Open Mic Blog

Honoring Ethan Fischer

Posted on June 20, 2011 at 9:22 AM




My witty, wise, kind, and caring poet friend Ethan Fischer died a few days ago. Simply heartbreaking.



I wanted to do something to celebrate his life, so I created this tribute page for him where people can come and share their memories of  Ethan. I think he would have liked that.


Here is a link when Ethan was featured on my blog a couple of years ago:


Scroll down to read about and listen to this wonderful interview with Ethan conducted by his dear friend Grace Cavalieri who talked with him on her award-winning program "The Poet and the Poem" at the Library of Congress: or click on this link



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10:28 AM on June 20, 2011 
I was shocked & sorry to read Laura's post that just came. I hadn't heard about Ethan. He was a huge presence in WV's eastern panhandle literary life & will be greatly missed.
Reply Leslie
10:28 AM on June 20, 2011 
Oh no. Laura, I'm so sorry. I met Ethan twice -- once at Marie's house, and another time at a workshop at the WV writer's conference. Grace was there as well, and it was wonderful to be in the same room with such a creative, talented, and funny person. What a terrible loss.
Reply Patricia
10:43 AM on June 20, 2011 
So sorry to hear about Ethan. I met him a few times at the West Virginia Writers conference. He was such a witty person and gave great advice to writers
Reply Marie Manilla
4:24 PM on June 20, 2011 
Leslie, it was to your very MA graduation party that Laura brought not only a bottle of wine, but Ethan, and what a gift he was. We were playing Exquisite Corpse and he joined right in. Such a good sport...and a fine poet. He will be missed.
Reply Laura Treacy Bentley
4:40 PM on June 21, 2011 
"Summer is a gold tooth in God's smile." ~ Ethan Fischer
Reply grace cavalieri
5:15 PM on June 29, 2011 
Ethan is an original. No one can braid whimsey and beauty the way he did.He combines R.M.Rilke with W.C. Fields. His intellect was only surpassed by his inimitable brilliant mischivous art. His drawings outdraw Thurber. His radio work outlives the Green Hornet. He was profound with a light hand and a lasting touch.His love of life is eternal. And so is Ethan.
Reply Laura Treacy Bentley
9:13 AM on July 2, 2011 
Please read this beautiful tribute to her "brother," Ethan Fischer, written by Grace Cavalieri. She wanted me to share this with everyone.

Ethan and Me
Grace Cavalieri

I knew it would not be long before I heard from Ethan and indeed, this week, one night, I closed my eyes and there he was floating above me saying, "Grace, I'm in the flow." I don't care if anyone believes me. The reason I felt happy and not sad is that he gave me that Ethan smile, the one he used when he knew he was saying something profound or witty---or a combination---how he lowered his voice, sliding it somewhat to give impact, making the vowel of "flow" sound like a diphthong---dragging out the word to give me the drama needed.

Ethan was a dramatist and a poet, and still is, I believe.

Ethan was also my brother on many levels. The primary one was poetry. Did we start our mutual love affair with language 25 years ago? 30? It seems he has always been with me, and I cannot think of two other people who have known each other that long without ever having a moment's irritation.

Ethan was on WPFW's "The Poet and the Poem" many times when my show was "live." Sometimes he'd bring a colorful personality along with him that I would not have otherwise known. Many times he had to "pitch" with me to keep poetry on the air. These called for treks from West Virginia to Washington for Ethan, always gratis, always generous. Also, Ethan liked performing at the Annual WPFW fundraiser where jazz musicians joined with poets to sing their hearts and pass the hat to keep poetry alive for broadcast. The last event was 1997. Ethan came with his crew but the electricity went out in the middle of his number; then the siren's started howling in the hotel's theater; but trooper/champion Ethan started all over again once the stress was over and all was clear. Now he has a wonderful reading available that we did, more recently, at the Library of Congress for public radio. It's on the LOC website. I love having him there for the listening. That day we were delayed because the Library guards found a bottle opener and penknife in his knapsack (to his surprise) and out he went to hide it in a flower pot off site. The back again to give a warm, funny, brilliant reading of his work

The Bunny and the Crocodile Press is proud to have published his book BEACHED IN THE HOURGLASS. His whimsical illustrations and inimitable voice are both made permanent on the page forever. Even as I say this, my heart grows sore inside my chest and I need to raise my flagging spirits in his dear name and for his beloved wife, my dearest friend Uschi.

What I think I'll do is---close my eyes every night and wait to see Ethan again.
Reply max finland
2:15 AM on September 28, 2011 
an amazing confluence of intelligence without the sniff of the dollar. people like this sent us to the moon, wrote books that explain why that is important and waste away because perhaaps god wants us to realize true gifts when they are before us. its great jersey shore got such great ratings last night when we could have been learning something. he would have laughed, but that was him. smarter than all but more willing than any of us to admit the advantages of it and perhaps the literary implications within it that neither the actors not the producers realied were occurring. he would never have watched garbage like that but would have been the best critic of the sorry state of entertainment in our time, he was always just too good for that sort of thing. a truly great man by any measure. rip professor.
Laura Treacy Bentley, 2019