By Stephanie Steinbrecher ’16Staff Writer
In early March, Claremont Graduate University announced the recipients of its prestigious Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards. The pair of awards are given annually to two exemplary poets.
The Kingsley Tufts Award bestows the winning mid-career poet with one of the largest monetary awards for a single collection of poetry worldwide; this year, the winner of this honor is Marianne Boruch for her collection “The Book of Hours.” The Kate Tufts Discovery Award is given to a poet who has just published their first book or collection. The Kate Tufts Discovery Award recipient for 2013 is Heidy Steidlmayer for “Fowling Piece.”
The awards were created in order to “enable a poet to work on his or her craft for a while without paying bills,” said Kate Tufts, according to CGU’s website. The awards seek to both honor poets and supply them with means to continue working.
The Tufts Poetry Awards are based at CGU and are two of the largest given to poets. The Kinglsey Tufts Award offers both praise and a $100,000 prize to an established poet. The Kate Tufts Discovery Award, on the other hand, recognizes a promising poet and offers the winner $10,000.
The final judges for 2013 were comprised of many notable individuals from around the country whose backgrounds are entrenched in poetry. Past Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award recipient and Professor at the University of Michigan Linda Gregerson, Poetry Editor of The Atlantic Monthly Dadvid Barber, managing editor of Red Hen Press Kate Gale, prize-winning poet and journalist Ted Genoways, and past Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award recipient, Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and Professor at Washington University Carl Phillips made up the judges panel this year.
Hundreds of applications are submitted for the awards each year, with a panel of preliminary judges who choose 50 finalists for the Kingsley Tufts Award and 25 for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.
The awards both recognize outstanding poets and bodies of poetry as well as encourage poets to continue with their outstanding work. The Awards are affirmations that hopefully encourage poets to continue with their work.
Boruch, Professor at Purdue University, has written collections, essays on poetry, and a memoir. Her poetry has appeared in several publications including the New Yorker and Paris Review. Steidlmayer, like Boruch, has had her work published in Poetry and other publications.
Kate Tufts decided to base the awards at CGU in 1993, establishing the award in her husband’s name and providing an endowment to help poets continue to excel in and perfect their art. Since then, the Awards have been offered annually and will hopefully continue well into the future, helping fuel the creativity of contemporary poets for years to come.