Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards

The finalists for the Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards 2022 were announced on Friday, February 25, 2022.

The Tufts poetry awards—based at USA-based Claremont Graduate University and given for poetry volumes published in the preceding year—are not only two of the most prestigious prizes a contemporary poet can receive, they also come with hefty purses: $100,000 for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and $10,000 for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. This makes the Kingsley Tufts award the world’s largest monetary prize for a single collection of poetry. Since the Kingsley Tuft Discovery Award was awarded in 1993, it has been won by among others Yusef Komunyakaa while the Kate Tufts Prize winners handed out since 1994 has been won by Danez Smith.

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.”

Here are the writers of African descent that made the finalists list;

Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award ‘22

  • francine J. harris, Here is the Sweet Hand, Farrar, Straus & Giroux
  • Douglas Kearney, Sho, Wave Books

Kate Tufts Discovery Award ‘22

  • Desiree C. Bailey, What Noise Against the Cane, Yale University Press
  • Diamond Forde, Mother Body, Saturnalia Books

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. 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.