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diVERSES Collective

Poets choose poets.


All of the voices you see below select the future poets you will see below.

We do not accept submissions unless specifically noted. We are not a

paying market currently. Poets who appear below agree to sending us

audio, video, & written formats. We are best viewed on desktop/laptop. 

Welcome to the Collective.

Issue One

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Dior J. Stephens

Dior J. Stephens (they/he) wrote the chapbooks SCREAMS & lavender, 001, and CANNON! Their collection CRUEL/CRUEL is out with Nightboat Books. They're Managing Poetry Editor of Foglifter Journal and Press.

Twitter: @dolphinneptune 

 IG: @dolphinphotos



 Christopher Greggs

Christopher J. Greggs is a poet, designer, and recording artist in Jersey City, NJ. He's a Cave Canem, Tin House, Callaloo, and Watering Hole Poetry Fellow, with work in places like TriQuarterly, Winter Tangerine, Texas Review. Instagram: @mynameisgreggs. 



 jaamil olawale kosoko

jaamil is the author of Black Body Amnesia: Poems and Other Speech Acts and recipient of the 2022 Slamdance Jury Prize for Best Experimental Short film, 2021/22 MacDowell Fellowship, and 2020 Pew Fellowship in the Arts. IG @jaamil_means_beauty 

"Meditation on the Nature of Vastness and Its Limits"

Ariana Benson

Her manuscript, Black Pastoral, won the 2022 Cave Canem Poetry Prize; she also received the Furious Flower Poetry Prize and the Porter House Review Poetry Prize. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in POETRY Magazine, Ploughshares, and Poem-a-Day.


"My mother and I"  Ajanae Dawkins

Ajanae Dawkins is an interdisciplinary poet, theologian, performer, and educator. She has been published in The Rumpus, Frontier Poetry, The Offing, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. Ajanae, with an MFA from Randolpha, is currently a co-host of the VS Podcast and the Theology Editor for the EcoTheo Review.      

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 Dior J. Stephens




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Christopher Greggs




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jaamil olawale kosoko 




for Jordan Neely (1993-2023)


I have not been able to touch the destruction within me…

Audre Lorde, Power


Hell rose hot 

and hungry 

as a white chokehold 

around another 

Black neck. 


Nostrils lit.


and iPhones 


at the sight. 


The sheer lack 

of air, the smell

of his last breath,

got Iblis 

on brick. Thick, 


it spit like lava. 

By the time

the F train 


snatched the lever,


turned grim reaper, 


you’re gonna kill ‘em!,

the three vigilantes 

had already gone viral 


orgying over 

the 30 year old’s frame.

A fatal attraction. 

No grammar

for the collision,  


for the sirens 


his body’s abyss

at a frequency 

lower than death.

More and more lately, I find summer

thunder has become too sporadic

a lullaby. Even the stars don’t twinkle

so much as hesitate to glow, like bulbs

just before their filaments expire

and burst. I wonder if the sky

has finally given up on us.




In the desert, nature organizes itself

into patterns—clustered tessellations

with occasional breaks in form—

that our brains recognize as beauty.

Even the land seems to believe

that’s enough to make a waterless life

worth struggling through.




Studying astrology killed the wonder

of the stars, is the gist of a woman’s lament

I overhear on the bus. There is nothing

special at all about our galaxy, read

the first line of her textbook. I discover

a new fear: not of the notion itself,

but the comfort I take in accepting it as truth.




When I am making love, I don’t count

the space of the room in square feet.

When I am making a thing I love, I don’t

count my life in time. I’ve lived, now, just

long enough, to understand that some years

pass like minutes; others, decades. I’m saying

hell can have me only when it earns me.




I awaken from the nightmare: the war

hounds have been called back

to their cages. Vinegar bitters the roof

of my mouth. All that cosmic matter

burned to black, then light. What haunts me

is not mine, in the sense that I am not

mine, and so neither is anything else.


"Meditation on the Nature

of Vastness and its Limits"

Ariana Benson


"My mother and I"

Ajanae Dawkins

Perched on the dead wood and the wood still growing,

the crow lives in their sunday feathers. Funeral black

in all their dwelling. Stiff as the white of my knuckles

from the room next to my mother’s as she cries and caws.


My eyes are not so good as they have been as I can’t tell

if this is a crow or a raven. And I don’t know what it’s saying

to its family as it scans me for safety– the way I scan

any man who walks through the door or speaks. The crow


can hold a grudge and tell others of your birth marks,          

your round face. A raven can mourn a death then comfort

their grieving. It’s the difference between a murder

and an unkindness, really. I kept all the scans


and cast irons ready. A man’s skull can be made

soft no matter how large he is. Crows have regional

dialects they can shift between. And my mother’s words come

slower now that she is bruised in the land of the undead.


A group ravens are called a conspiracy when not called

an unkindness. But are they either? Does it matter

that my mother is divorced instead of widowed?

And I, not yet an assassin?


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