Sonnet Contest

Begun in 2014, the Southern Shakespeare Company Sonnet Contest has grown every year, with submissions received from all around the country. The contest features categories for middle school, high school, and adult poets, with prizes awarded for the top sonnets in each category.

Congratulations 2022
Sonnet Contest Winners!

Middle School Winner

Wallflower by Laykn Schumaker,
8th Grade – Independence, Missouri

Sometimes when there is too much present
I often fear and want to disappear
With my feelings left quite unpleasant
I try to get through it and persevere

If they understood the feelings I get
When I am being put under pressure
They would understand why I want to quit
And their perspectives could be lots fresher

But to those who do understand my stress
And give a helping hand when I’m in need
I do appreciate it nonetheless
Although I’d rather be left with my seed

When they look at me I give a fake smile
All so people don’t think I’m too hostile

2nd Place: “Sonnet 1”
by Reagan Parker,
8th Grade – Tallahassee

3rd Place: “A Special Kind of Love”
by Ryleigh Gage,
8th Grade – Independence, Missouri

High School Winner

February by Ava Komenda,

Slender arms draped in ornaments of glass;
Frozen bark intertwined with streaks of black.
A crimson songbird calls the time to pass;
The gnarled and crooked branch snaps with a crack.

A hundred thousand tiny stars of white
Tumbling from heaven, settling in the eaves;
Diamonds in the headlights, blinding the night,
Powder the streets, the rocks, the plants and trees.

Pearly sheets of ice coat the silent world;
A marriage of alabaster and blue.
The countless spun sugar clouds are unfurled
Filling the background of the snowy view.

Relinquish winter’s icy grip on earth
Sunbeams crush Jack Frost, showing spring’s new birth

2nd Place: “Monster Mash”
by Riona Duncan,
11th Grade – Chicago, Illinois

3rd Place: “Swamp Goddess”
by Gwendolyn Kersey,
10th Grade – Tallahassee, Florida

Adult Winner

The Influencer by Dean Gessie

when Radish Red posted online content,
we mutton licked our chops to click and feed;
she was apostle-gospel, heaven sent,
a multi-platformed, drop dead, five star read

and she knew when to friend or tag or ghost,
when to tell sterling stories to engage,
when to bump a placement or boost a post,
when to brand woolly flanks with love or rage

and she would Airbrush teeth in selfie light
or Facetune pixilated brows and lips
or Instagram face color day and night
or PicMonkey skinnier thighs and hips;

but Red blood in the tub no joy brought her
nor like-minded sheep like-led to slaughter.

2nd Place: “An Ode to Two Wives”
by Carl Kinsky,
Ste. Genevieve, Missouri

3rd Place: “Japan”
by Kasye Beza,
Naples, Florida

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