ENTRY FEES, JUDGE & FEEDBACK: $10 fee per poem, three for $25. Judge: Juan Morales. Feedback $5 per poem.
Submissions for the 2024 contests will run April 1 to August 31, 2024. Poets are free to enter both contests, although with different poem submissions.
Fischer & Cantor Prize Archives
2023 FISCHER PRIZE WINNER
Mary Ann Crowe for “Missing Daughters of Chicagoua”
Partridge Boswell with “Ode to a Bee on the Small of Your Back”
Eileen Adele Hale with “The Closing Crack”
Ken Haas with “The Cypress”
Sandra Gustin with “Life of Jays”
Phil Baker with “She Caught His Arm”
2022 CANTOR PRIZE WINNER
Jacob Sheetz-Willard for “Praying for Rain“
Read the full press release on the 2023 Fischer/Cantor Prize Winning Poems, which includes poet photos, bios and judge commentary.
2022 FISCHER PRIZE WINNER
Devreaux Baker for “My Name Means Memory”
Diana Whitney with “Acorns”
Stephen Benz with “Ghost Towns Out West”
Faith Shearin with “Air”
Rosa Lane with “Clothesline”
Carolyne Wright with “This dream the world is having about itself…”
2022 CANTOR PRIZE WINNER
Wendy Videlock for “Ode to the Slow”
David Feela for “My Father Retires”
José A. Alcántara for “To a Friend Who Does Not Believe in God”
Read the full press release on the 2022 Fischer/Cantor Prize Winning Poems, which includes poet photos, bios and judge commentary.
2021 FISCHER PRIZE WINNER
Ja’net Danielo for “We Thank the Veteran for His Service”
2021 CANTOR PRIZE WINNER
Madison Gill for ‘Urraca’
Read the full press release on the 2021 Fischer/Cantor Prize Winning Poems, which includes poet photos, bios and judge commentary.
2020 FISCHER PRIZE WINNER
Jonathan Greenhause for “Thanks a Lot, Shakespeare, for the Starling”
Migration Patterns by Melissa Studdard
Upon Hearing Amy Winehouse at St. James Church in Dingle by Partridge Boswell
After Rousseau’s ‘The Dream’, Museum of Modern Art, 2016 by Julie E. Bloemeke
Shape Shift by A. Kaiser
Sentimental Education by V. Penelope Pelizzon
2020 CANTOR PRIZE WINNER
The Sunflower Miners by Mark Oreskovich
Read the full press release on the 2020 Fischer/Cantor Prize Winning Poems, which includes poet photos, bios and video readings of the poems.
In 2019, our Fischer Prize winner was Carlos Andrés Gómez of New York and the finalists were Kurt Luchs of Michigan, John Macker of New Mexico, Rev. Donald Marbury of Maryland, Phyllis Klein and Susan Browne of California. Our judge was Berkeley Poet Laureate Rafael Jesús González of California.
In 2018, our Fischer Prize winner was Michele Bitting of California, and finalists included Devreaux Baker of California, Elizabeth Jacobson of New Mexico, Claire Blotter of California, and Jose A. Alcantara of Colorado. Our judge was Santa Fe Poet Laureate emerita Joan Logghe of New Mexico.
In 2017, our Fischer Prize winner was Anna Scotti of California and our finalists were Anne Valley-Fox of New Mexico, Jennifer Rane Hancock of Colorado, George Perreault of Nevada, Helen Stevens Chinitz of New York, and James Crews of Vermont. Our judge was the late Denver Poet Laureate Chris Ransick of Colorado/Oregon.
Mark Fischer’s widow Elaine Cantor Fischer, who had for many years supported the Fischer Prize contest, passed away in 2016. Two years later the Talking Gourds added a $500 Cantor Prize to the Colorado poet whose poem ranked highest in the Fischer Prize contest, thanks to a generous donation from the Cantor Family.
In 2019 the Cantor Award Winner it was Renee Podunovich of Dolores and in 2018 it was Jane Hilberry of Colorado Springs.
Started in 1997, the Fischer Prize began with the Telluride Writers Guild, at the instigation of Art Goodtimes, was sustained for many years by the Telluride Council on the Arts & Humanities (which became Telluride Arts) and by Elaine Fischer, and most recently was re-energized and expanded by Goodtimes and the Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds Poetry Program.
A poetry award named for Mark and Elaine Fischer – two Colorado creatives and champions of the arts. Mark was a brilliant lawyer poet who died young, and Elaine his artist widow who went on to become Mayor of Telluride and a San Miguel County Commissioner for four terms (2000-2016). She passed away Memorial Day weekend 2016.
What started as a county $100 award for local poets, moved to a statewide focus, then a regional Southwestern target audience, followed by a Western U.S. scan and has now widened its scope – making the awards available to poets in the entire country. The current prize award is $1000 for the winning poem.
New in 2018, thanks to a generous donation from the Cantor Family, we initiated a $500 Cantor Award for the winning poem in the Fischer Prize contest from a Colorado poet. In this way, we honor the Fischers with a national prize, and the Cantors with a state prize.