2019 NONFICTION PRIZE JUDGED BY ESME WEIJUN WANG

Winner: Yamilette Vizcaíno’s “A Glow Up, in Parts”

Yamilette is an Afrolatinx writer and educator based in Brooklyn. Her work can be found at The Offing and -ismo magazine. She can be found over-explaining the life cycle of moss to either her students or her best friend’s cat depending on the time of day.

Congratulations to all the finalists!

Eloise Grills
Gabriela Gonzales
Jayne A. Quan
JinJin Xu
Yami Vizcaíno

Anna Linetskaya, Aurora Huiza, Eloise Grills, Gabriela Gonzales, Jayne A. Quan, JinJin Xu, Kate Jordan, and Yami Vizcaíno

2019 POETRY PRIZE JUDGED BY DANEZ SMITH

Winner: Jordan Pérez’ “Cuban Women Are Tarantulas”

Judge, Danez Smith: Cuban Women Are Tarantualas” as the poet themself writes, is full of all the best “singingsingingsinging” that one can ask of a poem. This poem and it’s many little litanies sing a cuban woman’s survival and history, history also being a thing one must survive. Lyrically lush and with some heart stopping images, this poem is one I wanna hold close to my heart + up to the light for all of you to see.

Tina Zafreen Alam’s “grass is greener in scotland than in new york city without you
Stephon Lawrence’s “//mind on my body, body on my mind”
Jordan Pérez’ “Cuban Women Are Tarantulas
Mick Powell’s “to Kimberly, as you were
Dāshaun Washington’s “Blackmale

Tina Zafreen Alam’s “grass is greener in scotland than in new york city without you
Selina Boan’s “Run the Hurt
Kaiya Gordon’s “Matching Test: The World’s TERFS Line Up To Fight Me”
Jourdan Keith’s “To My Friend Who Looked Away”
Stephon Lawrence’s //mind on my body, body on my mind
Jordan Pérez’ “Cuban Women Are Tarantulas
Mick Powell’s “to Kimberly, as you were
Arriel Vinson’s “Ode to the Black, Sweaty House Party”
Calvin Walds’ “The Rapper”
Dāshaun Washington’s “Blackmale

Stephon Lawrence’s “//mind on my body, body on my mind”

2018 FICTION PRIZE JUDGED BY OTTESSA MOSHFEGH

Winner: Asiya Gaildon’s “Minnesota, Minnesota

Judge, Ottessa Moshfegh: I was really taken with the story’s structure, leaning in and out of screenplay, with flashback and present-moment scenes, all focused through the lens of our narrator who is utterly charming, and whose intelligence felt very acutely NOW. His loneliness touched my loneliness. What an inspired set of decisions for how to tell this story. The revelation of the brother’s death must have been a tricky thing to nail, and I think the writer hit the right note. I found the scene with the brother’s body very moving. This writer is clearly talented, inventive, funny, and unafraid. Congratulations and please keep writing.

Alexandria Hall’s “Inheritance”
Asiya Gaildon’s “Minnesota, Minnesota
Carlos Rafael Gomez’s “Cristi”
Helen Chau Bradley’s “Maverick
Jiaming Tang’s “The Matchmaker’s Album
Lindsey Skillen’s “Labor Day”
Mark Galarrita’s “Play of The Game
Raven Leilani’s “Hard Water
Reyes Ramirez’ “Lilia
Zoe Whittall’s “The Sex Castle Lunch Buffet

Alexandria Hall’s “Inheritance”
Asiya Gaildon’s “Minnesota, Minnesota
Jiaming Tang’s “The Matchmaker’s Album
Raven Leilani’s “Hard Water
Reyes Ramirez’ “Lilia

Jiaming Tang’s “The Matchmaker’s Album”

2018 NONFICTION PRIZE JUDGED BY OCEAN VUONG

Winner: Sarah Panlibuton Barnes’ Die In Summer or Not at All: A Resurrection in Three Acts

Judge, Ocean Vuong: The language in this essay posses a brooded stoicism all while gazing upon the world with a necessary, generous compassion. It achieves itself through an accumulation of details, memories and confrontations that amplify an American girlhood, wielding itself towards a concussive effect that’s felt long after I turned away. This is writing at its most brutal and most sincere at once–a rare feat for a writer at any level.

