Announcing the 2022 Winners of the Kraft-Kinsey Award

The Kraft-Kinsey Award supports a writing project by an Indiana University MFA student that makes substantial use of the Kinsey Institute’s materials and archives. The award is a unique opportunity for emerging writers to give voice to issues of human sexuality, as exemplified by the Kinsey Institute and its collections, while simultaneously discovering new connections between human sexuality and art. The award of $1,000 is made possible through partnership between Kinsey Institute and the Creative Writing Program at Indiana University, and funded by the Martha C. Kraft endowment.

Congratulations to our 2022 winners: Tyler Patton and Tyler Raso.

Tyler Patton is an MFA candidate in Poetry at Indiana University.

Tyler Raso

Tyler Raso is an MFA candidate in Poetry at Indiana University whose current work reaches toward a collaborative poetics with their childhood selves across time. Thinking with the complications of “the closet” as a portable figure of queer identity, they’re most concerned, at present, with transformation, joy, literal and figurative confinement, and the failures and absences of language. Beginning with their upbringing in an Evangelical, military family, with the ways in which they stole queer time from a straight world, they write and dream toward queerness as prismatic, and a site of belonging. In this, they work through lyric questioning, fragmentary narrative, to, as much as possible, cut against the grain of gender-as-objecthood, to open toward a queer, trans, utopic self/ves-making or world/s-making. This means, their work is primarily interested in rupture, in unlearning.

As their project witnesses and interrogates vocabularies of objecthood, they hope to work with the Kinsey Institute collections to expand into a tender, messy, transformative invocation of queer possibility in the material world. To think with, especially, toys, dolls, puppets as windows into or witnesses of queer discovery. The Kinsey Institute’s selections of theoretical groundings in sexual development in childhood and gender nonconformity will root the exploration, while material centered on primary and imaginative experience of objects (as an expansive category) like Barbie Culture, or William’s Doll, and pulp fiction like The Dollmaker will give shape to the curiosity, how the objects we live with or through contain, invoke, or name desires or intimacies beyond the grasp of language.

For over 75 years, the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University has been a trusted source for investigating critical issues in sex, gender and reproduction and advancing sexual health and knowledge worldwide. The Kinsey Institute Collections encompass print materials, film and video, fine art, artifacts, photography, and archives that focus on human sexuality. The Institute has collected publications, objects, art, and data from six continents, and its holding span more than 2,000 years of human history and run the gamut of technologies—from ink on paper, to DVD and digital records. 

For more information about the Kraft-Kinsey Award for MFA Students, please contact Dr. Samrat Upadhyay, Martha C. Kraft Professor of the Humanities, at 812-856-5882 or  

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