Kathy Bates assists in honoring poets
May 3, 2002
Oscar-winning actress Kathy Bates was the guest presenter at the 10th
Anniversary for the Kingsley Tuft Poetry Award at Claremont Graduate University
on Friday. Bates presented two poets, Carl Phillips and Cate Marvin, with
the prestigious Tuft Awards. Marvin, a professor at Washington University
in St. Louis, received a cash prize of $100,000 for his body of poetry entitled
"The Tether." Marvin, a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University
of Cincinnati, was presented with the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, which
included the cash prize of $10,000.
The air at Claremont Graduate University was filled with the sounds
of award-winning poetry Friday evening. A ceremony was held honoring poets
Carl Phillips and Cate Marvin, winners of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry award
and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. The ceremony marked the ten-year anniversary
of the awards.
Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates was a special presenter.
The $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award is the largest prize for a
single book of poetry. It is given each year by Claremont Graduate University
to a poet who is beyond the beginning stages of his or her career, but not
yet at the pinnacle.
Phillips, who has been writing poetry for 14 years, is a professor of
English and African and Afro-American studies at Washington University in
St. Louis. He was awarded the prize for "The Tether," which is
his fifth book of poetry.
"Writing is the thing I was made to do," he said. His next
book, "Rock Harbor," is due to be published in fall 2002.
The Kate Tufts Discovery Award is also an annual award honoring a poet
with $10,000 for his or her first book of poetry.
Cate Marvin received the award for her book "World's Tallest Disaster."
Marvin holds two master's of fine arts degrees: one in poetry and one in
fiction. She is currently working on her Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati.
Both winners had the opportunity to read several of their poems to the
Phillips and Marvin were selected by a panel of five judges, composed
of a former Kingsley Tufts award winner, editors, authors, professors and
former Poet Laureate of the United States.
Both Phillips and Marvin are accomplished poets and have earned several
honors. Phillips has earned the Morse Poetry Prize, an Award in Literature
from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Academy of American Poets
Prize, the Lambda Literary Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation
and the Library of Congress.
Marvin has earned scholarships to the Bread Loaf Conference and the
Sewanee Writers' Conference.
She was the winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry in 2000
and her poetry has been published in several notable publications.
The Tufts award winners are "an extraordinary group of people,"
said Robert Wrigley, chair of the Tufts awards and former Kingsley Tufts
Bates was chosen to present the awards because she has been actively
involved in the arts and is a strong supporter of poetry.
"I'm here because I love words, spoken and written," Bates
President of Claremont Graduate University, Steadman Upham opened the
ceremony by recognizing past winners, members of the judging panel and other
President Emeritus, John Maguire, shared history about Kingsley and
Kate Tufts and how the awards were established.
The late Kate Tufts founded the awards so talented and focused poets
would have the resources to focus on their writing without worrying about
Tufts funded the award by selling the house in which she was born.
Tufts asked that judges consider candidates who enhance poetry and its
visibility, choose a poet that is not widely known so his or her career
may be furthered, favor poetry that is accessible to all types of people
and give consideration to work that is odd, different and quirky.
A daylong celebration of poetry was held prior to the awards ceremony.
Past winners were invited back to participate in panel discussions and poetry
A reception took place after the ceremony and the winners offered book