The winners of the 2022 Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest were announced at a hybrid in-person/Zoom event held at the Winona Arts Center on July 30, 2022. From as far away as Malaysia, 15 of the 28 winners read their sonnets live over Zoom, three read in person, and the remaining sonnets were read by Great River Shakespeare Festival company members Doug Scholz-Carlson, Melissa Maxwell, and Emma Buckman. The video of the celebration can be viewed at sonnetcontest.org/events.
Because the poets remain anonymous until after the judging has been completed, it was especially exciting to find out that two of the top winners were from Winona. Marcia Ratliff won in the Top Four category, and Lucy Severson won in the Youth category. The winning sonnets are published on the website at sonnetcontest.org/2022-winners. Prizes totaling $3,200 were awarded to the following poets in four categories:
Top Four: “faraway mind” by Maithreyi Bharathi (Saratoga, Calif.), “Putin’s Mariupol” by Michael Harty (Prairie Village, Kan.), “A Death in Autumn” by Miles David Moore (Alexandria, Va.), and “First Married Christmas” by Marcia Ratliff (Winona).
Regional (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa): “Emergence” by Scott Lowery (Milwaukee, Wis.), “1984” by David Southward (Milwaukee), “Eve in a Bar” by Joel Van Valin (Saint Paul, Minn.), and “Turtle Lake Nocturne” by Steven R. Vogel (Rochester, Minn.).
Youth (high school and under): “Sea Change” by Riona Duncan (Chicago, Ill.), “Sunless Shade” by Abigail Rinkenberger (Petaling Jaya, Malaysia), “The Chaser of Words” by Lucy Severson (Winona), and “Growth” by Gwendolyn Taylor (Rockville, Md.).
Laureates’ Choice: “Uvalde” by Paul Buchheit (Chicago), “Star Symphony” by Niccolò Campus (Florence, Italy), “Rules for Trans Guys, Sonnet #2” by Max Delsohn (Syracuse, N.Y.), “Clamdiggers” by Aaron Fischer (Fort Lee, N.J.), “Lunchtime on the Block” by Jonathan Holland (Ypsilanti, Mich.), “Small Talk” by Melissa Johnson (Boalsburg, Penn.), “Widow's Walk” by Allison Joseph (Carbondale, Ill.), “Written in Light” by Siham Karami (Orlando, Fla.), “Maple Keys and Ducklings” by Matthew King (Marmora, Ontario, Canada), “To Homer” by Anthony Knight (Billericay, United Kingdom), “Neighbor's Lament” by Charles Leggett (Seattle, Wash.), “Fierce Feathers” by Lynne Page (Ventura, Calif.), “Elegy for a County Fair Goldfish” by Joseph Paulson (Los Angeles, Calif.), “Invisible Before Us Untouched and Still Possible” by Janet Ruth (Corrales, N.M.), “More” by Julia Travers (Gordonsville, Va.), and “Childhood 1919” by David Whippman (Blackpool, United Kingdom).
In 2022, 700 sonnets were received from 42 U.S. states plus Washington, D.C., and 10 other countries — an increase of 15 percent over 2021. Entries in the Youth category increased 50 percent. Through the contest, poets around the world now know of Winona and our thriving arts community.
About the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest
The Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest is an annual event that welcomes entries from around the world to Winona. The contest honors the memory of Maria W. Faust: a Winona State University graduate in communications; a twenty-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 our community and beyond.
The contest judges are Winona’s Poets Laureate James Armstrong, Ken McCullough, and Emilio DeGrazia, and Leslie Schultz of Northfield, Minn. Heidi Bryant is the managing director of the contest. Johanna Rupprecht, Steve Bachler, and Jackie Henderson assisted with the closing event. Great River Shakespeare Festival is a partner, and River Arts Alliance acts as the fiscal sponsor.