Announcing The Adroit Journal’s 2019 Djanikian Scholars!

In honor of the contributions renowned poet Gregory Djanikian (b. 1949) has made to the field and study of literature, The Adroit Journal is proud to announce the second-ever class of Gregory Djanikian Scholars in Poetry—six exciting, emerging poets we should all be watching. All emerging poets who have not published full-length collections were eligible for submission—regardless of age, geographic location, and educational status.

Selected from a competitive pool of international applicants, Djanikian Scholars will receive cash prizes and publication. A complete list of this year’s winners, finalists, and semifinalists is available online:

The 2019 class of Gregory Djanikian Scholars in Poetry includes Gabrielle Bates (of Seattle, WA), Bernard Ferguson (of Brooklyn, NY), Aidan Forster (of Greenville, SC), Dan Kraines (of Brooklyn, NY), Alycia Pirmohamed (of Edinburgh, Scotland), and Leslie Sainz (of Lewisburg, PA). More information about each scholar is available below.

We couldn’t be more excited about each unique, vibrant voice we’re fortunate enough to recognize this year. Each of these writers brings an undeniable fire to the page, and we can’t wait to see what they’ll write next.

Finalists for 2019 Djanikian Scholar recognition include Hannah Perrin King (of Brooklyn, NY), T. J. McLemore (of Boulder, CO), Chad Morgan (of Chicago, IL), and Avia Tadmor (of New York, NY). Finalists will each receive Djanikian’s latest collection, as well as publication.

Semifinalists include Threa Almontaser (of Raleigh, NC), Antonio de Jesús López (of East Palo Alto, CA), Kathryn Hargett (of Birmingham, AL), Kaja Rae Lucas (of Laurel, MD), John Paul Martinez (of Madison, WI), Evan McGarvey (of Dallas, TX), Megan Denton Ray (of Chattanooga, TN), Lauren Schlesinger (of Oak Park, IL), Seth Simons (of Walnut Creek, CA), Jess Smith (of Lubbock, TX), and Rushi Vyas (of Brooklyn, NY).

About the 2019 Djanikian Scholars

Gabrielle Bates works for Open Books: A Poem Emporium, co-hosts The Poet Salon podcast, and helps edit the Seattle Review, Poetry Northwest, Broadsided Press, and Bull City Press. Her poems and poetry comics appear in the New Yorker, Poetry, New England Review, and Gulf Coast, among other journals. She is originally from Birmingham, Alabama. Vidsit her online at, or on Twitter @GabrielleBates.

Bernard Ferguson is a Bahamian poet living in New York. He is currently pursuing his MFA at New York University, where he is a Writers in the Schools fellow. He is an Assistant Editor at Washington Square Review, a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and has had work published in or forthcoming from Winter Tangerine, Raleigh Review, Nashville Review, and Best New Poets 2017, among others.

Aidan Forster is a queer poet from Greenville, South Carolina. A 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, he has been honored by the National YoungArts Foundation, the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the Poetry Society of America, and the Poetry Society of the United Kingdom, among others. His work appears in the Adroit Journal, Best New Poets 2017, Columbia Poetry Review, Ninth Letter, and Tin House, among others. His debut chapbook of poems, Exit Pastoral, is forthcoming from YesYes Books, and his debut chapbook of prose, Wrong June, is forthcoming from Honeysuckle Press. He studies Literary Arts and Public Health at Brown University.

Dan Kraines is a queer, Jewish writer, whose poems have appeared in the Normal School, the Carolina Quarterly, and the Adroit Journal, among other publications. Time to write has been afforded to him by fellowships from New York University’s Center for Experimental Humanities, Boston University’s Program in Creative Writing, the New York State Summer Writers Institute, and the Betsy Writers Room in Miami. Currently, he is completing his dissertation, for a PhD, about metaphor in the work of four queer poets. He teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Alycia Pirmohamed is a Canadian-born poet living in Scotland. She received an MFA from the University of Oregon and is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, where she is studying poetry written by second-generation immigrant authors. Her work has recently appeared in, or is forthcoming from, Prairie Schooner, the Fiddlehead, the London Magazine, Room Magazine, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and others. Alycia is the author of the chapbook Faces that Fled the Wind (forthcoming, BOAAT Press) and the winner of the 2018 Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest in Poetry. She currently reads for Tinderbox Poetry Journal.

Leslie Sainz is a first-generation Cuban-American, born and raised in Miami, Florida. A CantoMundo Fellow, she received her MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was the editor-in-chief of Devil’s Lake. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Narrative, Black Warrior Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Ninth Letter, the Journal, the Florida Review, and others. She was the Fall 2017 Writer-in-Residence at the Hub City Writers Project, and is a 2018-2019 Stadler Fellow at Bucknell University.

About The Adroit Journal

At its foundation, The Adroit Journal has its eyes focused ahead, seeking to showcase what its global staff of writers sees as the future of poetry, prose, and art. The journal hosts the annual Adroit Prizes for Poetry and Prose, the Gregory Djanikian Scholars Program, and the free Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program.

Featured in Best American Poetry, Pushcart Prizes: Best of the Small Presses, Poetry Daily, Best of the Net, and Best New Poets, and by the New York Times, the Paris Review, Teen Vogue, PBS, and NPR, the journal has featured the voices of Terrance Hayes, Franny Choi, D. A. Powell, Alex Dimitrov, Lydia Millet, NoViolet Bulawayo, Ocean Vuong, Ned Vizzini, Fatimah Asghar, Danez Smith, and beyond.

For more, visit,, or Please direct any questions or requests to

Peter LaBerge

Peter LaBerge founded The Adroit Journal in 2010, as a high school sophomore. His work appears in Crazyhorse, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review Online, Pleiades, and Tin House, among others. He is the recipient of a 2020 Pushcart Prize.

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