Brooklyn Poets Prizes

We award the following prizes: the Denise Bell Award, to the poet with the year’s best Poet of the Week feature including a previously unpublished poem; the Robin Romeo Award (formerly the Yawper of the Year Award), to an outstanding poet in our community who’s a loving supporter of other poets; Yawp Poem of the Month, decided by audience vote at every Yawp; and Yawp Poem of the Year, decided by audience vote at our annual Poem of the Year contest. For more details, visit our Awards Gala page.

2022 Award Winners

Robin Romeo Award: Stella Lee

Denise Bell Award: Gbenga Adesina

Yawp Poem of the Year: Yumiko Gonzalez Rios

Yawp Poem of the Year Runners-Up: Lilly Perry, Madeline Phillips

Poem of the Year Finalists: Bonnie Billet, Morgan Boyle, Sharon DeYoung, Brigidh Duffey, Jessy Edwards, Cassidy Gabriel, Stephanie Niu, Jasmine Pierik, Preeti Shah.

Stella Lee

Stella Lee

Stella Lee is a Puerto Rican mother, wife, teacher, poet and Bedford-Stuyvesant resident. Her work appears in the My New York City volume edited by Amanda Deutch and SM Gray, and the spring 2022 issue of Pleiades, which features a special folio of Latinx LGBTQIA+ poets edited by Ruben Quesada. A winner of Yawp Poem of the Month in November 2020, Lee is a Cave Canem Fellow, a Brooklyn Poets Fellow and a member of the Brooklyn Poets Mentorship Program’s Class of 2023.

Gbenga Adesina

Gbenga Adesina

Winning Poet of the Week feature: “Citizen
Gbenga Adesina is a Nigerian poet and essayist. He received his MFA from New York University, where he was a Goldwater Fellow and was mentored by Yusef Komunyakaa. His chapbook Painter of Water was published as part of the New-Generation African Poets series from Akashic Books, and his poem “Across the Sea: A Sequence” won the 2020 Narrative Prize. Adesina has received fellowships and support from Poets House, New York, the Fine Arts Work Center and the Norman Mailer Center, and he was the 2019–20 Olive B. O’Connor Fellow at Colgate University, where he taught a poetry class called Song of the Human. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Harvard Review, Prairie Schooner, the Poetry Review, Brittle Paper, the Yale Review, the New York Times and elsewhere.

Yumiko Gonzalez Rios

Winning Poem: “Rui Asks How I Feel About the Body as Home and I Give Them Eight Responses”
Yumiko Gonzalez Rios is a person who sometimes does words. She continues to come to the page for the same reason: to process the things she carries. In partnership with Aissa Hussain, she received a grant to pursue a project that marries words with the body to create a performance that will blend movement, poetry, theatre, and installation art. The performance begins from loss—loss as it relates to the people, places, collective histories, memories, possibilities and familiarities that get left behind through death, migration, gentrification and assimilation—but it seeks to tread further and to explore what might emerge, what might be built, even in the wake of that loss.

Lily Perry

Runner-Up Poem: “Ode to Seventh Grade
Lilly Perry is a Brooklyn-based poet and educator. She currently teaches comprehensive sex-ed workshops at middle and high schools across NYC and works with adults as a certified lactation counselor. She also studies English education as a graduate student at Hunter College. Lilly began her poetry career as a spoken-word competitor and has performed on stages across the globe. She created a spoken-word album in 2019 while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa. In 2020, Lilly self-published Anti-Body, her first chapbook. Lilly’s poetry appears in Anti-Heroin Chic, Bluff & Vine, Foundlings Press and elsewhere.

Madeline Phillips

Runner-Up Poem: “The Night My Dog Mazy’s Appetite Came Back
Madeline Phillips is an actress, poet and fine art model who overdresses for every occasion. At Brooklyn Poets, she has won Yawp Poem of the Month twice, and most recently, her poem “The Night My Dog Mazy’s Appetite Came Back” tied for runner-up at the 2022 Yawp Poem of the Year contest. Her work has been published in Battery Journal‘s “Uni-Verse Poetry – Prints – Proofs by Visionary Humans,” the Marymount Review and Poetry Nook and Distance Yearning, an online quaranzine for which she has also guest-edited. She has several Instagram accounts, but maybe start with @reign_of_madeline.

