Earlier Shakespeare's Birthday Sonnet Contest winning entries
This article is about Shakespeare's Birthday Sonnet Contest past winners. For other articles about Shakespeare's Birthday, see Shakespeare's Birthday (disambiguation).
Each April, the O.B. Hardison Poetry Series sponsors the Shakespeare's Birthday Sonnet Contest for students in grades 3 through 12 in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia to submit original sonnets. A judge selects the top sonnet in each of the following categories: grades 3-6, grades 7-9, grades 10-12.
2010 winning entries
Clay Tamburri, winner, grades 4-6
At first you were bragging about your skill
And I just smirked and focused on the board.
Everything was good in the game until
You captured my queen with your claymore sword.
You laughed and said, "I'm really good at chess,"
But I didn't care, I just stared at the squares,
And said quietly, "I couldn't care less."
Just then, I had a plan to get your mares.
I captured your horses and laughed out loud,
And you started losing your tame temper.
Right after you got over your mad cloud
of anger, you saw your king in danger.
At first you thought that you were really great,
But I had the pleasure to say "Checkmate!"
Nina Moiseiwitsch, winner, grades 7-9
The sweater only meant to keep me warm
On chilly April days when words became
Ice crystals shining through the thin air torn
By whipping wind; despite your obvious claim,
I rightly took it to mean more when you
With eager hands told me it was my own.
Desire placed seeds of hope it might be true
A sweater could keep you here as your roam
Where I may always feel your memory.
So even when you’re far away up North
Where winds howl loud, I’ll know in every
day I’ve got a piece of you left henceforth
With me to warm my back- and soul- in cold
So blossoms grow anew there and unfold.
She Makes Him
Nora Sandler, winner, grades 10-12
She knows her place: in the acknowledgements,
On the back page. Or, more cryptically,
The dedication, measured to make sense
To her alone, addressed elliptically.
He sees her shadow lean against the wall
And pins it there, so he can better note
These lines: a curling finger and the small
Curve of her back, the neat edge of her throat.
She knows her job: to smile and lightly touch
With fingertips, to break up into neat
Straight lines, and not to hang around too much.
He is her one great work, almost complete.
She lets him trace those lines a while more,
Then leaves the house, and softly shuts the door.
2009 winning entries
Elizabethan Style: A Sonnet'
Claire Spaulding, winner, grades 4-6
Elizabethan fashion was the rage,
All silk and velvet, pearl and fancy stone,
From commoners to actors on the stage,
The rich and wealthy nobles set the tone.
The ladies wore high ruffs and fancy gowns,
The men wore velvet shirts with puffy sleeves,
And for the royalty, bejeweled gold crowns,
A fancy-schmansy look they did achieve.
Corsets the people had to suffer through,
And women wore their hoop-skirts ev’ry day,
To have to dress like that would make me blue,
But living now, I never will…I pray!
Although it’s fun to dress like kings and queens,
I still prefer my t-shirt and my jeans.
Elizabeth Ryan, winner, grades 7 -9
He wanders in six minutes past the bell
His smile is hiding some secret sin
Angel-named demon, his haven my hell
The aura around implies where he's been.
Pupils are pin-points in eyes brown and warm
Twinkling brightly, but hiding deep pain
Framed by dark lashes that mask secret storm
Fills me with feelings I cannot explain.
He turns to the side. I gaze at his hair.
It matches his morals; tangled, unbound.
It's pointless, but I can't help it, I care.
He's lost and he chooses not to be found.
He's trouble, he's danger, all this I know.
I can't have him, but I can't let him go.
Nights of Adolescence
Steph Kiefer, winner, grades 10-12
In the empty cornfield, under the stars,
you and I lay in silence, listening
to the guitar chords and the bass of cards.
Immersed in cigarette smoke, my christening:
you trace the smoky symbols with your fingers,
explaining how tomorrow never knows.
Voice waltzing in my ear, and it lingers
As you tell me I'm your Baltimore rose.
Stubbled chin pressed against my smooth cheek,
the 'click' of your plastic lighter, treble
to our midnight symphony. We don't speak,
the classic tale of a girl and her rebel.
Green eyes meet blue under the iridescence,
oh, the nights of adolescence.
O, to be Stylish
Ali Ruth, winner, fashion theme
My thorax, cinched by wicked corset, heaves;
Immobilized—alas!—by whalebone sides.
Poor arms ensconced in pufferfish-like sleeves
Weep o’er these fads that everyone abides.
Like suffocating serpents of the wrists
These gloves, festooned with ruffled lace upon them;
Yet worse? These gilded brooches, fat as fists,
Beseeming—but beware to those who don them!
Shackled in jewels and gold embroidery,
‘Tis nigh impossible to freely romp.
O, would that I were clad as peasantry,
For comfort outlasts frippery and pomp.
To be or not to be a girdled rose?
Nay—merrier I’d be in peasant’s clothes.
2008 winning entry
Ashley McBride, winner, grades 10-12
Beats pulsating, lyrics flowing, music
Weezy, Boys 2 Men, Chris Brown, Lauryn Hill
When music leaves the speaker it's so sick
The way it sounds, the way it makes me feel
I can't imagine my life without it
Sanctuary, my home away from home
Beats pump out and you listen while you sit
On T.V. and even on the cell phone
Some talk about love, others discuss pain
Some producers like their creations slow
Some praise God, others say his name in vain
Some are loud and proud and want you to know
This is why I am in love with music
You should listen to it, it's exquisite