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It’s the 19th year of the annual Fischer poetry contest, and the awards, plus the number of contestants, keep getting bigger.

This year Southwest poet/provocateur Judyth Hill reviewed 330 poems from 130 poets living in 22 western states. And Colorado’s own Julie Shavin of Colorado Springs takes home the $1000 first place Mark Fischer poetry award.

Colorado poets also scored big as finalists, with $100 going to Kathleen Willard of Fort Collins. The other two finalists were both ties, with the following poets each receiving $50: Cameron Scott, who splits his time between Willowa, Oregon and Basalt, Colorado; Kathleen McClung of San Bruno, California; Maureen Ash of ???, Wisconsin; and Gail Waldstein of Denver, Colorado.

Winning poets have been invited to read their poem at an award ceremony Friday, May 20th, at Arroyo Telluride – a wine bar and gallery on Telluride’s main street. Julie Shavin and Kathleen Willard are both planning to come. The event will be part of the annual Telluride Literary Arts Festival, May 20-22. For more info on the festival, visit

Following the award ceremony and a dinner break, there will be a Talking Gourds Spotlight Reading with Peter Heller, Judyth Hill, David Rothman and Sarah Pletts again at Arroyo starting at 8:30 p.m. And then we will pass the gourd and poets will have 3-5 minutes each to share a couple poems.

The award ceremony and the reading are free to all.

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