February 25, 2022

Ten Finalists Contend for This Year’s Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards

The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award at Claremont Graduate University is one of the largest annual awards in the poetry world.

Ten finalists have been chosen for the 2022 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, one of the largest annual awards in poetry, and the 2022 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, which recognizes a first book of poetry by a poet of promise.

This year’s finalists were selected from a pool of several hundred candidates submitted for consideration by individuals and publishers last year. This year’s judging committee is led by chair Patricia Smith, 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award winner for “Incendiary Art: Poems.”

For Lori Anne Ferrell, dean of the university’s School of Arts & Humanities and director of the awards, this year’s finalists “emerged in the second full year of a pandemic that has stressed, sometimes to the point of exhaustion, the editors and staffs of the university and small presses, which are the usual publishers of poetry,” she said. “I am proud of the range and diversity of the poets—a tribute not only to the range and diversity of the American poetry scene but also to the discerning work of our distinguished judges.”

Between the two categories, there are four writers who have been finalists or winners of awards that are regarded as peers of these awards: Diane Seuss (finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award), Francine J. Harris (2020 National Book Critics Circle Award winner and past finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award), Desiree C. Bailey (National Book Award finalist), and Hoa Nguyen (National Book Award finalist).

Established in 1992, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award recognizes the work of a poet in mid-career with $100,000; the Kate Tufts Discovery Award gives $10,000 to a poet for an auspicious start to his or her career.

The two winners will be announced in early March, followed by an awards ceremony on the CGU campus on April 20 followed by a public reading and reception in Los Angeles on April 21 (if you are interested in attending, see the invite and registration below). In addition to the cash awards, the winners receive a crystal reproduction of their award-winning books; the Kingsley winner also returns to campus in the fall to serve a week-long poetry residency.

  • Public reading and reception for the 2022 recipients of the Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards: April 21, 2022, 7 p.m., at the Los  Angeles Public Library. Register to attend 


Finalists for the 2022 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

francine J. harris, Here is the Sweet Hand
Farrar, Straus & Giroux

francine j. harris’s third collection, Here is the Sweet Hand, won the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Award. Her second collection, play dead, was the winner of the Lambda Literary and Audre Lorde Awards and a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her first collection, allegiance, was a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery and PEN Open Book Awards. Originally from Detroit, she has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the MacDowell Colony. She serves as an associate professor of English at the University of Houston and as consulting faculty editor at Gulf Coast.


Douglas Kearney, Sho
Wave Books

Douglas Kearney has published six books, including Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016), is the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award winner, and was a silver medalist for the California Book Award (Poetry). M. NourbeSe Philip calls Kearney’s collection of libretti, Someone Took They Tongues “a seismic, polyphonic mash-up that disturbs the tongue.” Kearney has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, the Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. He teaches creative writing at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.


Hoa Nguyen, A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure
Wave Books

Hoa Nguyen is the author of several books of poetry, including A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure, which is the winner of the Canada Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Award and the Governor General’s Literary Award. As a public proponent and advocate of contemporary poetry, she has served as guest editor for The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2018 and judge for the 2020 Griffin Prize for Poetry. In addition, she has performed and lectured at numerous institutions, including Princeton University, Bard College, Poet’s House, and the Banff Centre’s Writers Studio. Born in the Mekong Delta and raised and educated in the United States, Nguyen has lived in Canada since 2011.


Diane Seuss, frank: sonnets
Graywolf Press

Diane Seuss is the author of five poetry collections, including Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Four-Legged Girl, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She is a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow. A single mother raised Seuss in rural Michigan, which she continues to call home.


Divya Victor, CURB
Nightboat Books

Divya Victor is the author of CURB, a finalist for the PEN America Open Book Award; KITH (Fence Books/ Book*hug); Scheingleichheit: Drei Essays (Merve Verlag); NATURAL SUBJECTS (Trembling Pillow, Winner of the Bob Kaufman Award); UNSUB (Insert Blanc); and THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR MOUTH (Les Figues). She is an associate professor of English at Michigan State University.


Finalists for the 2022 Kate Tufts Discovery Award

Threa Almontaser, The Wild Fox of Yemen
Graywolf Press

Threa Almontaser is the author of the poetry collection The Wild Fox of Yemen (Graywolf Press 2021), winner of the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, and has been nominated for a National Book Award. Its publisher describes the book as “a love letter to the country and people of Yemen, a portrait of young Muslim womanhood in New York after 9/11, and an extraordinarily composed examination of what it means to carry in the body the echoes of what came before.”


Desiree C. Bailey, What Noise Against the Cane
Yale University Press

Desiree C. Bailey is the author of What Noise Against the Cane (Yale University Press, 2021), which won the 2020 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize; was a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry; and is currently long-listed for the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize. She is also the author of the fiction chapbook In Dirt or Saltwater (O’clock Press, 2016). Bailey is from Trinidad and Tobago, and Queens, New York.


Diamond Forde, Mother Body
Saturnalia Books

Diamond Forde’s debut collection, Mother Body, is the 2019 Saturnalia Poetry Prize winner. Forde has received numerous awards and prizes, including a Pink Poetry Prize, a Furious Flower Poetry Prize, CLA’s Margaret Walker Memorial Prize, and third place in Frontier Poetry’s New Poets Award. A Callaloo and Tin House fellow, Forde’s work has appeared in Boston Review, Honey Literary, and other publications. She serves as the contributing editor of Southeast Review and the fiction editor of Nat. Brut. 


Benjamin Garcia, Thrown in the Throat
Milkweed Editions

Benjamin Garcia’s first collection, Thrown in the Throat, was selected by Kazim Ali for the 2019 National Poetry Series. He works as a sexual health and harm reduction educator in New York’s Finger Lakes region, where he received the Jill Gonzalez Health Educator Award recognizing contributions to HIV treatment and prevention. A CantoMundo and Lambda Literary fellow, he serves as core faculty at Alma College’s low-residency MFA program.


torrin a. greathouse, Wound from the Mouth of a Wound
Milkweed Editions

torrin a. greathouse is a transgender cripple-punk and MFA candidate at the University of Minnesota. Her work has been published in POETRY, Ploughshares, New England Review, and The Kenyon Review. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Effing Foundation for Sex Positivity, Zoeglossia, and the University of Arizona Poetry Center. She is the author of Wound from the Mouth of a Wound, selected for the Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry by Aimee Nezhukumatathil.