Ana Maria Jomolca’s “Somewhere, Florida
Annabel Lang’s “Dyke at the Wedding
Christine Lai’s “The Memory of Warmth
Dana Curtis’ “The Happy Cripple Show
Elizabeth Brina’s “Without Being Taught”
Elsa Valmidiano’s “Tbilisi
Felicity Fenton’s “Liar”
J. Mae Barizo’s “The Red Book
Jenifer Sang Eun Park’s “Yellow Like My Dad”
Jenny Tinghui Zhang’s “Curiosities”
Johanna Dong’s “Troglobitic
Kristin Chang’s “Bestiary”
Kristin Chang’s “Girl in Gourd”
Mira Schlosberg’s “Dick Talk
Morani Kornberg’s “The Summer That Never Happened”
Patrick Dundon’s “A Wrist, a Fork, an Unlicked Stamp
Rachelle Toarmino’s “He’s Perfect
Sarah Panlibuton Barnes’ “Die In Summer or Not at All: A Resurrection in Three Acts
Sophie He’s “The Canadians
Stephanie Chou’s “The Remember Timeline”
Tess Liem’s “Shift Work

J. Mae Barizo’s “The Red Book
Sarah Panlibuton Barnes’ “Die In Summer or Not at All: A Resurrection in Three Acts
Kristin Chang’s “Bestiary”
Stephanie Chou’s “The Remember Timeline”
Dana Curtis’ “The Happy Cripple Show
Ana Maria Jomolca’s “Somewhere, Florida
Morani Kornberg’s “The Summer That Never Happened”
Christine Lai’s “The Memory of Warmth
Jenifer Sang Eun Park’s “Yellow Like My Dad”
Jenny Tinghui Zhang’s “Curiosities”
Rachelle Toarmino’s “He’s Perfect
Elsa Valmidiano’s “Tbilisi

2018 POETRY PRIZE JUDGED BY TOMMY PICO

Winner: George Abraham’s “Against Consolidation

Judge, Tommy Pico: It probably wouldn’t shock anyone familiar with my work that my favorite submission also happened to be the longity longest one. The poem branches out with a kind of curious consumption, interrogating itself and the institution of capital “P” “Poetry, interrogating the truth of memory, and interrogating to a certain extent the reader. This is what I love. Do I believe the narrator? Not fully. It’s like trying to believe memory. The poem seemingly wants to tell us what it’s about, but I don’t think it’s interested in definition as much as it is articulation. It gives us so much, is formally inventive, but also retains its privacy. There is something even in its excess that is not meant for me, the reader. I love that too, addressing limitation within excess, the plea, “let me write about home without writing its unbecoming.” That really slapped my feelings across the face. And yes, I want another.

Aria Aber
George Abraham
Colette Arrand
S. Erin Batiste
Destiny O. Birdsong
Yolandi E Cruz Guerrero
Jameson Fitzpatrick
Faylita Hicks
Quincy Scott Jones
Kyle Lopez
Rena Priest
Maitreyi Ray
Robin Richardson
Monica Rico
Penelope Romo
Janelle Tan
travis tate
Rachelle Toarmino
Rashanda Williams

Aria Aber
George Abraham
Colette Arrand
Destiny O. Birdsong
Yolandi E Cruz Guerrero
Faylita Hicks
Quincy Scott Jones
Penelope Romo
Maitreyi Ray
Janelle Tan

Destiny O. Birdsong‘s “i too sing america”

Tommy Pico: This poem has a very interesting quality of being vigorous, wily, and free, while also cagey, anxious, and halting. It immediately got me thinking about how I am nervous when I feel most free. In a way, I felt like that was the underlying tension of the poem. In its unfurling, there’s an ooziness in the way it moves down the page. It flirts, is flirty. Yet I read it as being very conscious of boundaries, boarders, and boxes. It also contains a dizzying kind of gravity. Try it on. It hugs.


Destiny O. Birdsong is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist whose poems have either appeared or are forthcoming in African American ReviewThe Adroit Journal, Muzzle, Indiana ReviewBettering American Poetry Volume IIThe BreakBeat Poets Volume 2: Black Girl MagicSplit This Rock’s Poem of the Week, and elsewhere. Her critical work recently appeared in African American Review and The Cambridge Companion to Transnational American Literature. Destiny has won the Academy of American Poets Prize, Naugatuck River Review’s 2016 Poetry Contest, and Meridian’s 2017 “Borders” Contest in Poetry. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, Jack Jones Literary Arts, The MacDowell Colony, Pink Door, and The Ragdale Foundation. She earned both her MFA and PhD from Vanderbilt University, where she currently works as a research coordinator. Read more of her work at destinybirdsong.com.

