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Dark Poetry Contest 2023

About the Judge: Samuel Patrick Ava Robertson is a young trans male who is twenty two years old and lives in Edinburgh. He was born in the chilly borderlands of East Scotland and is currently pursuing a degree in English literature while also working as a Young Person, Homeless Support Worker. He also currently edits fiction and literature for the publishing company "Wingless Dreamer" in part time as Senior Editor. In literary publications like EVE, YUVAAH and WA's First International Issue, and many more, he has previously had work published. He hopes to publish his own poetry collection someday, making it accessible to readers and other aspiring LGBTQIA+ poets.

Growth in Grief Winner Announcement in 3, 2, and 1…

The grand champion of the ‘Growth in Grief’ Poetry Contest 2023 is…

Yariel Luna – Brutus

Alec Luna is a BIPOC Poet currently based in Milford CT. His works have been have been well-received by readers all across the world.

The first runner-up is:

Sarkis Antonyan – ‘Father Gone’

Sarkis Antonyan is an eighteen-year-old poet and artist from Los Angeles, California. His work has appeared in Peach Magazine, Olit, Revolute, H-pem, Prometheus Dreaming, Pollux Journal, and elsewhere. An alumna of the Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program and a poetry reader at The Adroit Journal, he spends his time admiring the color yellow, brewing peach tea, and knitting.

The second runner-up is:

Alex Phuong – ‘Precious Silver Lining’

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University—Los Angeles in 2015. He was a former Statement Magazine editor who currently writes about literature, film, and culture. He also earned an Associate of Arts in English from Pasadena City College in 2013 and tutored there. He has written hundreds of film reviews for MovieBoozer, and has contributed articles to Mindfray.

His writing has appeared in The Bookends Review and The Society of Classical Poets. Emma Stone inspired Alex to submit writing actively to publications after hearing the Oscar-nominated song, “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from the “Best Picture” nominee La La Land (2016).

His poetry collection is An Altruistic (, 2020). Currently residing in Alhambra, California, he now writes with the sincerest hope of inspiring readers while fully supporting the ones who dare to pursue their dreams. The link to his blog is

And of course, not to forget our lovely Finalists –

Mario Jañez – ‘Chasing the Urn of The Sun’

Psychology student in England of 19-years of age, with an inspiration on writing poetry and fiction concerned with the themes of horror, speculative fantasy, mystery, and thrillers. Concerned with portraying emotion in my work, through words. This varies from grief and pain to euphoria and anger. This poem is about the death of my late grandma and how despite sadness she would have wanted me to keep going.

Contact info:


Instragram: mariojanex

Darren Stein – ‘Visiting the Cemetry’

Darren Stein is an Australian poet who teaches English and the vicissitudes of life at a public high school on Sydney’s north shore. He has published three books, the most recent titled “Stop all the clocks”, along with “Storage Space” and “The Nut House Poems.” His wife, Rikki, recently passed away from an incurable illness called Multiple Systems Atrophy. He has two children.

Samuel Cole – ‘Final Chore’

Samuel E. Cole lives in Woodbury, MN. He is a flash fiction enthusiast, a political junkie, and poet. His work has appeared in myriad literary magazines and journals, and he has had five books published: two poetry collections and three short story collections.

Alec Luna – ‘Brutus’

Alec Luna is a BIPOC Poet currently based in Milford CT. His works have been well-received by readers across the world.

Marla Vivoda – ‘The Hanging Tree’

Marla Vivoda teaches at Pikes Peak State College and Pueblo Community College. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts at Colorado State University-Ft. Collins. Ms. V. has one nonfiction book, no longer in print: Get Money, Get Real and poems in various publications, some: Tempered Steel, Dos Gatos Press, and Wingless Dreamer.

Kanishka Kataria – ‘The System’

Kanishka Kataria (She/Her) is a girl of vision and power who possesses the immense strength to transform the world with her articulation. Grown and brought up in New Delhi, India, she is a writer and orator who strives to drive the world toward exhilaration and liberty. She is recognized by 30+ organizations for her work in literature, social issues, and scientific research. She brings the best of herself and holds faith in the universe to render back the vibrations of concern and appreciation.

Bryan Andrew Nguyen – ‘Graverobber’

Bryan Andrew Nguyen is a recovering survivor of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He is based in Jersey City, New Jersey, and his work also appears in Mistake House. When he’s not writing, he enjoys the quiet comforts of his friends and the warmth of still existing.

J Sweeting – ‘The Chasm of Grief’

J. M. Sweeting is a Colorado native, a preschool teacher, and printmaker. She has a deep love for writing, reading multiple books at a time, venturing into the Rockies, and finding beauty in the small things.

Instagram: @j.m.sweeting

Rodney Francisco – ‘Archipelago’

Rod is a writer from sub-tropical Central Queensland who has an avid collection of folders and journals filled with half-finished works, concepts, and ideas. Writing for personal enjoyment and reflection than anything else, Rod has engaged in a range of different styles in poetry, short stories, and scripts; some of which have been longlisted, shortlisted, and published. In 2022, Rod had short stories shortlisted for the Evesham Festival of Words [UK] and the Fellowship of Australian Writers Queensland Maureen Freer Literary prize. Additionally, he has had over a dozen poems shortlisted and published, including two works in the Western Australia Poets Inc 2022 Poetry d’Amour Love Poetry Anthology and one piece in the Fellowship of Australian Writers New South Wales Jean Stone Award. He has multiple poems published with Wingless Dreamer across an array of themes.

Adesiyan Oluwapelum – ‘A Space for Void’

Adesiyan Oluwapelumi, TPC XI, is the winner of the Cheshire White Ribbon Day Creative Competition, an Honorable Mention recipient in the Coexist Lit International Metamorphosis Writing Contest and a finalist in the WeNaija Literary Contest. He writes to explore the intersectionality between memory, language, identity, religion and selfhood. Some of his works are published/forthcoming in Poetry Wales, IHRAF, Kissing Dynamite, IceFloe Press, Eunoia Review, African Writer Magazine, Brittle Paper, Lumiere Review among many other publications and anthologies. He reads poetry for the Five South and the Kitchen Table Quarterly. He stans Timi Sanni & tweets @ademindpoems.

Erika B. Girard – ‘Losing a Pinky Toe’

Erika B. Girard is currently pursuing her M.A. in English and Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry through SNHU. Originally from Rhode Island, she derives creative inspiration from her family, friends, faith, and fascination with human experience. She is a proofreader for Wild Roof Journal, an online literary journal with issues published bimonthly. Her own creative work appears or is forthcoming in The Alembic, Iris Literary Journal, Untenured, Viewless Wings, and more.

Alyssa Ray – ‘Goodbyes Are Never Enough’

Alyssa Ray (A. Ray) pours personal life experiences and all-the-feelings-felt-at-once into tangible sentences to show what it’s like to be mentally ill – and occasionally hating it – But learning to live with it and love life anyway.

Congrats to everyone who submitted work and was included in our anthology! I’m so proud of all our fantastic writers!

On our website, you can now place a pre-order for the book. Beginning on February 28, 2023, we will ship out every order that has been received. It will soon be accessible via

Kind Regards,

Samuel P A Robertson

– Senior Editor at ‘Wingless Dreamer’

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