Announcing The Adroit Journal’s 2021 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 fourth 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 receive stipends and publication. The 2021 class of Gregory Djanikian Scholars in Poetry includes Jari Bradley (of Madison, WI), Donte Collins (of Minneapolis, MN), Jane Huffman (of Iowa City, IA), L. A. Johnson (of Santa Monica, CA), Natasha Rao (of Brooklyn, NY), and Brandon Thurman (of Fayetteville, AR). 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 the 2020 Djanikian Scholars class include JD Debris (of Jersey City, NJ), Jai Hamid Bashir (of Salt Lake City, UT), Ghinwa Jawhari (of Brooklyn, NY), Jacob Lindberg (of Victoria, MN), Hannah Perrin King (of Cool, CA), and Rob Shapiro (of New York, NY). Finalists will each receive Djanikian’s latest collection, as well as publication.

Semifinalists include Kemi Alabi (of Chicago, IL), Austin Araujo (of Bloomington, IN), S. Erin Batiste (of Brooklyn, NY), Armen Davoudian (of Stanford, CA), Victoria Flanagan (of Madison, WI), Sam Herschel Wein (of Chicago, IL), Karisma Price (of New Orleans, LA), Gaia Rajan (of Andover, MA), Daniel Schonning (of Fort Collins, CO), Courtney Faye Taylor (of Kansas City, MO), Joshua Tvrdy (of Raleigh, NC), and Lydia Wei (of North Potomac, MD).


Jari Bradley (they/them) is a Black genderqueer poet and scholar from San Francisco, California. They have received fellowships and support from Callaloo, Cave Canem, Tin House, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. Jari’s work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been published/forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Blood Orange Review (selected by judge Nikky Finney), The Offing, Academy of American Poets (Poem-A-Day) , Callaloo, Columbia Journal, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. Jari Bradley (MFA, University of Pittsburgh) is the current 2020–2021 First Wave Poetry Fellow at UW–Madison.

Donte Collins is held. Black. Adopted. Queer. A surrealist blues poet haunted by the 1960’s Black Arts Movement. Named the inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of Saint Paul, Minnesota, they are the 2018 McKnight Artist Fellowship recipient for Spoken Word administered by the Loft Literary Center and winner of the Most Promising Young Poet Award from the Academy of American Poets. They are the author of “Autopsy” (Button Poetry, 2017), a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. Collins is the recipient of the 2016 Mitchell Prize in Poetry from Augsburg University and is currently the program director of Black Table Arts, a community-driven arts cooperative located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, gathering Black communities through the arts toward better Black futures.

Jane Huffman‘s poems have appeared in POETRY, The New Yorker, The Kenyon Review, Annulet, and elsewhere, and she was a 2019 recipient of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Jane is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently works for the Iowa Youth Writing Project. She is founder and editor-in-chief of Guesthouse (, an online literary journal.

L. A. Johnson is from California. She is the author of the chapbook Little Climates (Bull City Press, 2017). She is currently pursuing her PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Southern California, where she is a Provost’s Fellow. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Best New Poets, Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, ZYZZYVA, and other journals. Find her online at

Natasha Rao is the author of Latitude, which won the APR/Honickman First Book Prize and is forthcoming in September 2021. She holds a BA from Brown University and an MFA from NYU, where she was a Goldwater Fellow. She has received support from Bread Loaf, the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, and the Vermont Studio Center. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, The Nation, The Yale Review, Poetry Northwest, and elsewhere. She is currently an editor of American Chordata and lives in Brooklyn.

Brandon Thurman is the author of the chapbook Strange Flesh (Quarterly West, 2018). His poetry can be found in Beloit Poetry Journal, Shenandoah, Nashville Review, Sixth Finch, and others. He lives in the Arkansas Ozarks with his husband and son. You can find him online at or on Twitter @bthurman87.


The editors of The Adroit Journal are thrilled to welcome you to a reading celebrating our 2021 Djanikian Scholars and the release of our thirty-seventh issue! Featured contributors include Matthew Baker, Jari Bradley, Donte Collins, Jane Huffman, L. A. Johnson, Matthew Olzmann, Janika Oza, Natasha Rao, and Brandon Thurman. The reading will be hosted via Zoom at 8pm ET on Tuesday, April 27th.

All reading proceeds will go directly to supporting the incredible and deeply impactful work that RAINN is doing to support survivors. RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice. You can learn more about RAINN by visiting

Click here for more information, and to RSVP for the reading.


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 online 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 NewsHour, and NPR, the journal has featured the voices of Terrance Hayes, Arthur Sze, Joanna Klink, D. A. Powell, Edith Pearlman, Jericho Brown, Kim Addonizio, Raymond Antrobus, Victoria Chang, Eve L. Ewing, Lydia Millet, NoViolet Bulawayo, Ocean Vuong, Ned Vizzini, Fatimah Asghar, Danez Smith, and beyond.


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.