Sonnet contest hosts online event Aug. 8


The Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest is reinventing the format of its annual closing event due to the inability to host a large in-person event. Instead, organizers are going online, which offers the opportunity for more winners to participate in the celebration.

On Saturday, August 8, at 11 a.m. central time, the public is invited to join to hear the winning sonnets read by many of the winners along with members of the Great River Shakespeare Festival’s acting company and the contest’s judges. The Zoom link may be found at or at Attendees are not required to register for the event. The Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF) is partnering with the contest and will facilitate the event.

A project of the River Arts Alliance, the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest is an annual event that welcomes entries from around the world to Winona. The 2020 contest saw a 30-percent increase in participation over 2019. A total of 541 sonnets were submitted by poets in 39 states and 13 other countries. Prizes totaling almost $2,000 were awarded in four categories: Top Three, Regional, Youth, and Laureates’ Choice.

The contest honors the memory of Maria W. Faust: a Winona State University graduate in communications, a 20-year resident of Winona, an avid supporter of varied local arts, and a lover of poetry. Maria’s husband, Ted Haaland, is the contest’s benefactor, with the goal of keeping Maria’s love of poetry alive in the community and beyond.

Winona’s Poets Laureate — James Armstrong, Emilio DeGrazia, and Ken McCullough — serve as judges for the contest each year. Heidi Bryant is the administrator of the contest with the organizational support of the River Arts Alliance. GRSF is a partner and assists with events and promotion.

To learn more about the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest, please visit or email Then visit and to learn more about its partners.


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