2010 Sonnet Contest Winners

Best OVERALL sonnet

Melanie Rosin
Houston, TX

from “Lear’s Sonnets” ( a triptych)


I do not know the old man who disowned
his favorite daughter or the man who gave
away his kingdom to children who don’t
care. What about the aging man whose grave
is near and ready? I know him not—some
sad, foolish king who sent away his Kent.
A Fool follows to amuse him, some chum
Declaring him to entreat and lament
to Lear’s shadow. I falter this maxim,
this recognition of his current state,
yet in the mirror I see that I am him.
The chagrin of aging—a horrid fate.
Who is it that can tell me who I am?
What I fear is that no one can.

Best Love Sonnet


Tori Thompson
Jackson, MS

Be Not Our Love

Be not our love the green –limbed sapling tree
who gave her buds, unfurled, to early rains
and gave her blossoms’ fragrance to the banes
of spring’s first exhalations. Aft agley!
The frost has yet but respite! So the rime
had chilled quite thoroughly its tender wood.
The fiery light trapped in her crystals could
not warm her soul to save her soul in time.
Thus, by and by, her green limbs turned to beige
and, one by one, her buds fell to earth.
About her, to the Fates warped sense of mirth,
lay tattered blossoms on her dying stage.

Bid our love courage to stay unadorned
‘til come both frostless night and balmy morn.

COMMENTS: I am a slam poet currently residing in Jackson, MS, a senior at Jackson State University.

Best Traditional Sonnet

Emilio DeGrazia
Winona, MN

from “The Thirteenth Month: A Sonnet Triptych”

For minds longing to believe what they know
And for eyes full of feelers for the unseen,
The earth performs its small routines offscreen
Without betraying the secrets of her show.
How does the moon know when the time is right
To sway the tides closer to the sun
So waters can warm the soil in silent night
And tendrils can begin their quiet run
Toward the dandelion, the old sun’s rune
Rewritten on the schoolgirl’s open face
Amazed at blossoms opening their white grace
To the lunatic leer of the naked moon.
For what spring brings round there is no name
Whenever the thirteenth moon returns again.

Fran & John Edstrom
Winona, MN

The Changing Moon

The summer moon shines o’er my bedroom walls
From east to west she travels through my dreams
Sometimes she wakes me, frightened, to the calls
Of night birds, coyotes howling in her beams.
Who tunes the signal of this satellite
Sweeping across the sky in silent rounds,
To wake me bolt upright on certain nights
And then on others just the mournful hounds?
Why on some nights is there no sleep for me
But lurid moonlight waking fevered thought
Of missteps made or worse missteps to be
The wrong deed done, that certain right one not.
Oh peaceful, silver moon on this night’s trip
Let us sail gently on your sweet dream’s ship.

Best Non-Traditional Sonnet

Ray DiPalma

The Persistence of Memory

Very evil people cannot really be imagined dying.

The wall against which they
flattened their backs and raised their arms
without quite knowing themselves—
some former pedestrians some former individuals

sacrificed to a perpetuation
of the modes of indifference
approval and dissolution

talking through broken doors
fatal witnesses to apocryphal knowledge
that harbored the means of the ancient wound

propaganda and admonition
ensured a turning point—merely
a transference of loss to reflex-dominated pathos
abandoned to the calamitous relative

Best Humorous Sonnet

Gary Eddy
Dodge Center, MN

Admit Impediments
The cuckoo is a pretty bird… (blank verse, Italian sonnet)

If love is such an ever-fixéd mark,
a bearing for our wandering barks, it can
never be harbor or home or what we need.
Let us admit impediments; we are
but little else: we rarely know our own
true minds, we look on tempests and we shake.
Love in each seeks only love in other,
and to that love it bonds, burns hot, and shines.
We are not light all through. What in us we owe
To Time fell to his sickle before we met.
And yet…your rosy lips, your cheek, the way
we make the bedsprings shriek! We’re but sparrows.
Love, like the cuckoo, has left us her giant egg
And we hatch a bird that warbles when she flies.

Best Sonnet by a Teenager

Victoria Lim
Walnut Creek, CA

Beauty’s Essence

Hark, he hath touched my swooning heart with fey.
Relieve me much of my swevens, did he!
Sikerly, the sooths between us will always say:
“Trew, gentil warrior, shaltow wed she,
Swich fair wight, thy tweye lovers hath verray,
Intil foul death claims one of you with dread,
In the heavens of love wol thy ywis stay.”
Prithee we shall never part until dead.
By my maidenhead, I wol certes fare
Content, al be that all is distempered.
Lyte by lyte, beginning with they warm stare,
Soft, my childish season’s hath been peppered.
Ere never doth beauty’s essence wither,
New seasons wol thou and I make thither.

COMMENTS; I am a freshman in high school, and I love writing sonnets!