Unlike many literary awards, which are coronations for a successful career or body of work, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award was created to both honor the poet and provide the resources that allow artists to continue working towards the pinnacle of their craft. Kate Tufts – widow of Kingsley Tufts, and creator of the award – had said she wanted to create a prize “that would enable a poet to work on his or her craft for awhile without paying bills.”
The Kate Tufts Discovery Award was created in 1994, a year after the inception of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. It is presented to a first book by a poet of genuine promise.
Earlier this month, the 2019 Tufts Poetry Award was given to Dawn Lundy Martin for her collection Good Stock Strange Blood and the Tufts Discovery Award was given to Diana Khoi Nguyen for Ghost Of. You can find a list of finalists on the Tufts Award website.
Good Stock Strange Blood by Dawn Lundy Martin
“And, yet, each morning a fireheart grief in the body coming out of sleep. The listening to the smoke as if fills and weeps inside the chest, choking strength out hands weighted, dangling. We wonder where else it lives before it fills the body up. We assume it comes inside through the hole that promises invasion.”
Dawn Lundy Martin is an American Poet, writer, Activist. She earned her BA at the University of Connecticut, her Masters in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and her PhD on Literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is an instructor for the Language and Thinking Program at Bard College.
Ghost Of by Diana Khoi Nguyen
Ghost Of is a mourning song, not an exorcism or un-haunting of that which haunts, but attuned attention, unidirectional reaching across time, space, and distance to reach loved ones, ancestors, and strangers. By working with, in, and around the photographs that her brother left behind (from which he cut himself out before his death), Nguyen wrestles with what remains: memory, physical voids, and her family captured around an empty space.
Nguyen’s debut collection was selected by Terrance Hayes for the Omnidawn Open Contest. In addition to winning the 92Y “Discovery” / Boston ReviewPoetry Contest and being shortlisted for the National Book Award, she is a PhD candidate in creative writing at the University of Denver.