Complete Collection of the Haiku Society of America Rengay Awards - 2021

Haiku Society of America Rengay Award
in Honor of Garry Gay


Judged by
John Thompson and Jacquie Pearce
Judges Commentary

2021 rengay 1st

2021 First Place


Plein Air

first rays of light
through ripening raspberries 
mixing colors 

palette of blue
six eggs in a robin's nest

thunder showers 
stippled droplets on roses
watercolor scent

charcoal smudges
in sunlit storm clouds
a fingerprint 

staccato reflections
beneath my brush sounds of rain

so full
the moon among shadows
my inkwell spills 

by Joan Fingon and Orense Nicod 


2021 Second Place


Bending the Light

holding back tears
the fullness
of a gibbous moon

those ghosts I know
I have to live with

the orchid stems
after the bloom
longest night

each star
as if second chances
were real

the bend of light
through water

morning as it opens
a new window
of hope

by Julie Schwerin and Angela Terry


2021 Third Place



backyard bird call
lands on Mars

blast of solar wind
the dank of withered reeds

Venusian clouds
a biplane circles 
the sky above me

the half-moon betta
       sipping air
Europa’s hidden seas

cardinals at the feeder
snowfall on Pluto

Kepler’s star
the iron in my blood
blood red        

by Deborah P Kolodji and Billie Dee


2021 Honorable Mentions (unranked)


A Fading Memory 

pen and paper
not where i left them

a word for maple seeds
takes flight

her face 
so familiar
rosemary or lavender

our day
to visit cherry blossoms
missing keys

dandelion clock
time drifts away

thieving sprites
borrow my bouquets
twilight thickens 

by Marilyn Ashbaugh and Jeanne Cook




solstice moon
his planchette roams
my ouija board

each kiss summons ghosts
from the secrets of her curves

endless moans
the rise and fall
of our sheet

deepening shadows
the lights flicker
to our rhythms

on the wall
handprints linger

shuddering orgasms . . .
we exorcise
our inhibitions

by Lori A Minor and Joshua Gage



Golden Joinery

the path we follow
marked with deer droppings
first moccasin flowers

seed bombing
a vacant lot

rosy sunset
clouds above the smokestacks
just clouds 

the warmth
of the Earth on our backs
Lyrid meteors

a trash bag bulging
with roadside returnables

piecing our broken world
back together

by Kristen Lindquist and Alan S. Bridges



Letting Go

apron strings
the tender undoing
of knots

his kite unfurls
in the wind

spring break
sailboats on the bay
meander at cruising speed

macrame hammock
the shape of a day
measured in margaritas

water rings
on the burlwood table

enough for dinner
he loosens the slipknot
on the smallest perch

by Carol Judkins and Lorraine A. Padden



The Eye of a Loon

spring in the blood
a spruce grouse drums
on a mossy log

abandoned orchard
sap wells ring an apple tree

wild strawberries
the waxwings have left
a mouthful

in breeding plumage
a scarlet tanager sings
in the canopy

two cranes bend their heads
to the fresh-cut hayfield

a long yodel
the autumn sun sets
in the eye of a loon                             

by Kristen Lindquist and Alan S. Bridges


~ ~ ~




These awards for unpublished rengay are sponsored by the Haiku Society of America in honor of Garry Gay, the inventor of rengay.

Winners by Year: | 2024 | 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 ||

See the contest rules for entering the next Haiku Society of America Rengay Award competition. 


Ingredients We Look for in Exemplary Rengay:

by Garry Gay and Renee Owen

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 discernable 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.