Sonnet Contest

Sonnet Contest

Our annual Sonnet Contest inspires (and rewards) writers around the world. Established in 2014, the Sonnet Contest has three categories for entry–Middle School, High School, and College / Adult. Each category’s finalists are invited to share their work live onstage Friday, May 13 before the evening performance of Antony & Cleopatra starring Kelsey Scott.

Congratulations 2023
Sonnet Contest Winners!

middle School Winner

Oh how I love the sound of your sweet voice
by Timothy Hughes

Oh how I love the sound of your sweet voice,
Your dulcet tones are pleasing to my ear.
But sometimes you barrage me with your noise,
So much that I can’t stand to listen here.

Some music is like angels sent from heav’n,
It soothes me like the purest foreign balm.
Sometimes it stills me like the cream of Dev’n,
And it provides for me a wondrous calm.

I love to play a wide range of music:
Bach preludes to the waltzes of Chopin.
The lovely rhythm although sometimes quick,
Is wonderful to my attention span.

And as you see music is my great love;
 I treasure it as if it were a dove.

2nd Place: “I wish my writer’s block would go away” by Laurel Standridge

3rd Place: “A piece of homework every now and then” by Wyatt Mitchell

High School Winner

Ode to a White Crayon by Adeline Brown

An artist who holds me within his fist,
And presses me upon his paper slate
I try to free myself but can’t resist
The gentle pressure of his writing’s weight. 

How freely he draws what’s inside his mind;
But nothing marks the movements of our hand.
An artist’s tool is somehow wholly blind,
Perhaps my hue’s too pale to understand? 

He picks me up to read my label torn
And sets me down—no artist job to do.
I plead with eyes that ask ‘bout secrets sworn;
White crayons won’t show the splendor that he drew. 

I watch him shade and scribble from the shelf,
As Reds and Blues grow duller than myself. 

2nd Place: “The Latin language is superior” by Benjamin Hall and Timothy Hughes

3rd Place: “Running Through a Sonnet” by Sarah Patel

Adult Winner

for Thurston and all children of the Anthropocene Age
by Jinn Bug

Scry the horizon where our city broods—
a smoky wound consuming drought-stripped hills
where no green branches dance the rough winds’ moods.
Is it too late to heal all that is ill? 

The world’s ablaze. From space, men signal down
a continental snapshot ringed with fire
yet our compulsive greed leaps every bound
and species after species fuels the pyre. 

In olden days, we’d whisper bees this news;
in sympathy, they’d sweeten what they could.
What we do now is argue against truth;
we sheathe the world in concrete, call it good. 

When fire melts what we callously hardened,
Earth will drink our ashes and yield gardens.

2nd Place: “A Sonnet for Ukraine” by Renée Szostek

3rd Place: “A Sonnet for Hiroshima and Nagasaki” by Renée Szostek

Are you a sonneteer? Watch our past winners and guest readers for inspiration!

Sonnet Contest Judges


Devon Glover is a teacher, rapper, poet, playwright and actor from Brooklyn, New York. He performs Shakespeare’s Sonnets through Hip-Hop as The Sonnet Man in schools and theaters worldwide. Devon has appeared on NBC, MSNBC, BBC, and Conferences and Shakespeare Festivals worldwide, including Stratford, Ontario, and Stratford-upon-Avon. He has taught with Stratford Shakespeare, Passion in Practice, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and Southern Shakespeare. Devon has written adaptations of Shakespeare for various theatre companies. In the Spring 2019, Devon was commissioned to write a hip-hop adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (Lyrica). In Summer 2022, Devon made his directorial debut for Flagstaff Shakespeare, directing Othello for the professional theatre. For more information, visit


David Kirby teaches at Florida State University. His collection The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems was a finalist for the National Book Award. He is the author of Little Richard: The Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll, which the Times Literary Supplement of London called “a hymn of praise to the emancipatory power of nonsense” and was named one of Booklist‘s Top 10 Black History Non-Fiction Books of 2010. His latest books are a poetry collection, Help Me, Information, and a textbook modestly entitled The Knowledge: Where Poems Come From and How to Write ThemPhoto by Ramsey Mathews


Celia R. Caputi, PhD is a Professor of English at Florida State University, specializing in Shakespeare/Renaissance Literature, Feminist/Gender Theory and Criticism, and Cultural Studies, with additional research interests in Virginia Woolf/modernism and Italian studies.  Professor Caputi has a distinguished record of publication which includes two Cambridge University Press monographs, Eroticism on The Renaissance Stage: Transcendence, Desire and the Limits of the Visible and Racism, Misogyny and the Othello Myth: Inter-racial Couples from Shakespeare to Spike Lee, in addition to numerous articles and book-chapters on topics ranging from “color-blind” casting in Shakespeare, to the southern Italian dance-cult of “tarantism,” to pornography, and beyond.  Outside of her day-job, she enjoys unleashing her alter-ego on local stages as the lead singer, rhythm guitarist and lyricist/songwriter for the musical duo Due Artisti.

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