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The Garry Gay Rengay Award was added to the list of annual contests sponsored by the Haiku Society of America in 2020. Named after the inventor of the form, the HSA contest is only the second international-level competition for rengay.

The first annual Garry Gay Rengay Award competition sponsored by the Haiku Society of America took place in April and May 2020. Cash awards were $200 for 1st Prize, $100 for 2nd, and $50 for 3rd. Winning rengay were published in Frogpond and on the HSA website.

Garry Gay and Renée Owen, the judges for the inaugural contest, developed the following list of important ingredients to look for in an exemplary rengay and used it to inform their selections:

  • Adherence to Form—2-person rengay (3/2/3/3/2/3) and 3-person rengay (3/2/3/2/3/2).
  • Compelling Themes—at least one discernible primary theme with a possible bonus for a secondary theme. 
  • Universality of Meaning—why the poem matters and what it speaks to. 
  • Effective Haiku—preferably strong haiku that carry enough weight to stand on their own.
  • Linking & Shifting—linking creates a pleasing flow, with 2-line stanzas linking well with the lines directly above and below, while the shift adds a new dimension.
  • Interesting Title—especially compelling if it doesn’t echo a line from the first few stanzas.
  • Exceptional Writing Style—incorporates poetic techniques, fresh imagery and word choices, a variety of sensory details, varied line/stanza structure, noteworthy sounds (like alliteration, consonance, etc.), avoids clichés and contains no spelling or grammatical errors. 
  • Sense of Mystery or Something Left Unsaid—to engage and stimulate the reader. 
  • Satisfactory Ending—a sense of completion and a possible link between the final and first stanza. 
  • Multiple Rereadings—the poem continues to deepen and hold our interest.

The names of the poets and their winning rengay are listed below.

2020 Garry Gay Rengay Award

Garry Gay and Renée Owen
Contest Coordinator
Chuck Brickley, HSA Second Vice President
Number of entries68 from 6 countries
First Place
Lew Watts and Tanya McDonald
“Left Behind”
Second Place
Jennifer Burd, Michele Root-Bernstein, and Laszlo Slomovits

“Spaces Between”
Third PlaceJennifer Burd, Michele Root-Bernstein, and Laszlo Slomovits
“Translating Twilight”
Honorable Mention (4)
Ron C. Moss and Simon Hanson

“Scorched Earth”

David Terelinck and Beverley George

“Shifting Shale”

Angela Terry and Julie Warther

“Still the Daylilies”

John Thompson and Michael Sheffield

“Sunday Saunter”

Compiled by: Chuck Brickley and the Haikupedia editors

Adapted from: “Annual Contests Sponsored by the HSA.” Haiku Society of America website: http://www.hsa-haiku.org/hsa-contests.htm; and “2020 Garry Gay Rengay Award Contest Judges’ Commentary.” Haiku Society of America website: http://hsa-haiku.org/rengayawards/rengay-judges2020.htm.



San Francisco International Rengay Contest

Garry Gay

Updated on May 23, 2021