The Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards

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The Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards
Kingsley and Kate Tufts Logo.png
Location Claremont, California
Country United States
Presented by Claremont Graduate University
First awarded 1993/1994
Official website The Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards

The Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards are a pair of American prizes based at Claremont Graduate University. They are given to poets for their collections of poetry written in the English language, by a citizen or legal resident alien of the United States.[1]

The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award is a $100,000 prize presented to a mid-career, emerging poet who already possesses an established body of work. The Kingsley Tufts award is known to be one of the world's most lucrative poetry prizes.

Its counterpart, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, is given to a poet who demonstrates genuine promise in their first book of published poetry, with an attached purse of $10,000.

History – Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award[edit]

Young Kingsley Tufts
Young Kingsley Tufts

Kingsley Tufts held executive positions in the Los Angeles shipyards and wrote poetry as his avocation. His poetry has been featured in the New Yorker, Esquire, and Harpers, among others.

Following his death in 1991, Kingsley’s wife, Kate, sold her home and the majority of the couple’s estate in order to fund an endowment to help poets further their craft. She established the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award in 1993 at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California.

Initially, the award was for $50,000, and has subsequently doubled due to increases in the endowment. It is intended for an emerging poet who is past the very beginning but has not yet reached the acknowledged pinnacle of their career.

Kate Tufts had no prior affiliation with Claremont Graduate University, but when she met then-university President John Maguire and visited the campus, she became convinced that it was the perfect home for her poetry prize.[2]

Unlike many literary awards, which are coronations for a successful career or body of work, the Kingsley Tufts award was created to both honor the poet and provide the resources that allow artists to continue working.

Kate Tufts said she wanted to create a prize “that would enable a poet to work on his or her craft for a while without paying bills.”

History –The Kate Tufts Discovery Award[edit]

Kate Tufts
Kate Tufts

In 1994, just a year after the inauguration of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, Kate Tufts founded the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, which began in the amount of $5,000, but has since doubled to $10,000.

Kate Tufts died in June 1997, at the age of 86. While she did not live to see her awards grow to become some of the largest poetry prizes in the world, she certainly took pride in their inception while she was alive.

Doug Anderson, 1995 Kate Tufts Discovery Award recipient, remembers her sardonic wit when meeting her that year: “She came into the room at the Claremont Graduate School grumbling that she couldn’t smoke in there, and then she stopped and looked at Tom Lux [that year’s Kingsley Tufts award recipient] and myself. Kate Tufts looked at us and said, ‘You don’t know how glad I am that this year’s awards were given to a couple of really disreputable poets.’” [3]

Claremont Graduate University's poetry journal, Foothill: a journal of poetry, endeavors to act in the tradition of the Kingsley and Kate Tufts poetry awards.

“Like the Tufts Awards, Foothill aims to help poets along in transitional periods of their career. While the Kate and Kingsley awards are focused on newly published and mid-career poets, Foothill hopes to support graduate students who are in the apprentice stage as artists, and help encourage them in their progression,” said Kevin Riel, Editor-in-chief of "Foothill" and doctoral student at Claremont Graduate University.[4]

Judging[edit]

Both awards go through two phases of judging. A preliminarily panel of three judges screens the approximately 300 combined applications that are received for both awards. They then pass on 25 finalists for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and 50 for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award to the final judges.

The final panel is composed of five distinguished judges, representing a cross-section of the American poetry community.

2012 Judging[edit]

The panel of final judges for the 2012 Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards[5] is:

Linda Gregerson, poet, professor at the University of Michigan, and past Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award recipient

David Barber, poet, poetry editor of The Atlantic Monthly

Kate Gale, poet, novelist, managing editor of Red Hen Press

Ted Genoways, award-winning poet and Editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review

Carl Phillips, poet, professor at Washington University in St. Louis, and past Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award recipient

The panel of preliminary judges for the 2012 competition includes:

Jericho Brown, poet, Assistant Professor of English at the University of San Diego

Andrew Feld, poet, editor of the Seattle Review, and assistant professor at the University of Washington

Jennifer Chang, poet, Assistant Professor of creative writing at Bowling Green State University

Distinguished Past Judges[edit]

Paul Muldoon, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry winner, and poetry editor of The New Yorker

Robert Pinsky, poet, past Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, and poetry editor at Slate

Charles Harper Webb, Guggenheim Fellowship recipient in 2001, and professor at California State University Long Beach

Submission Requirements/Deadlines[edit]

Submissions are due annually on September 15, and eligible work has to have been published the previous year (between September and August). Manuscripts, CDs, and chapbooks are not accepted.

Awards Ceremony[edit]

Award winners are announced the February following the September deadline, with a ceremony and presentation of the awards in April, national poetry month.

The ceremony takes place on the Claremont Graduate University Campus, and winners are required to accept their award in person.

Distinguished speakers at the Awards Ceremony have included Kathy Bates in 2002,[6] Leonard Nimoy in 2007,[7] and Maxine Hong Kingston in 2012.

Restrictions[edit]

A single work may be submitted for either award only once, although the winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award may submit another work in a later year for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.

The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award Winner, by accepting the award, agrees to spend one week in residence at Claremont Graduate University for lectures and poetry readings in Claremont and the greater Los Angeles area.

Winners[edit]

Year Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award Kate Tufts Discovery Award
2014 Afaa Michael WeaverThe Government of Nature Yona HarveyHemming the Water
2013 Marianne BoruchThe Book of Hours Heidy SteidlmayerFowling Piece
2012 Timothy DonnellyThe Cloud Corporation Katherine LarsonRadial Symmetry
2011 Chase TwichellHorses Where the Answers Should Have Been Atsuro RileyRomey's Order
2010 D.A. PowellChronic Beth BachmannTemper
2009 Matthea HarveyModern Life Matthew DickmanAll-American Poem
2008 Tom SleighSpace Walk Janice N. HarringtonEven the Hollow My Body Made is Gone
2007 Rodney JonesSalvation Blues Eric McHenryPotscrubber Lullabies
2006 Lucia PerilloLuck Is Luck Christian HawkeyThe Book of Funnels
2005 Michael RyanNew and Selected Poems Patrick PhillipsChattahoochee
2004 Henri ColeMiddle Earth Adrian BlevinsThe Brass Girl Brouhaha
2003 Linda GregersonWaterborne Joanie MackowskiThe Zoo
2002 Carl PhillipsThe Tether Cate MarvinWorld's Tallest Disaster
2001 Alan ShapiroThe Dead Alive and Busy Jennifer ClarvoeInvisible Tender
2000 Robert WrigleyReign of Snakes Terrance HayesMuscular Music
1999 B.H. FairchildThe Art of the Lathe Barbara RasBite Every Sorrow
1998 John KoetheFalling Water Charles Harper WebbReading the Water
1997 Campbell McGrathSpring Comes to Chicago Lucia PerilloThe Body Mutinies
1996 Deborah DiggesRough Music Barbara HambyDelirium
1995 Thomas LuxSplit Horizon Doug AndersonThe Moon Reflected Fire
1994 Yusef KomunyakaaNeon Vernacular Catherine Bowman1-800-HOT-RIBS
1993 Susan MitchellRapture Not Awarded

References[edit]

External links[edit]