2021 Award Winners

Robin Romeo Award: Angela Lockhart-Aronoff

Yawp Poem of the Year: Josephine Blair Cipriano

Yawp Poem of the Year Runner-Up: Arthur Russell

Poem of the Year Finalists: Preeti Shah, Morgan Boyle, Cassidy Gabriel, Surendriya Rao, Aishvarya Arora, Jae Eason, Tawanda Mulalu, Yana Kane, Todd Friedman, Madeline Phillips.

Angela Lockhart-Aronoff

Angela Lockhart-Aronoff

Angela Lockhart-Aronoff is a poet, performance artist, hand quilter and a social justice advocate who works in government. She started writing on her own at age of eight, continues to journal every morning and has been learning how to write poetry (“properly”) as a member of the Brooklyn Poets community since 2016. Angela’s poems “For Now,” “Raisin” and “No Vacancy” were recently published in “Poetry of the Diaspora” for the fall 2021 issue of Taint Taint Taint Magazine.

Josephine Blair Cipriano

Josephine Blair Cipriano

Winning Poem: “My Best Friend Is Having an Abortion and I Can’t Be There, So I Send Her Flowers”
Josephine Blair Cipriano (she/her) is a 2019 Brooklyn Poets Fellow whose work has been published or is forthcoming in the Rumpus, Copper Nickel, Epiphany, Yes, Poetry and elsewhere. She was shortlisted for the Frontier Magazine 2021 Emerging Poet’s Prize and lives in Tucson, AZ.

Arthur Russell

Arthur Russell

Runner-Up Poem: “Unencumbered”
Arthur Russell is coleader of the Red Wheelbarrow Workshop and an editor of the Red Wheelbarrow Journal in Rutherford, New Jersey. He placed second in the 2022 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize and was a member of the (inaugural) 2021 class of the Brooklyn Poet’s Mentorship Program. His 2018 chapbook Unbent Trumpet (Nutley Arts Press) sold out two printings.

2020 Award Winners

Yawper of the Year: Robin Romeo

Yawp Poem of the Year: Dante Clark

Yawp Poem of the Year Runner-Up: Joanne Mosuela

Poem of the Year Finalists: Jae Eason, Phil Eggers, Jordan Franklin, Chanice Hughes-Greenberg, Taonga Leslie, Robin Romeo, Preeti Shah, Lora Rene Tucker, renee kay, Stella Lee.

Robin Romeo, Yawper of the Year 2021

Robin Romeo

Robin Romeo calls Harlem home. He earned a BA from Vermont College, where he studied literature and creative writing. His poems are forthcoming in the Caribbean Writer and Curlew Quarterly. He was awarded a 2020 Brooklyn Poets Fellowship.

Dante Clark

Winning Poem: “Broken Pantoum for a Poem Called Bang”
Dante Clark is a poet, musician, actor and essayist from the Bronx, NY. His work has been published or is forthcoming in the Root, Afropunk, wildness and elsewhere. A graduate of Hunter College with a BA in creative writing, Clark has performed and won poetry slams at the Nuyorican Poets Café and the Bowery Poetry Club. He has also received support from organizations including Catapult and Cave Canem. He was awarded a 2020 Brooklyn Poets Fellowship.

Joanne Mosuela

Runner-Up Poem: “Do You Actually Taste Sweetness in Your Dream Like You Do in Your Mouth
Joanne Mosuela was born in Washington, DC, and raised in Virginia. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Area Program in Poetry Writing and studied computer science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. As a software engineer, she has worked in big data and led programs for Girls Who Code NYC, whose mission is to close the gender gap in tech. Her poetry is forthcoming in the inaugural issue of HERE.

2019 Award Winners

Yawper of the Year: Julia Knobloch

Yawp Poem of the Year: Kyle Seamus Brosnihan, Constantine Jones

Yawp Poem of the Year Runner-Up: Marshall “Gripp” Gillson

Poem of the Year Finalists: Azira Azizuddin-McCloud, Josephine Blair, Kim Brandon, Hannah Donovan, Rachel Goldberg, Beatriz Kaye, Alex Sarrigeorgiou, Mary Sun, Shane Wagner


Julia Knobloch

Julia Knobloch was born and raised in Germany and has lived in France, Portugal and Argentina. She is a former documentary filmmaker, a member of the Sweet Action poetry collective and the recipient of a 2017 Brooklyn Poets Fellowship and the 2016 Brooklyn Poets Yawp Poem of the Year award. Her debut collection Do Not Return was published in 2019 by Broadstone Books.