Colette Arrand‘s “When Men Regard My Body”

Tommy Pico: Yes, poems about bad dates. Yes, being more comfortable in words than your own skin. Yes, Galactus. This poem is rangy and flirting with flipness, but is actually deadly serious. How else to deal with being a body constantly on the edge of violence. I love the way the poem takes up space, flings itself wildly outward, and resurfaces in the moment. I love the world of this poem and all the things in its gravitational pull.


Colette Arrand is the author of Hold Me Gorilla Monsoon (OPO Books & Objects 2017) and the co-editor of The Wanderer. She publishes zines, blogs, and produces podcasts under the Fear of a Ghost Planet banner. She can be found on twitter @colettearrand if you’re looking for some bold takes on pro wrestling and Star Trek.

2017 FICTION PRIZE JUDGED BY POROCHISTA KHAKPOUR

Winner: Angie Sijun Lou’s “This is Fine”

Judge, Porochista Khakpour: Angie’s ‘This is Fine’ is one of the most stunningly haunted and haunting stories I’ve ever read. It refused to leave me long after I read it. This is essentially a grandmother story as well as a relationship story, but a story of not just cultures within two cultures but multiple subcultures within those cultures. And Angie does something so so very fresh with this classical story. Much of that has to do with her fearlessness in digging deep into the roughest parts of human nature. Her syntax and diction also mesmerized and nagged and clawed and slimed me, in all the best and most beautiful ways! I love the liberties taken with form here too and how she owns the aesthetic decisions all along the way: I love how it’s unapologetically fragmented, episodic, and lyric; I love how it uses poetic erasure; I love how lists and gmail and all coexist in far more effective ways than what I’ve seen by writers who’ve tried to do this kind of experimental work. Angie’s gifts are many and I can’t wait to read more by her.

A. Light Zachary | “The War”
Amina Gautier | “Hungry, Like the Wolf”
Angie Sijun Lou | “This is Fine”
Chaya Bhuvaneswar | “In The Kitchen”
Christine Kandic Torres | “Junction Boulevard”
H. K. Williams | “Nerves”
Ingrid Jendrzejewski | “Red Shift”
Jean Ho | “Thief”
Jessica Johns | “Good Bones”
Noah Weisz | “How to Juggle”
Oscar Mancinas | “Arizona Boy”
Ploy Pirapokin | “Gems”
Rani Neutill | “do you love me?”
Valorie Ruiz | “Laced up tongues”
Phoebe Glick | “Seeds of Discontent”

Amina Gautier | “Hungry, Like the Wolf”
Angie Sijun Lou | “This is Fine”
Christine Kandic Torres | “Junction Boulevard”
H. K. Williams | “Nerves”
Jean Ho | “Thief”
Jessica Johns | “Good Bones”
Oscar Mancinas | “Arizona Boy”
Ploy Pirapokin | “Gems”
Valorie Ruiz | “Laced up tongues”

2017 NONFICTION PRIZE JUDGED BY ROXANE GAY

Winner: Naima Coster’s “Reorientation”.

Judge, Roxane Gay: Reorientation is a formidable essay about how delicately painful it can be to leave what you know of yourself behind as you reach for something different, and how sometimes, there are repercussions to this leaving that you are too young to fully realize. This is a lovely, lovely essay I won’t soon forget.

Whit Arnold | “Tadpole”
Jennifer Berney | “This is Not a Picture of Me Naked”
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan | “The Cactus Mother”
Chloé Cela | “This Skank Woman”
Caroline Crew | “Vacation”
Sarah Cook | “Silence, or misunderstanding”
Naima Coster | “Reorientation”
oscar d’artois | “‘Why I Am Not A Pornstar”
Alex DiFrancesco | “Home in Three Meals”
Shamala Gallagher | “You Cannot Grow Bored”
Lauren Kirshner | “Strawberry Fields Forever”
Geeta Kothari | “Dreams of Home”
Martina Louis | “How I Became an Amerikèn”
Sarah Maria Medina | “Dove”
Maia Morgan | “A Dozen Tiny Weapons”
Omar Sakr | “Postcards from an Arab Body”
Sarah Sgro | “Night Soil”

Whit Arnold | “Tadpole”
Naima Coster | “Reorientation”
Maia Morgan | “A Dozen Tiny Weapons”
Shamala Gallagher | “You Cannot Grow Bored”
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan | “The Cactus Mother”
Omar Sakr | “Postcards from an Arab Body”

2017 POETRY PRIZE JUDGED BY EILEEN MYLES

Winner: MK Chavez’s “The New White House, Finding Myself Among the Ruins”

Judge, Eileen Myles: I find this poem wryly political. I don’t entirely know which words are nouns and which words are verbs, so its affect is kind of static yet I’m intrigued by its arch and frozen nature and the end is so ghostly and pithy and I think it’s cool.

