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Shakespeare's Birthday

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2007 Sonnet Contest Winners

Read the three winning sonnets of our 2007 Shakespeare's Birthday Sonnet Contest!
Students in grades 3-12 were invited to send in their original sonnets to be reviewed by a panel of judges from the Folger staff.  Sonnet entries had to follow the Shakespearean sonnet form: iambic pentameter with an ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyming scheme.  The winners were announced on April 29, 2007 at the Folger Shakespeare Library's annual celebration of Shakespeare's Birthday.  All winners received the Folger edition of Shakespeare's Sonnets signed by the editors.  The first place winner's sonnet was published in the Hill Rag and also received a complete set of Folger Library Shakespeare editions signed by the editors.
1st Place Winner
Maddie Whittle, age 16

The Sun that pierces Night with radiant fire

To bear triumphant Day across the East

Doth, in his pride and jubilance, expire

That cruel fiend that doth on pleasure feast.

Just as the wearied sailor is consol'd

When, on the dark horizon, home appears,

Thy sweet voice, which I covet more that gold

Doth swiftly dry my lonely, tired tears.

For nothing more than thee doth bring me peace

When hope is lost and all is misery -

Thy beauty pays the debt for my release

When bitter darkness hath imprison'd me.

Thy love is like a candle in the night -

A single flame to make the darkness bright!

2nd Place Winner
Michelle May, age 17


There are/ times my/ homework's/ length is/ shorter

And at/ other/ times it/ is just/ real long

Essay/ or I/ambic/ penta/meter

You can/ be sure/ it will/ always/ be wrong

Sometimes/ I real/ly hate/ to do/ it all.

And at/ other/ times I/ have lots/ of fun.

But which/ever/ atti/tude does/ befall

If A's/ are hand/ed out/ I won't/ get one.

But this/ should not/ be a/ surprise/ to you

Always/ what I/ do comes/ out ab/normal

Though you/ may doubt/ this is/ really/ all true

Doing/ homework/ right I/ find so/ dismal

But it's/ no big/ deal I/ just do/ my best

One day/ I'll get/ past those/ "C"s I/ detest

3rd Place Winner
Margaret Maguire, age 13

She sighs sadly, she's been here far too long,
It frightens her how well she knows this place.
Is it obvious that something is wrong?
That she'd rather be off painting someplace?

Sometimes she wonders why she doesn't quit,
She looks around, her answer appears.
Her coworkers, though they lack humor and wit,
Have been there through years of laughter and tears.

All of them can put a smile on her face,
With a kind word or an interesting fact.
As for her boss? Well, we all make mistakes,
But how could someone have such little tact?

Now with that thought in mind, she feels stronger,
and knows that she'll survive one day longer.


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