Kyle Seamus Brosnihan

Winning Poem: “Martha
Kyle Seamus Brosnihan is a poet from Lincoln, Nebraska. He graduated in 2016 with a BA in English. His poetry has been published in Empty House Press, Boston Accent Lit and Always Crashing. He is also a playwright and his first play will be produced at the Tank Theater in Manhattan in February 2020.

Constantine Jones

Winning Poem: “Crossroad Blues / O, Deth (Reprise)”
Constantine Jones is a queer Greek-American thingmaker raised in Tennessee and currently housed in Brooklyn. They teach creative writing at the City College of New York, where they earned an MFA. Their work has found homes in the PEN Poetry Series, Blood Tree, Stone Pacific, Hematopoiesis and Fugue, and has been displayed or performed at various venues across the city.

Marshall “Gripp” Gillson

Runner-Up Poem: “Black Boy Climbs into the Gorilla Cage to Ask for Advice
Marshall “Gripp” Gillson is a genderfluid/nonbinary writer and technocreative based in New York City. Gillson graduated from Morehouse College and the Georgia Institute of Technology and is currently an MFA candidate and Turner Fellow at Stony Brook University. Their work is multimedia and interdisciplinary, ranging from written word to performance art to electronic installation. They have appeared onstage as an actor and a poet, self-published and been printed in literary magazines, built digital chapbooks and Twitter bots, taught college courses and workshops, and have written, produced and appeared in short films. Much of their work is fantastical, surreal and absurdist. It confronts race, gender, mental imbalance, loneliness, existential dread and sometimes robots. In their spare time, they enjoy board games, avoiding attention, and writing biographies in the third person.

2018 Award Winners

Yawper of the Year: Bill Livingston

Yawp Poem of the Year: Laura Murphy, Emily Wilkinson

Yawp Poem of the Year Runner-Up: Starr Davis

Poem of the Year Finalists: Annie Virginia, Judy Schneier, Karl Iglesias, Emma Rojas, George Brocklehurst, Arthur Russell, Julia Knobloch, Nikki Ritchie, Keith Woodrow


Bill Livingston

Originally from Altoona, PA, Bill Livingston is a poet, photographer and advertising copywriter who has been published in the Literary Hatchet, Loch Raven Review, Danse Macabre, TreeHouse, Flipside, Radius: Poetry From the Center to the Edge and the Brooklyn Poets Anthology. He is a supporting member of the Poetry Project and an original member of Brooklyn Poets and Bowery Arts + Science. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife and twin daughters.

Laura Murphy

Winning Poem: “La Flâneuse”
Although Laura Murphy is a lifelong poet, she just started sharing her work this year. It has been magical, mostly because of all the wonderful people/poets she’s met along the way. Laura is also an editor and journalist at Consumer Reports, where she likes to write about the things people use every day.

Emily Wilkinson

Winning Poem: “To My Daughter with Xia-Gibbs Syndrome, Aged Six”
Emily is a poet, mother, psychologist, and president and cofounder of the Xia-Gibbs Society. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, she has lived in London and Brooklyn and has recently returned to her hometown in Australia. She is a graduate of La Trobe University, where she studied psychology, English literature and creative writing. Since 2016 she has regularly attended workshops through Brooklyn Poets and read at the Brooklyn Poets Yawp. She has had her work featured as Poem of the Day on the Bridge, and in 2018 she read at the New York City Poetry Festival with the Sweet Action Poetry Collective.

Starr Davis

Runner-Up Poem: “Hoarder
Starr Davis is a writer and poet. Her works of poetry and creative nonfiction have been published in several literary magazines including the Rumpus, Rigorous and Cosmonauts Avenue. Her debut short story recently appeared in Transition, a publication of the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Davis received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and creative writing from the University of Akron and her MFA in poetry from the City College of New York. She lives in the Bronx.

2017 Award Winners

Yawper of the Year: Emily Blair

Yawp Poem of the Year: Shara Hardeson

Yawp Poem of the Year Runners-Up: Rand Faris, Cindy Tran

Poem of the Year Finalists: Sarah Passino, Julia Lynn Mesler, Yun Wei, KelleyGuinn McArtor, Kiran Bath, Diannely Antigua, Tess Congo, Lauren McGrath, Sharlene Guerna


Emily Blair

Emily Blair’s poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in cream city review, Indiana Review, Juked, New Ohio Review, Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast and the Brooklyn Poets Anthology, among other places. She received a New York Foundation of the Arts fellowship in poetry in 2014 and in fiction in 2006 and is a member of the Sweet Action poetry collective. Also a visual artist, she creates multimedia books and collaborates with social practice artist Michelle Illuminato as Next Question.

