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Fischer Prize Submissions

Contest Open April 1, 2024 – August 31, 2024

GuidelinesFile FormatEntry Form & Fees

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For those who have submitted in the past please note that some details have changed. Please read carefully. For questions, please contact us at Eligible poets can submit to both contests, but not with the same poems.

Eligible Poets

An international poetry contest open to English language writers of all ages living anywhere in any country, although international mail costs of money transfers will be borne by any international winners. All styles and subject matter are welcome although one could acquaint oneself with past winners to get some idea of what kind of entries have been selected previously

Judge & Prizes

Our final judge for 2024 will be award winning poet Juan Morales of Colorado. Prizes include $1000 first place award and five $250 finalist awards.

Rights & Permissions

As a condition of submission to the Fischer Prize Contest, the submitting poet affirms that she/he owns the copyright to the poem submitted, and that it is an original work created by the submitting poet. She/he permanently grants the Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds Program the permission to publish the submitted poem, should it be selected as a winning entry, on its website and in any future anthology, should one be created. All other rights revert to the poet.

Previously published poems are permissible as entries, so long as the poet retrains the copyright. Winning entries will be solicited for previous publication information and any poems published by the Talking Gourds program will include attribution to the previous publication entity.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable but acceptance at another site or contest can NOT be a reason to withdraw poem from consideration or limit website or anthology publication by the Fischer Contest without written permission from the Fischer Contest. Fees will not be refunded.

Snail Mail Fees & Submissions

For those unable to use computers, query about a mail-in option. Write Talking Gourds Poetry Program, P.O. Box 160, Norwood CO 81423. An extra $10 mail-in handling fee will apply.


  • Feedback from our Director will share how your poem stacked up in the contest (with input from our preliminary judges) and possibly offer some constructive comments
  • A surcharge of $5 per poem will be assessed for this feature
  • Submissions for feedback must be digital and current contact information must be submitted
  • Given our limited staff, feedback may take a while but will be sent eventually


Poems will be reviewed in five rounds of judging, four preliminary and one final. All Honorable Mention poems that make the fourth cut will be sent anonymously to the final judge.

  1. Contest winners and outstanding finalists — 6
  2. Runner-ups – 50+
  3. Honorable Mentions – 100+
  4. Entries of note
  5. Heartsong entries (we honor all who share their heartsongs with us)


Submissions must be received online or in P.O. Box 160 by the 31st of August each year.


Winners and finalists will be notified privately. A public announcement will be made on the Talking Gourds website by early October. Winners and finalist will receive their checks and certificates in the mail. Each of them may be selected to be a featured reader at our Bardic Trails Zoom Poetry Series hosted through the Wilkinson Library through the following year (in this case 2025). Featured readers receive a $100 honorarium for their virtual performance.


Poem File Format

Each poem must be submitted in a separate .doc or .docx file (editable .pdf files okay as long as they are truly editable). No multiple poem files will be allowed.  Each file should have no names or identifying info in the copy: only poem text and title. Make sure that only the file name will identify the author of the poem (see below for important file naming guidelines).

125 lines / No more than three pages per poem / 12 point San Serif (Arial or Calibri preferred)

Poem File Naming: VERY IMPORTANT!

Only the file name will identify the author of the poem. Each poem file should be named following this exact format (improperly named files will NOT be accepted into the contest):

  1. up to the first six letters of the poets last name with the first letter capitalized
  2. up to the first six letters of the poem’s title with the first letter capitalized
  3. the capitalized initial F for Fischer entry
  4. the last two number of the contest year submitted

– For example, if Art Goodtimes were submitting his poem Kinship for this year’s contest the file name sent to us would look like this: GoodtiKinshiF24
– Gary Snyder’s “Prayer to the Great Family” would look like: SnyderPrayerF24
– Marge Piercy’s “To Be Of Use” would look like: PiercyToBeOfF24
– Al Foy’s “Dog” would look like: FoyDogF24


Complete Submissions Only

All requests for information on the Entry Form must be completed. An incomplete submission is grounds for contest disqualification and forfeiture of fees. Payment is required at time of form submission. Click on the Submit & Pay Button when finished.

Poem File Format & Naming

Make sure your files conform to our Poem File Format and Poem File Naming requirements (see File Format & Naming above). For a resubmitted entry due to improperly formatted or named files, there is an additional fee of $5.

Entry Fees

Base fee is $10 per poem. The third poem of three gets a $5 discount. Thus 2 poems are $20, 3 poems are $25, 4 poems $35, 5 poems $45, six poems $50, 7 poems $60, et cetera in that sequence. Feedback is an additional $5 per poem.

Entry Form

Click the “Entry Form” button below to complete your Fischer Prize Submission form and pay contest fees.

Fischer Entry Form & Fees

Back to the main Fischer Prize page.