DIAJ Award Winners

At the end of each year, Door Is A Jar Magazine honors two contributors that best represented the year's submissions. Anyone who submits work to Door is a Jar Magazine has a chance at winning this award.

The 2021 winners of the DIAJ Award are Elijah Christopher and Benjamin Bagocius. Their art and poetry captured a unique balance of introspection and acceptance that speak so loudly to what it means to be human.

When judging for this award, we look for pieces that are accessible and relatable in a way that goes hand in hand with one of our core values — the value of making our publication open and available to everyone.

Elijah Christopher

Elijah Christopher is a Nigerian writer, poet, and a photo-artist who holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Obafemi Awolowo University and a Diploma in Journalism from Alison in association with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He contributed to the collaborative poem compiled to celebrate the centenary of Edwin Morgan, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow.

He is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, a news media and magazine in the U.S. focusing on Africa-related issues, new technologies and innovations; and currently the brand manager for Moahz Group of Companies. In Lagos, he spends evenings at the riverside: walking, meditating, writing and taking spontaneous pictures of nature. You can reach him via LinkedIn.

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A Tear Under Shower

by Elijah Christopher

Benjamin Bagocius

Benjamin Bagocius, PhD, writes at intersections of literature, queer thought and experience, and spirituality. He is an associate professor of the humanities with Bard Early Colleges in Washington, D.C. His two books of poetry — The Canaanite Woman and The Gospel According to B. — are forthcoming from Resource Publications and Unsolicited Press, respectively. He is founding director of the Institute for Spiritual Poetry, which hosts writing workshops, a journal, and other events. His poetry, essays, and academic articles appear in a range of venues, including On Being, Tiferet, Pensive, Modernism/modernity, and is forthcoming in Studies in the Novel and Modern Fiction Studies. Learn more and reach out at BenjaminBagocius.com and InstituteForSpiritualPoetry.com.

Lazy Eye

by Benjamin Bagocius

My eyeball was smacked, an innocent bystander

Now it uses crutches. It moves slowly

up the steps of blue. It doesn’t take corners

quickly. It holds the handrail, lifts

its crutches over curbs

of light. There’s nothing lazy about eyes

When the world pauses, the eyeball doesn’t

Just watch your eyes. You think you’ve stopped

to look. But each eye has never stopped

Feel how it traces the running

shadow of lace. Look: unlike your leg,

your eye follows the foam

down the river

Hold your gaze as still as you can

and watch. Your eye is never still

It drags you to vision