Veteran poet Angie Estes wins California college's prestigious $100,000 Tufts prize

A runner-up for poetry's 2010 Pulitzer Prize has won this year's prestigious $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award presented annually by Claremont Graduate University.

Angie Estes was honored for her book "Enchantee," Claremont officials announced Wednesday. She was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer for her previous book "Tryst."

Claremont also honored Brandon Som of Los Angeles with its $10,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, presented to a poet who shows great promise. He was cited for his first book, "The Tribute Horse."

The annual awards were established by Kate Tufts to honor the memory of her husband, a shipping executive who wrote poetry as an avocation. They are among the richest and most prestigious in poetry.

"The competition was fierce, and the selection of the winning books was especially challenging," said Wendy Martin, director of the awards and professor of American literature at Claremont Graduate University. "This gives us great confidence that contemporary American poetry is vital and thriving."

Estes, who teaches at Ohio's Ashland University, has authored five books and won numerous prizes, including a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Som, whose work has been published widely, teaches composition at the University of Southern California.

Chase Twichell, a previous winner who chaired the judging committee, said she was pleased to learn after the fact that Estes has turned down teaching positions over the years that would have interfered with her time dedicated to poetry.

"I couldn't be happier to see the Kingsley Tufts Award go to a person who has lived her life with art as her highest priority, at whatever personal cost," she said.

The poets will receive their awards at a campus ceremony on April 16.