911, post-financial-breakdown, post-post-modern--in terms both intimate and cultural, bereaved and entranced, clear-eyed and restless with all it will not, cannot, apprehend. The sense of belatedness emerges as a transformative force, a complexity ever modified by our elegiac attempts at ritual and reconciliation. Language, our one foundation, forms the river-stones we cross and cross again. As Miller states, "I realized// I was steering homeward/ the down payment/ of some house we might live in/ for the rest of our lives." Even the future, or rather our adaptive framing of it, bears the weight of a distinctively post-traumatic American past.

Wayne Miller is the author of four collections of poems, including Post-, The City, Our City, The Book of Props, and Only the Senses Sleep. He is also a co-translator of two books from the Albanian poet Moikom Zeqo, and a co-editor of three anthologies, including Literary Publishing in the Twenty-First Century and New European Poets. His work has been named a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award, the 2012 Rilke Prize, and the PEN Center USA Award in Translation. He is the recipient of the George Bogin Award, the Lucille Medwick Award, the Lyric Poetry Award, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, the Bess Hokin Prize, and a Fulbright to Queen's University Belfast. Miller co-curates the Pleiades Press Unsung Masters Series with Kevin Prufer and is a professor of English at the University of Colorado Denver, where he edits Copper Nickel.

Learn more about Mr. Miller and the prize, here.

Originally Published: February 8th, 2017