2018 Finalists Announced for Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards

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A photograph of Kingsley Tufts sits on a bookshelf of poetry.

Patricia Smith, Ari Banias, and others explore legacies of violence and challenges to identity in the modern world

Claremont Graduate University (CGU) is pleased to announce the selection of the finalists for the 2018 Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards.

More than 470 titles were submitted by individuals and publishers for consideration this year. Ten finalists (five for each of the two awards) have been chosen by a finalists judging committee led by Don Share, editor of Poetry magazine.

This year’s finalists are:

For the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, in recognition of a first book by a poet of genuine promise:

  • Ari Banias, Anybody (W.W. Norton)
  • Donika Kelly, Bestiary (Graywolf Press)
  • Layli Long Soldier, Whereas (Graywolf Press)
  • Tommy Pico, IRL (Birds, LLC)
  • Mai Der Vang, Afterland (Graywolf Press)

For the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, in recognition of a book by a mid-career poet:

  • Kathy Fagan, Sycamore (Milkweed)
  • Ishion Hutchinson, House of Lords and Commons (FSG)
  • Paisley Rekdal, Imaginary Vessels (Copper Canyon Press)
  • Patricia Smith, Incendiary Art: Poems (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern UP)
  • Monica Youn, Blackacre (Graywolf Press)

The Kingsley Tufts Award provides the recipient with $100,000; the Kate Tufts Award provides the recipient with $10,000.

The winners will be announced next month; a celebratory reading and reception will be held April 19 at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, Calif. This event is free and open to the public.

Explorations of World and Self

Some of this year’s works engage with historical and social injustice on a global scale—the long shadow of colonialism in the Caribbean, the perilous journey of political refugees, tyrannies against the physical body—while others offer more personal explorations of identity and self in the modern world.

These awards celebrate a poetry of engagement with a modern world that is by turns familiar and surpassing strange; threatening and captivating; heartbreaking and breathtakingly lovely,” said Professor Lori Anne Ferrell, who directs the Tufts Poetry Awards at CGU. “Each finalist this year pays singular tribute to the ideals Kate wanted to honor when she first established an award in memory of her husband.”

One of the world’s most prestigious poetry awards, the Kingsley Tufts Award was started at CGU in 1993 by Kate Tufts to honor her late husband, Kingsley, who held various executive positions in L.A.-area shipyards and wrote and published poetry.

Past Kingsley Tufts Award recipients include Vievee Francis (who won last year), Angie Estes, Afaa Michael Weaver, D.A. Powell, B.H. Fairchild, Thomas Lux, Henri Cole, and Linda Gregerson; past recipients of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award include Yona Harvey, Charles Harper Webb, and Lucia Perillo.

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