Complete Collection of the Haiku Society of America Rengay Awards - 2023

Haiku Society of America Rengay Award
in Honor of Garry Gay


Judged by
Marcyn Del Clements & Seren Fargo
Judges Commentary


2023 First Place


Yellowing Maple

Japanese garden—
the emptiness
of the teahouse

grass in the cherry orchard
wet with dew

stepping stones . . .
different languages
in the air

hungry koi —
the moonbridge crowded
with children

the calligraphy
of pine branches

a turtle sunning
at the pond’s edge—
yellowing maple

Ion Codrescu 1, 3 & 5
Michael Dylan Welch 2, 4 & 6


2023 Second Place


Color of Life

rising early                                   
the woodpecker’s head
flicking wood chips

a Cortland apple                          
polished on flannel

meeting in the middle                   
of the row of raspberries
full buckets

sweat beads                                 
tilting back
a cherry coke

licking a drop of blood
from a fingertip

snapping his suspenders             
the old Farmall tucked away
in the barn

Jacquie Pearce 1, 3 & 5
Alan S. Bridges 2, 4 & 6


2023 Third Place - tie


Sky Dance

a killdeer's cry
as it circles overhead 
red sky at morning 

criss-crossing the wrack line
ruddy turnstones

incoming tide
a swirl of plovers 
lands at my feet

the back and forth
of waves
of sanderlings

phalaropes spinning 
in the saltmarsh shallows

first of spring
the evening sky dance
of a woodcock

Kristen Lindquist 1, 3 & 5
Alan S. Bridges 2, 4 & 6


2023 Third Place - tie



morning mist
a dew drop slides down
the mango leaf

green papaya’s bitter edge
monsoon heat

night showers
singing your name
red hibiscus

after the downpour . . .
chattering crows drown out
the muezzin

sugarcane harvest
a whiff of afternoon toil

the pregnant tabby laps
from an oxcart rut

Neena Singh 1, 3 & 5
Billie Dee 2, 4 & 6

2023 Honorable Mentions (in judges' rank order)


A Day Between

an osprey preens
our canoe
glides into spring

rainbow trout tails flash
in the morning light

a lazy whirlpool
stirs the clouds

nearby campfire
scent of coffee  
soft breeze in the tall reeds

emergent daydream
paddle blades lifting water

pink sunset
the color of rose wine
stars rising

Lee Hudspeth 1, 3 & 5
Joan C. Fingon 2, 4 & 6



circus parade
the ballerina rides
an old elephant

stale peanuts
swirl of a juggler’s flames

       in the safety net
       empty trapeze

breathing life
              into a swan—
                     the balloon man

sideshow barker
the rattle of pocket change

his face-paint smile. . .
from behind her ear
an Anthony dollar

Billie Dee 1, 3 & 5
Richard L. Matta 2, 4 & 6




the variegated shades
of mourning

weaving pale buds           
into a wreath

her photo draped
with orchid leis

freeze frame                     
shot before the blossom
falls to the ground

rosemary flowers               
in our potpourri

fading light                         
we wrap ourselves
in our stories

Carol Judkins 1, 3 & 5
Lorraine A Padden 2, 4 & 6


~ ~ ~




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.