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Scholar a finalist for prestigious Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

UC Riverside Fred Moten

Credit: UC Riverside

Professor of English Fred Moten is a finalist for the prestigious Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.

Fred Moten, a professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, is one of five finalists for the prestigious Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, which is presented by Claremont Graduate University.

The $100,000 award honors a poet at mid-career and provides resources “that allow the artist to continue working toward the pinnacle of their craft,” the university said today in announcing the finalists.

Moten was nominated for the award, which is in its 24th year, for “The Little Edges” (Wesleyan University Press, 2014). “The Little Edges” is a collection of poems written in what the poet calls “shaped prose” – “a way of arranging prose in rhythmic blocks, or sometimes shards, in the interest of audio-visual patterning,” according to the publisher of the collection. “Shaped prose is a form that works the ‘little edges’ of lyric and discourse, and radiates out into the space between them.”

The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award 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 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, which recognizes a first book by a poet of genuine promise, was launched in 1993. Winners will be announced in March and recognized during a ceremony on April 7.

Claremont Graduate University is the graduate university of the Claremont Colleges, a consortium of five undergraduate liberal arts colleges and two graduate institutions in Claremont, Calif.

New honor for distinguished poet

The panel of final judges included: Chase Twichell, chair of the judging committee and past winner of the Kingsley Tufts award; Stephen Burt, literary critic and English professor at Harvard University; Elena Karina Byrne, poetry curator/moderator for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books; Brian Kim Stefans, professor of English at University of California, Los Angeles; and Don Share, editor of POETRY magazine.

“The roster of eligible books testified to the extraordinary range and diverse beauty of current American poetry; to pick only 10 finalists for two awards (the Kingsley Tufts Poetry and Kate Tufts Discovery awards) should have been impossible,” said Lori Anne Ferrell, director of the Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards. “So I have no idea how the judges will be able to go on to choose only two winners, but I can’t wait to be there when they do.”

Moten was one of five finalists for the prestigious National Book Award in Poetry in 2014. He was nominated for his collection of poetry titled “The Feel Trio” (Letter Machine Editions), which also was a finalist for the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for poetry.

He is the author of “In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition,” “Hughson’s Tavern,” “B. Jenkins,” and co-author, with Stefano Harney, of “The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study.” He was recognized as one of 10 New American Poets by the Poetry Society of America. He is also co-founder and co-publisher of a small literary press called Three Count Pour.