$100,000 Kingsley Tufts poetry prize accepting nominations
Sure, Yale just announced a really big literary award that will grant prizes of $150,000; so far, poetry isn't included. But the Claremont Graduate University has poets covered -- with the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize.
What's more, Yale's new prizes will have a closed nominations process; the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize is now accepting submissions for the 2012 prize.
Previous Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize winners include Chase Twichell, D.A. Powell, Henri Cole and Yusef Komunyakaa. The award was first presented in 1993; it is designed to support the work of a mid-career poet.
Kingsley Tufts was born in Indiana and grew up to become an accountant in Los Angeles. He and his wife, Kate, who both loved poetry, often talked about founding a large poetry prize, should one survive the other.
On Christmas Day 1991, Kingsley Tufts was sitting in a chair at home smoking his pipe when he said he felt dizzy, dropped the pipe and died of a massive heart attack. In 1993, Kate told the L.A. Times his death was "perfect, elegant -- quite in keeping with his life."
She sold the Hollywood Hills home they'd lived in for 25 years to fund the prize. She had inherited the 14-room Craftsman from her father, a doctor, who bought 10.5 acres in 1906 for the now-unimaginable price of $11 an acre. On her own at age 82, Kate moved into a condominium; after her death, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award was established at Claremont Graduate University, giving an award of $10,000 to a poet for his or her debut collection.
Kate and Kingsley Tufts loved poetry. Kingsley was a poet himself whose work was published by the American Scholar and H.L. Mencken's the American Mercury. They privately published some of his work, including a 250-edition holiday gift entitled "There's a Crack in My Martini: A Potpourri for Thinking Drinking."
Complete details about how to submit to the Kingsley and Kate Tufts poetry awards are available online. Books published between Sept. 1, 2010 and Aug. 31, 2011 are eligible; the deadline is September 15.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: Kingsley Tufts. Credit: Claremont Graduate University