Angie Estes Wins Claremont Graduate University's 2015 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

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The award is presented for a work by a poet who is past the very beginning but has not yet reached the pinnacle of his or her career.

Angie Estes

Angie Estes, winner of Claremont Graduate University's 2015 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for 2015.

This gives us great confidence that contemporary American poetry is vital and thriving.

Claremont Graduate University (CGU) is pleased to announce that Angie Estes, of Urbana, Illinois, has won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for her book Enchantee (Oberlin College Press). The award, given annually to a mid-career poet, is among the world’s most generous and distinguished prizes for poetry.

Brandon Som, of Los Angeles, has won the $10,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award for his book The Tribute Horse (Nightboat Books). The Kate Tufts Discovery Award is given annually for a first book by a poet of genuine promise.

A ceremony for this year's winners will be held on April 16 at 5 pm at Rose Hills Theater, Smith Campus Center (170, E. 6th Street, Claremont).

“The unprecedented number of submissions this year represents a wide range of poetic voices and visions,” said Wendy Martin, director of the Tufts Poetry Awards and professor of American Literature at CGU. “The competition was fierce, and the selection of the winning books was especially challenging. This gives us great confidence that contemporary American poetry is vital and thriving.”

Estes, the author of five books, serves on the faculty of Ashland University’s low residency MFA program. Her previous book, Tryst (Oberlin, 2009), was selected as one of two finalists for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. Her second book, Voice-Over (Oberlin, 2002), won the 2001 FIELD Poetry Prize and was also awarded the 2001 Alice Fay di Castagnola Prize from the Poetry Society of America.

She is the recipient of many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and the Cecil Hemley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America.

Chief Judge Chase Twichell called Estes’ poems a “delicious and magical swirl of cultures and languages, past and present.”

“Since the Kingsley Tufts Award is one of the most important and lucrative prizes a poet can receive, I was delighted to learn — after the fact — that Angie has, over the years, chosen poetry over the security of teaching positions that did not give her sufficient time to work,” Twichell said. “I couldn’t be happier to see the Kingsley Tufts Award go to a person who has lived her life with art as her highest priority, at whatever personal cost.”

Som’s poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Black Warrior Review, Octopus Magazine, and Prairie Schooner. He has received fellowships to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. He currently teaches composition in the Writing Program at the University of Southern California.

The Kingsley Tufts award, now in its 23rd year, was established at Claremont Graduate University by Kate Tufts to honor the memory of her husband, who held executive positions in the Los Angeles Shipyards and wrote poetry as his avocation. The award is presented for a work by a poet who is past the very beginning but has not yet reached the pinnacle of his or her career.

The Kate Tufts Discovery Award was initiated in 1993 and is presented annually for a first book by a poet of genuine promise.

Finalists for the 2015 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award were Lucie Brock-Broido for Stay, Illusion (Knopf); Laura Kasischke for The Infinitesimals (Copper Canyon Press); Mark Wunderlich for The Earth Avails (Graywolf Press); and Kevin Young for Book of Hours (Knopf).

Finalists for the 2015 Kate Tufts Discovery Award were David J. Daniels for Clean (Four Way Books); Hailey Leithauser for Swoop (Graywolf Press); Jamaal May for Hum (Alice James Books); and Roger Reeves for King Me (Copper Canyon Press).

Judges were Wendy Martin, director of the Tufts Poetry Awards; David Barber, poet and poetry editor of the Atlantic Monthly; Kate Gale, poet, novelist, and managing editor of Red Hen Press; Stephen Burt, literary critic and English professor at Harvard University; and Chase Twichell, chair of the judging committee and past winner of the Kingsley Tufts award.

Past winners of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award include Robert Wrigley, Tom Sleigh, Matthea Harvey, Yusef Komunyakaa, Timothy Donnelly, Marianne Boruch, and Afaa Michael Weaver.

About Claremont Graduate University

Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is the graduate university of the Claremont Colleges. Our five academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 24 disciplines. Because the world’s problems are not simple nor easily defined, diverse faculty and students research and study across the traditional discipline boundaries to create new and practical solutions for the major problems plaguing our world. A Southern California based graduate school devoted entirely to graduate research and study, CGU boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio.

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