Award Winners

Lyric Poetry Award - 2021

Marcus Wicker


Janine Joseph

Yeet the Rich

reads the yellow caution
sign. Bold left arrow
signaling a blind curve

leading to a cobblestone
street lined w/ blushing
fountains, exotic leaves.

Broad brick facades
fit for provosts &
heiresses. Executives &

heretics. Left arrow
indicating political fidelity.
Br’er Rabbit Graffiti inked

in permanent Sharpie:
AHEAD. Yeet! Eject

them if they can’t take a
loss. Yeet 50. Yeet
Weezy. Yeet authoritarian

instruments disguised as
promoted tweets. Yeet
every bushel, every spore

of cotton money
tumbling around Wallstreet.
Yeet it back

to the sun people,
diamond-rich in melanin.
Yeet antebellum allusions

couched as Regionalism.
Yeet Southern Gothic. &
Lacanian notions of objet

petit a—easily unveiled,
made available to the rich
via Benjamins. Yeet the rich

bloke who invented the old
Bad Boy adage, “Mo Money
Mo Problems” before Diddy

sampled it, lowballed Ma$e
& Biggie for their masters, flipped
the script & yeeted an empire.

Camonghne Felix on Marcus Wicker

"Yeet the Rich" reached out to me with its clear understanding of the relationship between reader and speaker. This mashup of culture and context won me over with its clear-eyedness and ambition. The poem’s economy and its choices are both easy to locate and strange enough that they make you unsure. What we are sure about is that the speaker is awake and alive in the now of this moment. They are alive and present in the now of the world. By taking the details of a macro world and winnowing them down into a bold and precise proclamation on our state of being, this poem takes a hard look at our allegiance to tradition, and our allegiances to the systems that keep us stuck in the past. The speaker says “yeet every bushel / every spore of cotton money //” and I’m given a new way to say I no longer consent. This poem does what only lyric can do—articulates what some of us have no language for, and can only feel, without sacrificing beauty or the ginger quality of the line.