2022 Emerging Poet Prize: Winners & Finalists


We are delighted to share the winners, finalists, and longlist for the 2022 Emerging Poet Prize! Please help us congratulate these up and coming poets. Deep gratitude to all who shared moving poems with us—we are so lucky to have been immersed in the worlds of your work. The winning poems were selected by Safia Elhillo and will be published next week. 

Winners of the 2022 Emerging Poet Prize

1st place — Grace MacNair for “Theodicy”

Grace MacNair is a poet and healthcare professional living in Brooklyn, NY. She has received support from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference, Brooklyn Poets, Hunter College, and Monson Arts Residency and Fellowship. She was selected by Yona Harvey as the winner of Radar Poetry’s 2021 Coniston Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Threepenny Review, Radar Poetry, Palette Poetry, and elsewhere.

2nd place — Liala Zaray for “CNN’s correspondent thinks afghani means Afghan”

Liala Zaray is a Pushcart prize nominated MFA candidate at St. Mary’s College. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in Tinderbox, Smartish Pace, Orion & The Journal. You can find her on Twitter through the username @liala_af.

3rd place — Gabriel Cortez for “I just wanted to see what it would do when I say—”

Gabriel Cortez is a Black biracial poet, educator, and organizer of Panamanian descent. His work has appeared in the New York Times, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Rumpus, and The Breakbeat Poets Anthology Volume 4. He is a VONA fellow, #BARS workshop alum, NALAC grant recipient, and winner of the Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize. Gabriel is a member of the artist collective Ghostlines, and co-founder of The Root Slam, an award-winning poetry venue dedicated to inclusivity, justice, and artistic growth, as well as Write Home, a project working to challenge public perceptions of houselessness and shift critical resources to houseless Bay Area youth through spoken word poetry. Gabriel works as Director of Programs at Youth Speaks, one of the world’s leading presenters of spoken word performance, education, and youth development programs.


Arwa Alsamarae

Nina Boals

Micah Dela Cueva

Monica Romo

Noel Quiñones

Sara Rivera

Winniebell Xinyu Zong



Rabih Ahmed

Melissa Anderson

Gauri Awasthi

Rachel Betesh

Alecia Beymer

Claire Champommier

Zachariah Claypole White

Autumn Cooper

Imani Davis

Lexi De Primo

Rebecca Faulkner

Julie Feng

Natalia Figueroa Barroso

Amber Flame

Frida Garcia-Berriochoa

Jeanne Genis

Courtney Huse Wika

Obasiota Ibe

Gabriela Igloria

Elizabeth Johnston Ambrose

Laura Joyce-Hubbard

Megan KIco Kellner

Molly Lanzarotta

Ibe Liebenberg

Maja Lukic

Laila Malik

Carling McManus

Aparna Mitra

Kimberly Nguyen

kiki nicole

Theta Pavis

Carlos A. Pittella

McKenna Ritter

Salwa Sadek

Rome Smaoui

Eden Julia Sugay

D’Mani Thomas

Othuke Umukoro

Sarah  Warren

Jamie  Wendt

Samuel Wood