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The Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest is an annual event that welcomes entries from around the world to our artistic community in SE Minnesota – Winona. The contest originated as an extension of the Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF), founded in 2004.

In 2012, the contest was renamed in 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, took over directorship of the contest and, under his leadership, the contest grew to reach poets from around the world. In 2022, entries were submitted from 42 U.S. states, plus Washington, DC, and 10 other countries.

We appreciate your interest in the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest and look forward to your participation in 2023. Entries will be accepted from January 15 through June 1, 2023. Please carefully review and follow entry instructions on the How to Enter page. If you have any questions, please email

The 2022 Sonnet Contest Celebrate the Sonnet Event was held on Saturday, July 30th. The winners were announced and many read their sonnets at this online celebration. Actors from the Great River Shakespeare Festival also read winning sonnets.