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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 2023, entries were submitted from 43 U.S. states and 16 other countries.

We appreciate your interest in the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest and look forward to your participation in this year's contest. The entry period is now closed. If you have any questions, please email

The 2023 Celebrate the Sonnet Event announced the winners of this year's contest. All of the winning sonnets were read at a special online/in person event on Saturday, July 15th at 11:00am CDT. More information is available here.

Watch the video on our Events page