Words, Words, Words!



Shakespeare’s sonnets, 154 in all, demonstrate his mastery of the English language in a way that some of us might appreciate, if not fully understand, and perhaps even want to imitate.

With this in mind, the Southern Shakespeare Company, in partnership with the Tallahassee Democrat and Sachs Media Group, held our SECOND ANNUAL SONNET CONTEST.

We had over 100 submissions and all of our finalists were invited to participate in our Festival on Saturday evening and the winning sonnets were read by The Sonnet Man, Devon Glover.




“For Romance” by Jake Cooper

I went to a dance once upon a time.
Although the boys and girls were separate,
To not dance with a girl would be a crime.
Like a shining light I saw my soulmate.
I went to a dance once upon a time,
and then I confidently went to her.
But then I suddenly stopped on a dime.
I went white from my feet to my shoulder.
I went to a dance once upon a time,
and someone danced with the girl of my dreams.
Then I realized, my mood began to climb,
She is not as important as she seems.
I went to a dance, once upon a time.
I discovered that now was not the time.

High School

“Immersion of Love” by Lexi O’Rourke

Calm collected waves, build up emotions
Riptide, taking in pieces of the world
Intriguing thrills, wandering the ocean
The current of movement, sea drifts are curled
Lovers’ footprints, full of past memories
Sand between their toe gaps, a tingling warmth
Tranquil and serene; free of enemies
Days pass leisurely, affection put forth
Heated rays of the sun tickle their backs
The smell of sea salt brings serenity
Shells embraced in the sand of the shore, cracked
The peaceful creatures, their own entities
Bundled feelings of the waves pass through souls
Love of these souls, unable to control


“To Players And Their Parts”

by Dana Gower

The world, and life, continue stage by stage,
And wond’rous parts are writ for all to play.
But there remain with us in ev’ry age
Those which are still loved most until this day.
The child who creeps unwillingly to school,
The lovers lost within each others’ eyes,
And then the kings who over others rule,
And, at the last, the fool who’s really wise.
These roles, these wells, passed on for us to fill,
To reinvent in ways as we think best,
Which we create as if by force of will,
And lay, side by the side, with all the rest.
From (missing) head to toe we keep these parts,
Held tightly always closest to our hearts.

Judges Bios

Randi Atwood is the Platform Editor for the Tallahassee Democrat. She is a lover of theater in general and has been a Shakespeare fan ever since she had one line in “Macbeth” at camp when she was 9.

Devon Glover is a teacher, poet, rapper, from Brooklyn New York. He performs Shakespeare’s Sonnets in a dynamic way through Hip-Hop in schools, universities and theaters to young audiences nationally and abroad.  The Sonnet Man has appeared on The Today Show, MTVAct, Shakespeare Festivals in Stratford Ontario and Stratford-upon-Avon, and won The L.A. Times Book Award for Inspirational Poetry.  The recent release of his debut video “Hip-Hop Hamlet” was selected for the Shakespeare Short Film Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon.  For more information, visit www.SonnetMan.com.

Dr. Molly Hand teaches English at Florida State University, where she is the Entrepreneur in Residence in editing and publishing. She holds a Ph.D. in English Renaissance literature and has published articles and book chapters on Renaissance literature and culture. She is currently working on a book chapter, “Animals, the Devil, and the Sacred in Early Modern English Culture,” to appear in the forthcoming collection Animals and Animality in the Literary Field (Cambridge University Press), which she is also co-editing.