Barot, Rick. Chord (Sarabande, 2015)

Barot, Rick. Chord (Sarabande, 2015)

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Winner of the PEN Open Book Award
Winner of the UNT Rilke Prize
Winner of the Publishing Triangle's Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry
Shortlisted for the LA Times Book Prize


"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


"Rick Barot's careful, moving third collection...commemorates his grandmother, remembers his family's roots in the Philippines, considers his years in the Bay Area and in Tacoma, Wash. (where he lives now), all in the added harsh light of public history.... Here as in both his previous books, Barot's lines ask that we read them slowly, that we ask how he came to write them, how he can "keep distressing the canvas/ of the personal"....[A] poet we can trust."
-- The San Francisco Chronicle


"These poems are entranced by the intricacies of the mind, the mystery of its remarkable durability and frailty. Chord also involves a subtle yet consistent consideration of (white, male, heteronormative) cultural privilege and colonialism.... Chord brings us into a nuanced understanding of how we construct the world with our minds: "You don't have to understand it / but you will carry it anyway.'"
-- Boston Review


Chord is a book and Rick Barot a poet to recommend to all readers.... Rick Barot's poems are scrupulous and patient; his language is accessible and precise, creating vivid imagery and syntax that is supple and incisive, initiating the reader into thoughtful meditation as well as tender and fierce questioning.... Here is a poet who revels in all the potential around him, searching for, questioning, and finding meaning through astute observation and a facility with reading the world. Barot excels in rendering associative leaps--bringing together the personal and historical, the banal and sublime--with a precision that might be a stretch for poets less fastidious and patient. In Barot's hands, these distances become tensile strength, with smart and surprising juxtaposition....These poems deliver, ringing notes that linger and sing."
-- International Examiner


Chord is the capstone of a provocative trilogy. We can only hope it becomes the tenor in a forthcoming quartet. Where might we travel next, stylistically and thematically, with Barot's speaker? The last poem is awash in beginnings, a glissando of "the beginning of," "the beginning of," "the beginning of." A book called Origin perhaps? A book called New Rain? Whatever the title, know that I want it already."
-- Lambda Literary