Poetry News

Timothy Donnelly and Katharine Larson Win the 2012 Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards

By Harriet Staff

This just in: Timothy Donnelly, author of The Cloud Corporation (Wave Books), has won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, one of the largest awards for poetry in the U.S. And Katherine Larson, author of Radial Symmetry (Yale University Press), has won the 2012 Kate Tufts Poetry Award, which will grant her $10,000, still not shabby. More from the Claremont Office of Communications:

Wendy Martin, director of the Tufts Poetry Award program and vice provost of CGU, observed that in the 20th Anniversary year of the Kingsley Tufts awards “these poets carry forward a tradition marked by distinguished past winners including Robert Wrigley, Tom Sleigh, Matthea Harvey, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Chase Twichell. CGU is proud to be able to make these important awards.”

The Cloud Corporation is Donnelly’s second book. His first, Twenty-seven Props for a Production of Eine Lebenszeit (Grove), was published in 2003. His poems have been widely anthologized and translated, and they have appeared in such periodicals as A Public Space, Fence, Harper’s, The Iowa Review, jubilat, Lana Turner, the Nation, the New Republic, and the Paris Review.

This spring he is the Theodore H. Holmes ’51 and Bernice Holmes Visiting Associate Professor at Princeton University’s Program in Creative Writing and Lewis Center for the Arts. He has been poetry editor of the Boston Review since 1996 and is on the faculty of the Writing Program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters.

"I’m among the many people in this country who have had to go into significant debt just to get by," Donnelly said of the seven difficult and sleep-deprived years he spent writing The Cloud Corporation. "All the anxiety in the book about the economy and the struggle to make ends meet isn’t just for effect—it’s all very personal. This prize will give my family and me a measure of financial stability that would otherwise have taken a decade or more to achieve. But as true as all that is, it’s the honor of having had The Cloud Corporation chosen for this distinction that I really can’t wrap my head around."

Larson’s Radial Symmetry, was selected by well-known poet Louise Glück as winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets and published by Yale University Press in 2011. In addition to the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, her work has been honored by a Ruth Lilly Fellowship and the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Poetry Prize. She has spent the last decade working as a molecular biologist and field ecologist. She lives in Arizona with her husband and daughter.

"My husband and I worked so hard to budget for a babysitter just so I could have a few hours a week to write," she said. "This award allows me to continue my work. You have no idea what a gift that is."

The Kingsley Tufts award, now in its 20th 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. The award is presented for a work by a poet who is past the very beginning but has not yet reached the pinnacle of his or her career.

The Kate Tufts Discovery Award was initiated in 1993 and is presented annually for a first book by a poet of genuine promise.

Serious congrats to you both!

Originally Published: February 2nd, 2012