The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award is without a doubt the poetry prize with which I agree the most. Its list of past winners includes many of my favourite contemporary American poets, including Lucia Perillo, Rodney Jones, and Tom Sleigh in just the past four years, and now you can add the wonderful Matthea Harvey to that list.
I've been reading Harvey's poetry since her first collection Pity the Bathtub, It's Forced Embrace of The Human Form was published by Alice James Books in 2000. She followed up her debut with two gorgeous collections from Graywolf Press: Sad Little Breathing Machine and Modern Life, for which she received the Tufts Poetry award, which is presented annually to an outstanding poet in mid-career. By chance, I met Harvey in Berlin in 2007. She was friendly, smart and gracious, so it's nice to know that the Tufts' $100,000 is going to a nice person as well as a talented poet. Congratulations, Matthea.
In related news, one of my favourite books of 2008, Matthew Dickman's All American Poem, has won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, presented annually to a first book by a "poet of genuine promise." I've never met Matthew Dickman, but I congratulate him all the same.
The names of the winning poets were reported by the L.A. Times and the New York Times.