The 2022 Contest Entry Period is now closed.

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 2020, entries were submitted from 13 countries and 39 U.S. states.

We appreciate your interest in the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest and look forward to your participation in 2022. If you have any questions, please email

The 2021 Sonnet Contest Closing Event was held on Saturday, July 31st. The winners were announced and many read their sonnets at this online celebration. Actors from the Great River Shakespeare Festival and our judges also read winning sonnets. Visit our Events page to view the video.