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Unterberg Poetry Center

The Joan Leiman Jacobson Poetry Prizes

For over 60 years, 92Y’s Discovery Contest has launched the careers of major poets like John Ashbery, Lucille Clifton, Mark Strand, Mary Jo Bang and Solmaz Sharif, to name but a few.

The winners of this year’s contest are Alfredo Aguilar, Bernard Ferguson, Omotara James and Alycia Pirmohamed. Each one receives a reading at 92Y, publication in The Paris Review Daily, a two-night stay at the Ace Hotel and $500.

The runners-ups are Mia Kang, Henry Mills and Jasmine Reid.

This year’s preliminary judges were Timothy Donnelly and Mai Der Vang. Daniel Borzutzky, Randall Mann and Patricia Smith served as final judges.

This contest is endowed by Joan L. and Dr. Julius H. Jacobson, II.


Alfredo Aguilar

Alfredo Aguilar is the son of Mexican immigrants. He is the author of the chapbook What Happens on Earth

Bernard Ferguson

Bernard Ferguson is a Bahamian immigrant poet, an MFA candidate at NYU, a Writers in the Public Schools fellow and an Assistant Editor at Washington Square Review

Omotara James

Omotara James is the author of the chapbook Daughter Tongue, selected by African Poetry Book Fund for the 2018 New Generation African Poets Box Set …

Alycia Pirmohamed

Alycia Pirmohamed is a Canadian-born poet living in Scotland, where she is completing a PhD at the University of Edinburgh …

Preliminary Judges

Timothy Donnelly

Timothy Donnelly is the author of Twenty-seven Props for a Production of Eine Lebenszeit and The Cloud Corporation, for which he won the 2012 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award …

Mai Der Vang

Mai Der Vang is the author of Afterland, for which she won the 2016 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, …

Final Judges

Daniel Borzutzky

Daniel Borzutzky is the author of Lake Michigan and The Performance of Becoming Human, for which he won the 2016 National Book Award for Poetry …

Randall Mann

Randall Mann is the author of Complaint in the Garden, for which he won the Kenyon Review Prize in Poetry; …

Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith is the author of eight books of poetry, including Incendiary Art, for which she won the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, …


Faith Arkorful
Chelsea B. DesAutels
Jean Balderston
Adam Bangser
Lesya Bazylewicz
Jeanette Beebe
Heather Bourbeau
Kinsey Cantrell
Holli Carrell
William Leo Coakley
Caitlin Cowan
Ann DeVilbiss
Ruth Dickey
Richard Downing
Asa Drake
Joe Gutierrez
W.J. Herbert
Jose Hernandez Diaz
Jordan Hewson
Paul Ceballos Hlava
Darrel Alejandro Holnes
Christopher Janigian
Robert Julius
Trevor Ketner
Michael Lee
Esther Lin
Lucia LoTempio
Mark Mazzoli
Marcus Myers
C. L. O'Dell
Nathan Osorio
Oscar Oswald
Allyson Paty
Laura Paul Watson
Richard Quigley
Rob Shapiro
D. M. Spratley
Taylor Supplee
Jeannette Vautier
Nick Visconti
Ralf Webb
Jihyun Yun
Kelleen Zubick