The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award
Any poet will tell you that the only thing more rare than meaningful recognition is a meaningful payday. For two outstanding poets each year, the Kingsley and Kate Tufts awards represent both.
The Tufts poetry awards – based at Claremont Graduate University – are not only two of the most prestigious prizes a contemporary poet can receive, they also come with hefty purses: $100,000 for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and $10,000 for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. This makes the Kingsley Tufts award the world’s largest monetary prize for a single collection of poetry. And for most poets who have just published their first collection of verse, $10,000 should keep the pen scribbling.
Unlike many literary awards, which are coronations for a successful career or body of work, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award was created to both honor the poet and provide the resources that allow artists to continue working towards the pinnacle of their craft.
“Because the award comes to you at mid-career, and is supposed to be a stepping stone and not a tombstone, it nerves you up to try to write up to the mark already set by the previous winners,” said Tom Sleigh, the 2008 recipient.
Kate Tufts – widow of Kinsley Tufts, and creator of the award – had said she wanted to create a prize “that would enable a poet to work on his or her craft for awhile without paying bills.”
“It is a tall order honoring the vision that Kate Tufts set out for us . . . to sustain a poet who is laboring in the difficult middle between first flower and final bloom,” said CGU Associate Professor Patricia Easton, who is the former director of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Awards. “Yet, somehow, the judges have managed to select truly exceptional poets year after year, poets who have gone on to write even greater volumes of poetry.”
The Kate Tufts Discovery Award
The Kate Tufts Discovery Award was created in 1994, a year after the inception of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. It is presented to a first book by a poet of genuine promise.
While the Kate Tufts award offers financial compensation and increased visibility, it also offers additional, intangible benefits. Many poets labor for years without receiving meaningful feedback, save for piles of rejection letters from literary journals and perhaps, for the luckiest and most talented, a handful of published pieces. Even then, while getting a poem published is encouraging, one can never be sure about the audience: its size, its response, or even if it really exists.
"The award is a confidence builder,” said Janice Harrington, the 2008 winner. “It's that bit of light in the darkness that allows you to see your way, so that you can keep trying to write your best poetry."
Eric McHenry, who won the 2007 Kate Tufts award for Potscrubber Lullabies, also noted the value of affirmation:
“Writing poetry is hard work, not least because it requires me to convince myself that the world needs my poems. The best thing about winning this award is the feeling that my book has found some enthusiastic readers, that it isn’t so unwelcome in the world.”
The Tufts Poetry Awards Judges
A panel of five distinguished final judges, representing a cross-section of the American poetry community, will choose the winners from submissions postmarked on or before September 15, 2010.
A panel of preliminary judges will meet at Claremont Graduate University's Kingsley Tufts Poetry Awards Office to screen all submissions. No more than 50 finalists will be forwarded to the final judges for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and 25 for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. According to the provisions of the Kingsley and Kate Tufts bequest, any of the five final judges may submit the poetry of a candidate for consideration.
The panel of final judges for the 2011 Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards is:
Linda Gregerson, chair, poet, Professor of English language and literature 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 of English and African and Afro-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and past Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award recipient
The panel of preliminary judges for the 2011 competition includes:
Nadine Meyer, chair, poet, Assistant Professor of English at Gettysburg College
Andrew Feld, poet, editor of the Seattle Review, and assistant professor of English and creative writing at the University of Washington
Suji Kwock Kim, poet and playwright, Assistant Professor of English and Asian American Studies at University of Massachusetts, Boston
The decision of the panel of judges is final. Competition results will be mailed to all entrants and publishers.
Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award
The work submitted must be a book published between September 1, 2010 and August 31, 2011. Manuscripts, CDs, and chapbooks are not accepted.
Kate Tufts Discovery Award
The work submitted must be a first book published between September 1, 2010 and August 31, 2011. Manuscripts, CDs, and chapbooks are not accepted.
A 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.
Work must be original poetry written originally in English by a poet who is a citizen or legal resident alien of the United States.
The work may be submitted by its author or, with the poet's consent, by a publisher, agent, or other representative.
Previous winners of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award are not eligible.
Poets who wish to be eligible for the awards must agree at the outset to:
Grant permission to reproduce portions of the work honored in publicizing the award.
Attend the awards presentation in mid to late April 2012.
In the case of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award winner, spend, within six months of the award presentation, one week in residence at Claremont Graduate University for lectures and poetry readings in Claremont and greater Los Angeles.
Eight copies of an eligible book of poetry (only books of poetry published between September 1, 2010 and August 31, 2011 are eligible).
List of previously published work.
One completed copy of the entry form (click here for entry form)
Send Submissions To:
Kingsley & Kate Tufts Poetry Awards
Claremont Graduate University
160 E. Tenth Street, Harper East B7
Claremont, California 91711-6165
Entries must be postmarked no later than September 15, 2011, to be eligible. The winners of the 2012 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and Kate Tufts Discovery Award will be announced in February, and the awards will be presented in April 2012. Winners are required to accept the award in person.
The 2012 submission deadline is September 15, 2011http://www.cgu.edu/pages/128.asphttp://www.cgu.edu/pages/6056.asp
Click on the link above and go to the contest official site