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2008 Tufts Poetry Awards Announced

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Claremont Graduate University administers two major prizes for poetry each year, The Kingsley Tufts Award ($100,000) and The Kate Tufts Discovery Award ($10,000.) CGU’s Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award is one of the largest monetary prizes in the nation for a single work of a mid-career poet. Tom Sleigh has been selected as the 2008 winner of the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Award for Space Walk. Janice Harrington has been selected as the 2008 winner of the $10,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award for Even  the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone. 

Tom Sleigh is the author of seven books of poetry, After One (winner of the Houghton Mifflin New Poetry Series Prize, l983), Waking (University of Chicago Press Phoenix Poets Series, l990), which was chosen by the New York Times Book Review as one of the Notable Books of 1990-91 and was a finalist for the Lamont Poetry Prize, and The Chain, also published by the University of Chicago Press in March, 1996.

The Chain was nominated for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize of the Academy of American Poets and The Nation Magazine. His fourth book, The Dreamhouse, (Chicago, November 1999) was a selection of the Academy of American Poet’s Poetry Book Club and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. His fifth book, Far Side of the Earth, was published by Houghton Mifflin (April 3, 2003), and named an Honor Book by the Massachusetts Society for the Book. His sixth book, Bula Matari/Smasher of Rocks was published in a limited edition by Arrowsmith. And his new book, Space Walk, was published by Houghton Mifflin (March, 2007). He has also published a book of essays, Interview With a Ghost (Graywolf Press, 2006) and a translation of Euripides’ Herakles (Oxford University Press, 2001).

Among his many awards are the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, and a three year Individual Writer's Award from the Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Fund. He has also received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown where he is currently a Writing Committee member. He teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Hunter College in the City University of New York. 

The Kate Tufts Discovery Award is presented annually for a first book by a poet of genuine promise. Janice N. Harrington writes poetry and children’s books. She grew up in Alabama and Nebraska, and both those settings, especially rural Alabama, figures prominently in her writing. Her first book of poetry, Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone (2007) has been awarded the $10,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. It also won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize from BOA Editions. She is also the winner of a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship for Poetry. Her children’s books, The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County (2007) and Going North (2004), both from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, have won many awards and citations, including a listing among TIME Magazine’s top 10 children’s books of 2007 and the Ezra Jack Keats Award from the New York Public Library in 2005. Harrington’s poetry appears regularly in American literary magazines. She has worked as a public librarian and as a professional storyteller, telling stories at festivals around the country, including the National Storytelling Festival. She now teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The panel of final judges for the 2008 Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards is:
Robert Wrigley, chair, poet, professor of English at the University of Idaho, and past Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award recipient. Allison Joseph, award-winning poet, Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Robert Pinsky, poet, critic, and past Poet Laureate of the United States. Alice Quinn, poetry editor of The New Yorker for twenty years  and executive director of the Poetry Society of America. Charles Harper Webb, poet, critic,  professor of English at California State University Long Beach, and past Kate Tufts Discovery  Award recipient.

The panel of preliminary judges for the 2008 competition includes: Barbara Ras, chair, director of Trinity University Press, and past recipient of Kate Tufts Discovery Award; Derick Burleson, poet, and assistant professor in the MFA Program at the University of Alaska, and Eugene Gloria, poet, associate professor of English and Creative Writing at the DePauw University.

The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award was established at Claremont Graduate University in 1992 by Kate Tufts to honor the memory of her husband Kingsley Tufts, who held executive positions in the Los Angeles Shipyards and wrote poetry as his avocation. The Kate Tufts Discovery Award was initiated in 1993.

The Tufts Poetry Award ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. on April 15 in the Colburn School’s Thayer Hall in Los Angeles. The ceremony will feature a poetry reading followed by a book signing. The event is free and open to the public. For information, call 909- 621-8974 or


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