Jasper/Nick Shakespearean Sonnet Contest

shakespeare Shakespeare wrote 154 of them –

            You ought to have at least one in you.


“All the world's a stage,” William Shakespeare wrote, “and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”

The question is: would you like to play the part of a poet?  Jasper Magazine and the Nickelodeon Theatre want to cast you in that role.

Announcing The Jasper Magazine – Nickelodeon Theatre Shakespearean Sonnet Contest, presented in conjunction with and in celebration of the Nick’s upcoming Forever and A Day: Shakespeare Film Adaptation Series, which will feature screening of movies based on Shakespearean plays. (Titles, dates, and details TBA soon.)

In addition to his stage plays, Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, and Jasper think that means you must have at least one in you.  What's a sonnet?  Jasper hears your high school English teacher sighing deeply somewhere in the distance, but here's a quick refresher:

14 lines of iambic pentameter.  That's fancy Greek, shoehorned into English, for 10 syllables per line, each with a short-long beat.  Example:  "The bumblebee was flying through the air," which sounds like "the BUMble BEE was FLYing THROUGH the AIR" when you read it aloud. Or "The Nick and Jasper Magazine are cool!"

The first three verses have to have an ABAB rhyme scheme, so the first and third line lines rhyme with each other, and so do the second and fourth. Example:

I saw a cat

Which saw a dog;

I wore a hat,

Because of fog.

And then the final two lines must rhyme with each other. 14 lines total, no more, no less. Google "Shakespearean Sonnet" if you need details or further examples.

The topic can be anything you wish, and up to three entries per person will be accepted.


  • Deadline is Sunday, December 8th.
  • The winning sonnet will be published in Jasper Vol.  003, No. 003 (which will come out on January 16th, 2014) and will also be read at the opening reception for the Shakespeare Film Adaptation Series.
  • There is no fee to enter.
  • Do NOT put your name on your entry.
  • DO include a cover sheet with your name, e-mail  address, and the name of your sonnet.
  • Send entries to Editor@JasperColumbia.com with “Sonnet” in the subject heading.

Intimidated?  Don't be.  Just let your words flow “trippingly on the tongue,” as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet. “Let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the action.”


Have fun, and Jasper looks forward to reading your compositions!