Fischer Cantor Prize Submission Rules


For those who have submitted in the past please note that some details have changed. Please read carefully:
For questions, please contact us at <>.

Fischer Prize

  • A national poetry contest open to English language writers of all ages living in the U.S. (whether a citizen or not) and to U.S. citizens living overseas.
  • Prizes include $1000 first place award and five $250 finalist awards.

Cantor Prize

  • A Colorado state poetry contest open to English language writers of all ages living in Colorado who submit an entry to the Fischer contest.
  • All styles and subject matter are welcome although one could acquaint oneself with past winners to get some idea of what entries have been selected previously

Our final judge for this year will be Donald Levering of Santa Fe (



Online Entry Form

  1. Bio (100 words or less)
  2. Headshot Photo (jpg or jpeg only)
  3. Poem File(s): You may submit up to 10 poems total. Each needs to be a separate file in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format.

Poem File Format
Each poem file should be named using (1) the first five letters of the poet’s LAST NAME, (2) the first five letters of the poem’s TITLE, and (3) the last two numbers of the contest year submitted (no spaces between any of those). If the Last Name is shorter than 5 letters, use the first name letters next to get to five. The first letter of the poet’s Last Name should be capitalized. And each word of the Title.

By way of examples:

  • Gary Snyder’s Prayer for the Great Family would look like “SnydePraye21”
  • Marge Piercy’s To Be Of Use would look like “PiercToBeO21
  • George Foy’s Old Yeller would look like “FoyGeOldYe21”

Each poem must be a separate file with no names or identifying info in the text, except for in the title of the file itself as indicated above.

The only acceptable formats to upload poem files are .doc, .docx, or .pdf. No multiple poem files are allowed.

Entry fees are best paid online. Base fee is $10 per poem. The third poem of three gets a $5 discount, so 3 poems would be $25, 4 poems $35, 5 poems $45, 6 poems $50, 7 poems $60, 8 poems, $70, 9 poems $75 and 10 poems $85.

See extra charges for snail mail submissions ($10) and/or feedback requests ($5) below.

Snail Mail Submissions
For those that don’t have access to a computer with Microsoft Word or Adobe programs, a complete printed Entry Form and a check made out to the “Telluride Institute,” with a note “Fischer Prize fee” in the bottom left corner can be submitted by mail. Snail mail submissions will not be returned. Add an extra handling charge of $10 for all snailmail submissions and send to Fischer Cantor Prize Contest, c/o Talking Gourds, P.O. Box 160, Norwood CO 81423.

Poems will be divided into 5 categories:

  1. Winners of Fischer Prize ($1000) and Cantor Prize ($500)
  2. Outstanding Finalists — the five top Fischer runner-up entries selected by Donald Levering will get $200 each
  3. Finalists, those that make the second preliminary cut
  4. Honorable Mention Entry, those that make the first preliminary cut
  5. Heartsong Entry

If you would like to learn where your poem falls in this rating system, according to our preliminary judges, include a $5 feedback fee. If you want more in-depth feedback, one of our preliminary judges can respond and work with you at a $30/hr. mentoring fee. That can be arranged individually by responding to the initial feedback email.

Submissions must be made online by midnight on the last day of August, the 31st, of each year. Snailmails must be postmarked by the end of the post office day on Tuesday, Aug. 31.

Winners will be notified privately. A public announcement will be made on the Talking Gourds website in October. Winners will also be invited to be featured readers at a Bardic Trails virtual reading in Telluride sometime during the following months.

All Entrants
All entrants will be entered as members in good standing of the Talking Gourds Poetry Club for November and December of 2021 and will receive Club Mailchimp postings and Club broadside attachments for Club readings in those months. To stay current and continue to receive the broadsides, there will be a $10 renewal fee each year starting in 2022.

Ready to pay your fees and submit online?

Please go to the Entry Form & Fees page for links to the Fischer Cantor Prizes online form and payment options.