CGU announces Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award honoree

Claremont Graduate University has announced the winner of the 2013 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.

Poet and essayist Marianne Boruch has taken the $100,000 prize, one of the largest poetry awards in the United States, for her 2011 poetry collection The Book of Hours.

The award is given each year to a poet who is past the beginning stages of his or her career but who has yet to reach its pinnacle.

“We are delighted to honor these poets and celebrate their achievements,” Wendy Martin, director of the Tufts Poetry Awards, said. “These awards will help them gain wider recognition and will sustain their continuing commitment to writing outstanding poetry.”

Publisher Copper Canyon Press describes Ms. Boruch’s 7th poetry collection thusly:

“Inspired by the tradition of homemade prayer books popular during the Middle Ages, Marianne Boruch’s The Book of Hours foregrounds the rich details of nature, which are both beautiful and ruthless. While investigating personal memory and issues of war, history, saints, god and godlessness, Boruch questions the nature of poetry itself. Within the poems are numerous, and numinous, voices.”

Ms. Boruch developed and now directs the MFA program in creative writing at Purdue University. She teaches creative writing in the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College as well as at Purdue.

Ms. Boruch has earned an array of other honors, including Pushcart Prizes, a Fulbright/visiting professorship at the University of Edinburgh and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the American Poetry Review, the Paris Review, the Yale Review and the London Review of Books.

In a 2005 Washington Post column, former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky had high praise for Ms. Boruch.

“She sees and considers with intensity. Her poems often give fresh examples of how rare and thrilling it can be to notice…” Mr. Pinsky wrote. “Trusting observation, having the ideas and feelings emerge as continuations of that action of noticing—where others might force a sentiment or a bit of philosophizing onto things—may be a mark of genuine poetry.”

Along with the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, CGU also presents the annual $10,000 Kate Tufts Discover Award for a first book by a poet of genuine promise. This year’s winner is Heidy Steidlmayer of Vacaville, California for her book Fowling Piece.

Ms. Steidlmayer’s inaugural poetry collection also won the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize from Poetry, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and the 2012 John C. Zacharis Award for the best debut from a Ploughshares contributor.

The Kingsley Tufts award, now in its 21st year, was established at Claremont Graduate University by Kate Tufts to honor the memory of her husband, who held executive positions in the Los Angeles shipyards and wrote poetry as his avocation.

Both the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award will be presented at a ceremony at Garrison Theater (231 E. 10th St. in Claremont) on Thursday, April 18. Special remarks will be given by novelist Russell Banks.

—Sarah Torribio


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