Andrea Abi-Karam | “COMPLEX DESIRE”
Miriam Borgstrom | “Triptych with Missing Limb”
Liz Bowen | “On Being Milk”
Laura Buccieri | “what does gender got to do with a table”
Sally Burnette | “dyke/bitch notebook”
MK Chavez | “The New White House, Finding Myself Among the Ruins”
Elisa Gonzalez | “Sex in Two Acts”
Stephon Lawrence | “//ghouls in a subway car”
Jamie Mortara | “we are burying the hatchet”
Omotara James | “Three Women / Two Transfers and a Token / One Reincarnation”
RE Katz | “Demimonde”
Béné Kusendila | “Da Capo Al Fine”
Robin Richardson | “THE PENDULUM OF FEMALE SURVIVAL”
Skylar Salvatore | “while you sleep, Idaho”
Angie Sijun Lou | “You keep me up at night”
Talin Tahajian | “No steeple”
Talin Tahajian | “I keep a strange list”

MK Chavez | “The New White House, Finding Myself Among the Ruins”
Omotara James | “Three Women / Two Transfers and a Token / One Reincarnation”
RE Katz | “Demimonde”
Stephon Lawrence | “//ghouls in a subway car”
Robin Richardson | “THE PENDULUM OF FEMALE SURVIVAL”
Skylar Salvatore | “while you sleep, Idaho”
Talin Tahajian | “No steeple”

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2016 FICTION PRIZE JUDGED BY MONA AWAD

Winner: Steph Wong Ken’s “Face

Judge, Mona Awad: A vital and dangerous cautionary tale about beauty, convention and its price. I love how the narrator’s story’s nail-sharp voice navigates such dark and disturbing terrain with humor and grace. It grabbed me from its provocative beginning to its deeply haunting ending.

Leah Bailly | “Paradise, NV”
Bridget Brewer | “Moth”
Naima Coster | “The Spot”
Caroline Crew | “Guldize”
Kristyn Dunnion | “Flat Ass Saturday Night”
Natalie Eilbert | “Malignant”
Sonia Feigelson | “Easy, Exotic”
Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes  |“Two Gallon Heart”
Takemasa Kurita | “Royal Jelly”
Angie Lou | “Jukai”
Benjamin Marshall | “Golden”
Jess Pane | “Oh, How I Want To Go Home”
Matt Phillp | “The Impresario
”Lisa Piazza | “The Beat Between”
Bushra Rehman | “Cherry Tree”
Erin Kate Ryan | Fourth Grade Boyfriend in a Coffee Can
Kristin Vukovic | Barren
Saba Waheed | The Crows

Stephanie Wong Ken | Face

Jenny Xie | Once More, With Feeling

Leah Bailly | Paradise, NV
Angie Lou | Jukai
Naima Coster | The Spot
Lisa Piazza | The Beat Between
Caroline Crew | Guldize
Takemasa Kurita | Royal Jelly
Bushra Rehman | Cherry Tree
Saba Waheed | The Crows
Stephanie Wong Ken | Face
Jenny Xie | Once More, With Feeling

2016 POETRY PRIZE JUDGED BY CLAUDIA RANKINE

Winner: Raena Shirali’s “dayaan summoning magic”

Judge, Claudia Rankine: ‘dayaan summoning magic’ is full of patience with its own unfolding. The poem sees the spectral as contingencies and offers up the conduction if as a way of opening out the metaphor of burning. A very beautiful and moving elegy.

Aziza Barnes, Hannah Beresford, Adebe Derango-Adem, Lisa Hiton, Nicholas Gulig, Victoria Kornick, Kimberly Kotel, Esther Lee, Virginia McLure, Rae Paris, Tommy Pico, Emily Pittinos, Joy Priest, Rebecca Salazar, Chelsey Shannon, Raena Shirali, Halie Theoharides, Maurisa Thompson, Chimwemwe Undi, and Renia White

Hannah Beresford, Lisa Hiton, Victoria Kornick, Esther Lee, Virginia McLure, Rebecca Salazar, Chelsey Shannon, Raena Shirali, Halie Theoharides, and Renia White