Patricia Smith, who teaches in the English department at the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York System, has been selected to receive the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. The award, which comes with a $100,000 prize, is given annually by Claremont Graduate University in California to a poet who “is past the very beginning but not yet reached the pinnacle of his or her career.” The $100,000 prize is the largest in the world for a single volume of poetry.
Professor Smith was honored for her poetry collection Incendiary Art: Poems (Northwestern University Press, 2017), which explores tragedy and grief in black communities across America. It is her eighth published poetry collection.
Professor Smith was a finalist for the Neustadt Prize, a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize, and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history.
Smith will receive the award April 19 at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. The award is one of the largest annual monetary prizes given to a single book of poetry by a mid-career poet, according the Kingsley Tufts website. The award was established at Claremont in 1993 by Kate Tufts to honor her husband, an executive in Los Angeles-area shipyards who also wrote and published poetry.