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FISCHER & CANTOR PRIZES

2023 submissions are now closed.

September Fischer Cantor Prize Update

We have completed our seven step pre-judging Fischer review by our literary umpires (lumps we like to call them) and will be passing finalist poems from the following folks on to our Judge this year, Deborah Kelly of Colorado:

Phil Baker – Claire Blotter – Partridge Boswell – William Z. Landau – Angel Correa – Mary Ann Crowe – Pannika Dillon – Sandra Gustin – Ken Haas – Mikaela Hagen – Eileen Hale – Sophia Hall – Jennifer Harrison – Mystery Harwood – Richard Lowenberg – Kate Macchi – Ava Mack – KK Morton – Lisa Mullenneaux – Thomas Murphy – Justin Rademaekers – Allen Shadow – Eric Paul Shaffer – Purvi Shah – Caleja Smiley Welsh – David Sullivan – Barbara Tramonte – Dick Westheimer – Elisabeth Hill

We have completed our seven-step pre-judgment Cantor review and will be sending poems from the following poets to our final judge:

Tony Alcantara – Katie Kingston – Joshua E. Lefkowitz – Jacob Sheetz-Willard – Donald Williams – Sophia Hall

We will have Fischer & Cantor winners announced here in late October due to unexpected delays.
Art Goodtimes, TG program director

Fischer Prize

2023 SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED

A national poetry contest founded in 1997 in memory of the late lawyer, polymath and poet Mark Fischer. Features $1000 first prize and five $250 finalist prizes. Open to English language writers of all ages living anywhere in the world. The contest helps support our county-wide poetry program, Talking Gourds, and collaborations with the literary community here on Colorado’s Western Slope and beyond.

2022 Winner: Devreaux Baker

2022 Fischer Prize Winners

Cantor Prize

2023 SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED

A Colorado state poetry contest in memory of Mark Fischer’s wife, the late Elaine Cantor Fischer. Elaine was a revered local political leader, supporter of the arts and painter. The contest is open to English language poets of all ages living in Colorado or poets outside of the state writing about events or places in Colorado. Features $500 first place prize and two $100 finalist prizes.

2022 Winner: Wendy Videlock

2022 Cantor Prize Winners

Poets are free to enter both contests, although with different poem submissions. Deadline to enter is August 30, 2023.

Fischer & Cantor Prize Archives

2022 Prize Winners & Finalists

2022 FISCHER PRIZE WINNER
Devreaux Baker for “My Name Means Memory

Finalists:
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

Finalists:
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 Prize Winners & Finalists

2021 FISCHER PRIZE WINNER
Ja’net Danielo for “We Thank the Veteran for His Service

Finalists:
Janet Ruth for “Sacred Datura’
Mitchell Untch for “Eden’
Bianca Darby-Matteoda for “bird cry’
Stephanie Bailey for “The Patron Saint of Letting Go’
Partridge Boswell for “Pop a Wheelie’


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 Prize Winners & Finalists

2020 FISCHER PRIZE WINNER
Jonathan Greenhause for “Thanks a Lot, Shakespeare, for the Starling

Finalists:
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 P​elizzon


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.

Archive 2019 and before

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.

Contest History

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.

FISCHER CANTOR PRIZE NEWS & EVENTS

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CommunityFischer Cantor PrizesTalking Gourds

Baker Wins Fischer Poetry Prize

October 6, 2022
The Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds Poetry Program announced that Devreaux Baker of Mendocino (CA) has won the 2022 Fischer Poetry…
Fischer Cantor PrizesTalking Gourds

Wendy Videlock the Winner of the 2022 Cantor Poetry Prize

October 4, 2022
The Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds Poetry Program is proud to announce that poet Wendy Videlock of Palisade has won this…
Fischer Cantor PrizesTalking Gourds

2022 Fischer/Cantor Prize Winning Poems

October 2, 2022
The winning poems from the 2022 Fischer & Cantor Prizes are published below. Read the full press releases on 2022…
Fischer Cantor PrizesTalking Gourds

2021 Fischer/Cantor Prize Winning Poems

October 7, 2021
2021 Fischer/Cantor Prize Winning Poems (Click each poem title to see the poem.) Fischer Prize Winner Ja’net Danielo for "We…
CommunityFischer Cantor PrizesSpecial EventsTalking Gourds

2021 FISCHER/CANTOR POETRY PRIZE WINNERS

October 5, 2021
Ja’net Danielo of California wins 2021 Fischer Prize Fischer Prize winner Ja'net Danielo The Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds poetry program…
CommunityFischer Cantor PrizesSpecial EventsTalking Gourds

October Bardic Trails: Renee Podunovich

September 25, 2021
Renee Podunovich set to read at Oct 5th Bardic Trails Zoom poetry series Colorado writer Renee Podunovich will be the featured…