Claremont Graduate University Announces Finalists for the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the $10,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award

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The awards are among the world’s most generous and distinguished prizes for books of poetry.

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I have no idea how the judges will be able to go on to choose only two winners, but I can’t wait to be there when they do.

Claremont Graduate University (CGU) is pleased to announce the finalists for the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the $10,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award for 2016. The awards are among the world’s most generous and distinguished prizes for books of poetry.

The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award is given annually to honor a poet at mid-career, providing resources that allow the artist to continue working toward the pinnacle of their craft. Finalists for 2016 are:

  • Kyle Dargan, Honest Engine (University of Georgia Press). Dargan directs creative writing at American University and edits POST NO ILLS magazine. His debut, The Listening, was a winner of the 2003 Cave Canem Poetry Prize.
  • Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press). Gay teaches at Indiana University and in Drew University’s Low-Residency MFA program in poetry and poetry in translation. He is the author of two previous poetry collections, Bringing the Shovel Down and Against Which.
  • Amy Gerstler, Scattered at Sea (Penguin). Gerstler teaches in the MFA writing program at the University of California, Irvine. Her previous books of poetry include Dearest Creature, Ghost Girl, and Medicine.
  • Fred Moten, The Little Edges (Wesleyan). Moten teaches at University of California, Riverside. In addition to The Little Edges, he is author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition, Hughson’s Tavern, B Jenkins, and The Feel Trio (Letter Machine Editions).
  • Jennifer Moxley, The Open Secret (Flood Editions). Moxley is professor of poetry and poetics at the University of Maine. She is the author of five previous books of poetry.

The Kate Tufts Discovery Award is presented annually for a first book by a poet of genuine promise. Finalists for 2016 are:

  • Meg Day, Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street). Day is assistant professor of English and creative writing at Franklin & Marshall College.
  • Bethany Schultz Hurst, Miss Lost Nation (Anhinga Press). Schultz Hurst teaches creative writing at Idaho State University.
  • Michael Morse, Void and Compensation (Canarium). Morse teaches at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.
  • Danez Smith, [insert] boy (YesYes Books). Smith is a MFA candidate at The University of Michigan and teaches with InsideOut Detroit.
  • Henry Walters, Field Guide A Tempo (Hobblebush Books). Walters is writer-in-residence at the Dublin School.

The panel of final judges were: Chase Twichell, chair of the judging committee and past winner of the Kingsley Tufts award; Stephen Burt, literary critic and English professor at Harvard University; Elena Karina Byrne, poetry curator/moderator for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books; Brian Kim Stefans, professor of English at University of California, Los Angeles; and Don Share, editor of POETRY magazine.

“The roster of eligible books testified to the extraordinary range and diverse beauty of current American poetry; to pick only ten finalists for two awards should have been impossible,” said Lori Anne Ferrell, director of the Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards. “So I have no idea how the judges will be able to go on to choose only two winners, but I can’t wait to be there when they do.”

Winners will be announced in March and recognized during a ceremony on April 7.

Angie Estes, of Urbana, Illinois, received last year’s Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for Enchantee (Oberlin College Press). Brandon Som, of Los Angeles, received the Kate Tufts Discovery Award for Tribute Horse (Nightboat Books).

The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, now in its 24th 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 Kate Tufts Discovery Award was launched in 1993.

About Claremont Graduate University

Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is one of the top graduate schools in the United States. Our five academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 22 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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