The Sonnet Contest

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 the Florida Lottery will hold its FIFTH ANNUAL SONNET CONTEST in 2019.  

The contest will run March 26th through May 3rd providing an opportunity for folks to write like the Bard!

There will be three categories: COLLEGE/ADULT, HIGH SCHOOL, and  MIDDLE SCHOOL.

All finalists will have their sonnets published in the Tallahassee Democrat and the winning sonnets will be announced and read Saturday evening, May 11th, during the Southern Shakespeare Festival weekend at Cascades Park with special guest artist SONNET MAN!

Prizes are valued over $1,000!

So, what precisely is a sonnet? Shakespeare wrote 14 line sonnets that follow a specific rhythmic and rhyming pattern of iambic pentameter. Shakespeare wrote sonnets about love, loss, and beauty, but our sonnet contest writers wrote about most ANY subject of their choosing…and had some great fun! 

Sonnets can be submitted to sonnet@southernshakes.org. Category (Middle, High School or Adult) and contact information must be included with your submission.

If you have any questions, please feel free to check our FAQs page or reach us at sonnet@southernshakes.org!

 

The 2018 Sonnet Contest finalists were published in the Tallahassee Democrat on May 10, 2019. To view the article, click here.

Congratulations to our Middle School Finalists!

 

Ella Rose Briones

The Crazy Water Day 

Let me describe a daft water fun day!
The day’s temperature was hot and humid.
My sister said, “Do you want to go play?”
I hopped up and made a pyramid.
“Look out,” screamed my Jack Russell Terrier,
“Yikes, there’s a baby shark on the next street.”
“Oh who cares,” Sis said, “the more the merrier,
but be careful or you’ll be its sweet treat.”
“Run fast, “cried my Husky, “it will get you!”
“No way, I want the excitement,” I said.
But when I saw the shark it just sang pew.
Mom yelled, “You are insane! Go to bed!”
I know this all sounds incredibly crazy.
It really is very surprisingly hazy..

Abby Lunsford

Yesterday’s Sonnet

With paper in hand, I watch the sun rise;
The sun has gone down on my yesterday,
Marking the hardships the past years comprise
As I brush the sadness and pain away.
Looking forth from the past to what’s ahead,
Thinking of all I did and all I’ll do;
Of the things I wanted to do instead,
And all I did despite knowing the truth.
Now at the dawn I begin life again,
So sparkling and fresh, a tender new day.
And all the more as I pick up a pen,
I consider my new sonnet today.
My burdens laid down, I know I can say
I’m glad I let go of my yesterday..

Vanessa Yunussova

Misery

Everyone knows that feeling of despair,
How you feel that you’ll be blue forever,
When all you wish to do, is just sit there,
The thought that feeling glee is a never.
This feeling and I have become quite close,
I know this too well to act unconcerned,
Some people have their daily dreary dose,
Feeling that all this pain, they simply earned.
No one enjoys these melancholic thoughts,
Where you feel all empty on the inside,
And you believe all your heart does, is rots,
That joy is lost, regardless if you tried.
The thought that dismal is where you belong,
Fills your heard, but you must be extra strong.

Congratulations to the High School Finalists!

in alphabetical order

Gabriella Goss

Untitled

In our youth we do not anticipate
Bliss lost along with ignorance we’ll find
Comes with the end of spring it is innate
Can opened eyes retain an opened mind?
Yet youth is like a flower yet to bloom
Left closed how can it show what is inside?
Left sealed a bud will not know of the room
It had to grow if only it had tried
But as a bud has petals all along
So do our minds with knowledge to be found
Need to taste the fruit called life is not wrong,
But rather the only way we are unbound
So growing up is just a way to bide
The child that we all still have inside..

Thelonious Linford

Siren Song

…and as I floated on the tranquil sea
I came across a strange, small, floating isle
And there one lone young woman sang to me
Her voice stretched out, all men near to beguile
Her skin was soft and fair like brightest snow
Around her head her golden braids did twist
None other did my red heart want to know
Than this fair maiden; salt air and sea kiss’d
But something made her seem more siren like
Perhaps the scaly glint upon her skin
Or yellow teeth each sharpened like a knife
Which shone as her voice tried to draw me in
Thus warned, we set out ‘cross the stormy brine
But even now she preys upon my mind .

Aidan Monroe

Sonnet of Beckett

To stand before the tyrant of nine kings
Beneath the confines of hallowed comfort,
Thy lord enslaves me through locks without keys
Lest I appeal to his home winter court.
His words will cut through my skin as if swords,
His posture transforms abodes into cells;
And those among him patrol ‘bout the ward
directing their demands till I’ve been felled.

Congratulations to the College/Adult Finalists!

in alphabetical order

Bob Ferdinand

Gloriana

England’s great queen, fairest jewel of our isle!
Lady most gracious, whose praises we sing —
Inspire fair-flourishing Nature, while
Zephyrs blow sweetly in earliest Spring.
Abounding in virtue, temp’rate and wise,
Benevolent justice flows from her hands
Ensnaring the wicked, dishonor and lies
To strengthen and prosper all she commands.
Her beauty shines warmly, pure as the sun!
Timeless and radiant, heaven’s true light.
Unrival’d in glory, God’s Chosen One!
Dauntless she rises to take up the fight.
Our love and devotion grow stronger each year,
Renown’d Gloriana — queen without peer..

John Ryan Hall

One Fair Morn

One fair morn I found me in a forest
Beside a birch I imagined I would form
An arrow from it’s faithful inmost breast
I fancied that I would face the storm
Of those fierce darts that cause me dread
I decided I too would be armed
To strike the little demon of love dead
Only then could I be free from harms
Yet Jove’s imp scorned the image in my mind
And swiftly assigned your eyes to reside
Instead of those arrows only orbs I find
Thus he did all my engines deride
For how can I that deathless boy overcome
When I looked in your eyes and knew you’re the one.

Thomas Robert Moore

Ah, Time Itself doth help us ably age

Whilst young, n’er did I fret ‘bout growing old.
Yet Time doth boldly bring its storms and rain.
So soon learned I, one’s health’s worth more than
gold,
As Time deals deftly Aging’s aches and pain.
My eyes and ears do fail me all too fast.
How can I win Life’s fickle flirt with Fate?
Or hope to cope, breathe breaths that long will last?
And find loud laughs, sweet smiles? And not too late?
Ah, Time Itself doth help us ably age:
We find the means o’er time to learn what’s real.
The very limits Life makes us engage,
Do bring near, All we see, hear, smell and feel.
We can embrace whate’er we treasure most.
Then, daily live that love we each hold close.