CT Shakespeare Festival Sonnet Writing Contest 2021

Sonnet Writing Contest in Celebration of the Connecticut Shakespeare Festival


In celebration of the inaugural season of the Connecticut Shakespeare Festival, Playhouse on Park and River Bend Bookshop are co-hosting a Sonnet Writing Contest. 

Submissions are due July 22, all entries must be made via Submittable.

There are two Sonnet Categories, and two Age Divisions within each category.



Adhering to a traditional structure, this contest is for a 14-line sonnet, comprised of three quatrains and a couplet, observing the ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyme scheme, in iambic pentameter.



This contest is for a contemporary take on a sonnet. Submissions do not need to adhere to the traditional structure but do need to include at least one recognizable element: line count, rhyme scheme, meter, or volta (twist). Contemporary sonnets are not to exceed 200 words each.



Open to all ages. Categories for Youth Poets (under 22) and Adult Poets (age 23+).



- Winners are invited to present their poem live during a Green Show at the CT Shakespeare Festival during the week of August 17, and will receive free admission for two to the evening performance. Rehearsal with the assistance of members of the Playhouse on Park is available to help with stage presence and projection.

- All entries will be considered for inclusion in the CT Shakespeare Festival Poetry Anthology. All contributors will receive a free contributor copy.



- Only unpublished work will be considered for this contest.

- Submissions may include up to 3 poems per entry, which may stand alone or read together in a series. Please put all submissions in one document and note clearly at the top if they are individual or a series.

- Multiple submissions are allowed, and you are invited to participate in both the traditional and contemporary writing contests – each submission is subject to separate submission fees.

- Themes are open, though we encourage you to write in praise of someone/something beloved (an ode).

- We acquire non-exclusive serial rights upon acceptance. This includes the right to publish your material on our websites and in the CT Shakespeare Festival Poetry Anthology. The author retains all rights of their work.

- Attendance at the Festival, and live reading of winning pieces is optional, but of course preferred.



- A short “history and how-to” on the Sonnet form is available from Rachel Richardson of the Poetry Foundation.

- Submission fees ($5 for up to 3 sonnets in a single category) will be used to cover processing fees from Submittable, cover print costs for complimentary contributor copies of the anthology and create signage and marketing materials for the contest. Additional funds raised will go toward the General Fund for Playhouse on Park, supporting live theatre and arts education.

- The anthology will be designed and published by River Bend Bookshop Press at no cost to the CT Shakespeare Festival. Anthologies will be available for purchase at Playhouse on Park and RiverBendBookshop.com. All proceeds go toward the General Fund for Playhouse on Park.

Submissions are due July 22, all entries must be made via Submittable.