Sonnet Contest

The Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest

Thank you for your entries in the 2014 Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest. Information about the 2015 contest will be posted in January 2015.

This year’s Contest, the seventh annual, celebrates the memory of Maria Faust, who was a lover of poetry and a passionate supporter of the arts and the Great River Shakespeare Festival. The Sonnet Contest itself has attracted international entrants, and Contest activities this year may include an opening event that features a discussion and sharing of sonnet forms. A closing award ceremony, which includes the reading of prize-winning sonnets and recognition of winning poets will conclude this year’s contest.

The free reception Award Ceremony will be the closing GRSF Front Porch Event on Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. in the Miller Auditorium of Stark Hall at Winona State University. Mark your calendar for readings of the sonnets by members of the GRSF company and the opportunity to meet some of the poets.

Cash prizes, totaling $1,200, will be awarded in a number of categories, including:

  • Best Overall
  • Best Yourth (17 & Under)
  • Laureate’s Choices
  • Local Area (Winona & adjacent counties): Adult and Youth

Sonnets may be written in Shakespearean, Petrarchan, Spenserian or Non-Traditional form, and the contest is open to anyone interested in participating. Previously published and unpublished sonnets are welcomed.

The Contest entry fee is $5.00 for up to 3 sonnets. Enclose the entry fee check made out to: Ted Haaland, with a memo of “Maria W. Faust Fund.” Entries must be post-marked, First-Class mail, no later than July 1st, addressed to:

GRSF Maria W. Faust Sonnet contest
c/o Emilio DeGrazia
211 West Wabasha Street
Winona, MN 55987

Submissions will not be returned. Do not include your name on the sonnet submissions. Please include a separate information sheet with your name, address, email, phone number, Names of Sonnets, Age (if entering Local Area/17 and under), and how you heard about the Sonnet Contest.

Winners will be announced by August 2nd online.

Anthology of Winning Sonnets

The anthology of winning sonnets from the first five years of the GRSF/Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest, This Melody Weaves In And Out is still available. 

CrozierBirdsCopies of the book are available through the GRSF merchandise booth and at select locations in Winona for $10 each. If you would like to learn more about the anthology, please contact:

Ted Haaland
36545 Old Homer Road
Winona, MN 55987

Read winning entries from past seasons: 2010 | 2012 | 2013

What is a sonnet?

A sonnet is fourteen lines of iambic pentameter usually in either a Petrarchan, Shakespearian, or Spencerian rhyme scheme. Shakespeare wrote 154 of them. Petrarch wrote 317. We bet you could write just one!

Rhyme Schemes:

Shakespearean: Spenserian: Petrarchan:

What is iambic pentameter?

One of the most common meters in formal poetry (most of Shakespeare’s plays are written in iambic pentameter), it consists of a line roughly ten syllables long with five strong stresses, many of which aternate unstress/stress.