Mark Fischer Poetry Award At Telluride's Wilkinson Public Library, 4/27

[click “Play” to hear Elaine Fischer talk about Mark]

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Mark & Elaine

April is the month for uniquely talented people throughout the country and in Telluride, people who tend to think outside the box, march to their own drum, and find unique modes of self-expression.

April is National Autism Month and National Poetry Month.

Telluride’s Autism Behavioral and  Consultation Team (now a state-mentored Model Autism Team) headed my Occupational Therapist/Yoga instructor Annie Clark has been busy muscling up its protocols and programs. And Telluride Council for the Arts & Humanities and Talking Gourds are pleased to announce the 13th annual Mark Fischer Poetry Prize Award Ceremony and Poetry Reading. The event takes place Tuesday, April 27, at Telluride’s award-winning Wilkinson Public Library.

Started by former TCAH director and Talking Gourds Grand Poobah Art Goodtimes in 1997 and sustained by Mark’s widow Elaine Fischer and the Fischer family, the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize is named in the memory of Telluride’s much-loved poet, lawyer, skier and raconteur.

Mark Fischer first arrived on the scene in the Summer 1981, followed by his beloved Elaine in February 1982. According to Elaine, a major talent in her own right, Mark was larger than life and a polymath.

“Mark was the hippie itinerant scholar and I was the young artist who followed
him,” she explained.

The Yale, Harvard, Stanford-educated lawyer practiced law in Telluride, but he also loved to ski and hike. He was a glider pilot who played the flute, and a Yoga master who wrote a book on the subject. Mark Fischer spoke five languages fluently and translated philosophical treatises from German, Latin, and Greek into English. Oh yes, and in his spare time, he wrote esoteric poetry incorporating his languages. He called them “squibbles.”

To pay tribute to Mark Fischer’s “squibbles,” his quirky sense of honor and passion for obtuse words, this years Poetry Prizes were awarded to the entries that best exhibited the qualities of originality, novelty, complex meaning, linguistic skill, and wit. All styles and content matter were accepted in the applications (the wilder the better). Almost 200 poems were submitted this year, the most entries ever.

 Winners were judged and selected by poet Danny Rosen, Fruita, CO.

2010 Winners

First Prize: “Roane Duana,” Alysse Kathleen McCann

Second Prize: “Meteor Shower,” Rita Brady Kiefer

Third Prize: “Darwin And Me And The Sea,” by Carolyn Evans Campbell 

Honorable Mention

“Electricity,” by Nicola Fucigna
“God’s Son Lay Down,” by Michael Adams
“In A Japanese Garden,” by Rita Brady Kiefer
“Death Visits the Plateau,” by Deb Barr

To learn more about the remarkable man who inspired the wordplay, click the play button and listen to Elaine Fischer’s podcast.

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Susan Viebrock

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