Shara Hardeson

Winning Poem: “Dear Rabbit”
Shara Hardeson is a queer poet, copy editor and book reviewer. Her first published poetry appears in Newtown Literary, and her many book reviews can be found in the the Horn Book. She holds an MA in children’s literature and an MFA in writing for children from Simmons College. She is a member of the Sweet Action poetry collective.

Rand Feris

Runner-Up Poem: “Where I’m From
Rand Faris is a poet and aspiring actress from Jordan/Palestine. She moved to Brooklyn upon completing her studies in drama and psychology in London two years ago. Among her other artistic pursuits, Faris enjoys filmmaking and is getting interested in music.

Cindy Tran

Runner-Up Poem: “True American Sentences”
Cindy Tran holds a degree in English literature from UCLA. In 2015, she received a Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship from the Loft Literary Center, and in the spring of 2017 she was named a Brooklyn Poets Fellow for study in Joshua Mehigan’s Sonnet workshop. In her free time, Cindy writes Yelp reviews, hoping that someone will search for a tasty pork sandwich in Manhattan and find her poem about sandwiches and racism.

2016 Award Winners

Yawper of the Year: Arthur Russell

Yawp Poem of the Year: Julia Knobloch

Yawp Poem of the Year Finalists: Bill Livingston, Chris Roberts, Dell Lemmon, Connor Crawford, Robert Gibbons, Emily Blair, Jonathan Clarence, Thomas Fucaloro, Isabel Marcus, Tamara Lee


Arthur Russell

Arthur Russell, who never had any poem published anywhere since his high school yearbook, had eight poems published or accepted for publication in 2016 at Yellow Chair Review, Prelude, Wilderness House Literary Review, Shot Glass Journal #20, Paterson Literary Review, the Red Wheelbarrow #9 and the forthcoming Brooklyn Poets Anthology.


Julia Knobloch

Winning Poem: “Daylight Saving Time”
Julia Knobloch is a journalist and translator turned project manager and executive assistant. Before coming to New York, she worked 10+ years as a writer and producer for TV documentaries and radio features. Her essays and reportage have appeared in print and online publications in Germany, Argentina and the US (openDemocracy, the Brooklyn Rail, Reality Sandwich). She occasionally blogs for

2015 Award Winners

Yawper of the Year: Julie Hart

Yawp Poem of the Year: Arthur Russell

Yawp Poem of the Year Finalists: Richard Fein, Nicole Cygielman, Ed Toney, Emily Blair, Timothy Wojcik, Mirielle Clifford, Tracy May Fuad, Lars Miller, Laura Plaster, Jonathan Clarence, Sam Coggin.


Julie Hart

Originally from Minnesota, Julie Hart has lived in London, Zurich and Tokyo and now in Brooklyn Heights. Her work can be found in Five Quarterly, Denim Skin, PANK Magazine, The Rumpus, Vol. 1 Brooklyn and Floor Plan Journal.


Arthur Russell

Winning Poem: “The Whales Off Manhattan Beach Breaching in Winter”
Arthur Russell is a 59-year-old man who, as far as his mother is concerned, eats too fast, talks too quietly and is far too sensitive. There was a famous avant garde cello player with the same name of approximately the same age, who lived in the same apartment building as Allen Ginsberg on the Lower East Side, and died of AIDS in and around 1992. This is not that guy, although when that Arthur Russell died, his credit card company placed a lot of calls to this Arthur Russell, dunning him for payment. This Arthur Russell works as a lawyer, but his real skills are fixing toilets and apologizing for things he didn’t do.

2014 Award Winner

Yawper of the Year: Ricardo Hernandez


Ricardo Hernandez

Ricardo Thomas Manuel Hernandez is a poet and spoken word artist from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He began performing throughout the New York City poetry scene in September 2012. Since then he has featured at Tom Kane’s Boulevard Bards, Saturn Poetry Series, Word at 4F, Ken Siegelman’s Brooklyn Poetry Outreach, The Nuyorican Poets Café and HOW TO BUILD A FIRE: A Brooklyn Storytelling Series, and starred as Allen Ginsberg in Brooklyn Gypsies’ Ghetto Hors D’oeuvres: Last Night of the Palladium.