Mark Fischer Poetry Prize Announced

Mark Fischer Poetry Prize Announced

Julie Shavin of Colorado Springs wins $1000 Mark Fischer Poetry Prize.

Poetry Prize

The awards and number of contestants keep getting bigger in the run up to the 19th annual Mark Fischer Poetry Contest.

This year’s judge, Southwest poet/provocateur Judith Hill, reviewed 330 poems from 130 poets living in 22 western states. In the end, Colorado’s own Julie Shavin of Colorado Springs takes home the $1000 first place prize.

Colorado poets also scored big as finalists, with $100 going to Kathleen Willard of Fort Collins. The other two finalists tied, with each of 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 River Falls, Wisconsin; and Gail Waldstein of Denver, Colorado.

Winning poets were all invited to read their poem at an award ceremony Friday, May 20, at Arroyo Telluride, a wine bar and gallery on Telluride’s Main Street. The event, 6 p.m., kicks off of the 3rd annual Telluride Literary Arts Festival, May 20-22. For more info on the festival, go here.

Following the award ceremony and a dinner break, starting at 8:30 p.m. there will be a Talking Gourds Spotlight Reading featuring Lit Fest’s special guest Peter Heller (for a podcast with Heller go here), Judyth Hill, David Rothmans, and Sarah Pletts, again at Arroyo

And then we will pass the gourd and poets will have 3-5 minutes each to share a couple poems.

Award ceremony and the reading are free to all.


Talking Gourds is a four-part program of the Telluride Institute in partnership with the Wilkinson Library, the Montrose Regional Library, Between the Covers Bookstore, Lithic Bookstore & Gallery, Cimarron Books & Coffee, Ah Haa School for the Arts, Telluride Arts, and Arroyo Telluride. The program includes a monthly Talking Gourds Poetry Club in Telluride, a Traveling Gourds poetry tour of the Western Slope, the Fischer Poetry Prize contest, and the Telluride Literary Arts Festival.

Talking Gourds programming survives through the generous support of private donors and Poetry Club members. There is a one-time fee of $25 to join and get on the cyber mailing list for regular meetings and special events. And then there is a $10 annual renewal to be a member in good standing and to receive half-price on Mark Fischer Poetry Prize submissions and monthly broadsides of the featured poets free.

The Traveling Gourds Poetry Tour starts in Telluride the first Tuesday of each month in the fall and winter. The same featured poets also appear the Wednesday after First Tuesday at Cimarron Books & Coffee in Ridgway at 1 p.m. For info there, contact Sara Doehrman online ( or at 970-708-4027.

Then, later the same day the poets perform at the Montrose Regional Library’s Open Mic series the Wednesday after First Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.  For more info there, contact Meg Nagel online here or at 970-964-2548.

Finally they appear the Thursday after First Tuesdays at the Lithic Bookstore & Gallery at 138 South Park Square #202 in Fruita (upstairs — enter through lobby door on the east side of the building, from Mesa Street).

For more info, contact Kyle Harvey or Danny Rosen at (970) 858-3636.

Talking Gourds is indebted to generous contributions of money and time from Audrey Marnoy, Peter Waldor, Elaine Fischer, Sean Murphy, Daiva Chesonis, Elissa Dickson, Jess Newens, Art Goodtimes, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Meg Nagel, Danny Rosen, Kyle Harvey, Sara Doehrman, our Club members and the Montrose Friends of the Library. Call 970-729-0220 or visit the Gourds website here.


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