January 24, 2019

Finalists Announced for the 2019 Kingsley & Kate Tufts Poetry Awards

Shortlists Include Terrance Hayes, Diana Khoi Nguyen for the $100,000 and $10,000 Awards


With a record number of nominations this year, 10 finalists have been selected for the 2019 Kingsley & Kate Tufts Poetry Awards.

One of the world’s leading annual poetry awards, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award honors a mid-career poet with $100,000; the Kate Tufts Discovery Award recognizes the work of a poet of promise with $10,000.

This year’s five finalists for each award were chosen from a pool of several hundred nominations submitted by individuals and by publishers. The chair of this year’s judging committee is Timothy Donnelly, winner of the 2012 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.

The winners will be announced in February, followed by two events in April: a private awards ceremony on the campus of CGU on April 10 and a public reading on April 11 at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino.


This year’s finalists for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award are:

Tyree Daye, River Hymns (American Poetry Review Press)

A poet from Youngsville, North Carolina, Daye is the winner of the 2017 APR/Honickman First Book Prize for River Hymns.

Diana Khoi Nguyen, Ghost Of (Omnidawn Publishing)

Nguyen is a multimedia artist and award-winning poet whose work has appeared widely in literary journals including Poetry and PEN America. She lives in Denver, where she is a doctoral candidate at the University of Denver.

Justin Phillip Reed, Indecency (Coffee House Press)

A poet and essayist whose book Indecency won the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry, Reed has published his work in African American Review, Best American Essays, Callaloo, among other publications.

Vanessa Angélica Villarreal, Beast Meridian (Noemi Press)

Born in the Rio Grande Valley borderlands to formerly undocumented Mexican immigrants, Villarreal is the author of the collection Beast Meridian, which won the John A. Robertson Award for Best First Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters.

Javier Zamora, Unaccompanied (Copper Canyon Press)

Born in El Salvador, Zamora migrated to the U.S. when he was nine. A Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University, he holds fellowships from several organizations—including CantoMundo, the Lannan Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts—and his poetry and prose have appeared in Granta.


This year’s finalists for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award are:

CAConrad, While Standing in Line for Death (Wave Books)

CAConrad is a 2019 Creative Capital Fellow and the author of 9 books of poetry and essays. While Standing in Line for Death received the 2018 Lambda Award. Conrad is a recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts and The Believer Magazine Book Award.

Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin (Penguin Books)

Hayes is a teacher and student of poetry whose most recent publications include American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin and To Float In The Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight.

Brenda Hillman, Extra Hidden Life, among the Days (Wesleyan University Press)

Named by Poets and Writers as one of 50 inspiring writers in the world, Hillman is a Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets and teaches at St. Mary’s College where she is the Olivia C. Filippi Professor of Poetry.

Dawn Lundy Martin, Good Stock Strange Blood (Coffee House Press)

A poet, essayist, and conceptual-video artist, Martin is the author of four books of poems, including Good Stock Strange Blood and Life in a Box is a Pretty Life (winner of a Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry), and three limited edition chapbooks.

Craig Santos Perez, from unincorporated territory [lukao] (Omnidawn Publishing)

An indigenous Chamorro poet and scholar from Guam, Santos Perez is the author of four poetry books, co-editor of three anthologies, co-founder of Ala Press, and the recipient of the American Book Award and Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship, among others.



The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award was started at CGU in 1992 by Kate Tufts to honor her late husband, Kingsley, who held various executive positions in L.A.-area shipyards and wrote and published poetry. The Kate Tufts Discovery Award followed a year later.

Visit the Kingsely and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards website for more information.