Contest Results for the 2021 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize

Our judges displayed exquisite taste, selecting the distinguished three winners and nine finalists from a pool of over 1800 poems submitted. It was not an easy task. All poems were anonymized before reading. The readers and judges had no idea whose poem they were reading, where they came from or even what gender they embraced. It is very freeing to read with no preconceived notion as to the identity of the poet.

From the original 1800+ poems, our readers selected 86 to advance to the final round of judging. Quite a feat! Out of those, our final judges each selected 3 finalists and 1 winner, for a total of three winners and nine finalists, all of whom are listed below, with the 12 winning and finalists poems to be published over the next 12 days on Cultural Daily. Again, no small task; there were SO many wonderful poems submitted, the choices were not easy.

Here are the winners and finalists for the Jack Grapes Poetry Prize, 2021:

Winner & 3 Finalists Chosen By Judge Clare MacQueen:

WINNER: “Mourning Jewelry (San Francisco, February 2021)” – Rebekah Wolman


“Self-Portrait as Wine Glass” – Angele Ellis

“Duck” – Jen Karetnick

“LDR” – Jennie Miller

Winner & 3 Finalists Chosen By Judge Mariano Zaro:

WINNER: “In the Room Next Door How Many People Have Died” – Sean Thomas Dougherty


“Uprooted” – Trish Hopkinson

“Elsewhere Meanwhile” – Laurinda Lind

“The Ropes” – Michele Herman

Winner & 3 Finalists Chosen By Judge Alexis Rhone Fancher:

WINNER: “No Longer July” – John Amen


“Leap of Faith” – Beth Copeland

“There Will Be Birds” – Susan Jewell

“You Should Probably Date Me” – Matthew DeGroat

And this is a list of semi-finalists:

Rasha Abdulhadi
Jeff William Acosta
Marissa Ahmadkhani
Chukwuebuka Alu
Owen Auman
Erica Bernheim
Onastasia Beshara
Marisela Brazfield
David Capps
Laton Carter
Martin Cossio
Judy Crowe
Bill Cushing
Colin Dardis
Steve Denehan
Obed Ebenezer
Joshua Effiong
David Egede
Michael Emmanuel
Jesse Fleming
Jean Golden
Gael Granados
Brynesha Griffin-Bey
Manar Haseeb
sheldon Herman
Beatrice Hussain
Obasiota Ibe
David Icenogle
Wendy Ingersoll
Luke Johnson
Soon Jones
Judy Kaber
Flyn Kerr-Munley
Yessica Klein
Don Krieger
Aondosoo Labe
Norma Laughter
Helene Lois
Burtola Longchar
Zachary Lussier
Katie Manning
Jeremy Martin
Abuchi Modilim
Joanne Monte
Maggie Morris
Lisa Mullenneaux
Erin Murphy
Natasha Moses Mwampashe
Akinola Olupayimo
Mayowa Oyewale
Mandira Pattnaik
rob plath
Vanessa Poster
Jessica Purdy
Bill Rector
Ana Reisens
Alun Robert
Natasha Saje
Simran Singh Rathi
Lanette Sweeney
Marianne Szlyk
Kelly Grace Thomas
Sarah Totton
Emma Trelles
Sherre Vernon
Sean Winn

I hope you enjoy these winning poems as much as we did. And don’t forget to enter next year’s contest! The 10th Annual Jack Grapes Poetry Prize opens for submissions on July 1st, 2022. Mark your calendar! Send us your very best!

Alexis Rhone Fancher
Poetry Editor, Cultural Daily


Photo credit: Alexis Rhone Fancher

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