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2017 Haiku Society of America Renku Awards

The Haiku Society of America sposors this annual award for reku of 36, 20, or 12 stazas. (Renku is a form of renga). See also the contest rules ad the judges' commentary for the HSA Renku Awards. For more information about the goals of this contest, download a copy of the HSA Renku Contest Committee Report (pdf) published in Frogpod XIII:2 (May 1990).

Awards by year: 2017 | 2016 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001




Renku Judges
Ron C. Moss and Ferris Gilli

Grand Prize

Glacial Boulder
John Stevenson (coordinator), Nassau, NY
Yu Chang, Schenectady, NY
Tom Clausen, Ithaca, NY
Paul MacNeil, Ocala, FL
Hilary Tann, Schuylerville, NY

Honorable Mention

From the Vine
John Stevenson (coordinator), Nassau, NY
Polona Oblak, Ljubljana, Slovenia



2017 HSA Award for Renku

Grand Place Award:

Glacial Boulder


John Stevenson (coordinator), Nassau, NY
Yu Chang, Schenectady, NY
Tom Clausen, Ithaca, NY
Paul MacNeil, Ocala, FL
Hilary Tann, Schuylerville, NY

a glacial boulder
and an ancient pine—
deepening shade
Paul MacNeil
back and forth
John Stevenson
she selects
an embroidered bureau scarf
from the bargain bin
Hilary Tan
the new hire snags
a twelfth floor office
Yu Chang
college observatory
open to the public
for moon viewing
Tom Clausen
candied apples
as party favors
much puzzlement
in the voting booths
this year
I retrace my steps
to take the path not chosen

a war hero
fnds his sweetheart
in Japan

the flight of time
embracing her
what can only
be said to
the memory of you

a web search
for “runes”
of a moonlit fox
in the daguerrotype
the snowmobile
speeds into a hairpin
finishes first
at the Rio Olympics
bagging the summit
with bated breath
tight buds
about to burst
into peonies
the miser relishes
his tax refund
frog chorus
drowned out by
children’s laughter
class clown
the butt of a joke
her stage fright
as she takes it all off
for a steamy scene
falls in love
with his cooking
to the bedroom
while the sourdough
a murmuration
swirls and swerves
police presence
during the fireworks
bathers and paddlers
at the seashore
he’s the kind of guy
who dabbles
in black magic
no exit from the theatre
of the absurd
the waning moon
is still enough
for me
a few yellow leaves
dancing in the wind
the stubble field
stretching the long
rays of late sunlight
town park cannon
quiet for generations
the carillon
slowly plays
the Westminster chimes
once more turning the soil
in the raised beds
just beneath
the cherry blossoms
all my little hopes
brindled colts
canter into the meadow

• • •




2017 HSA Award for Renku

Honorable Mention:

From the Vine


Polona Oblak, Ljubljana, Slovenia
John Stevenson (coordinator), Nassau, NY

cloudless sky
the warmth of tomatoes
straight from the vine

stretching the batik pattern
of a well-worn hammock

my cousin
shows me a few grips
on his guitar

the ticket stub serves
as a book marker

of totem poles
against the rising moon

lonely for you on longer nights
of this Northern Hemisphere

regretting her marriage
whenever she hears
the wild geese call

who knows what “Brexit”
will really mean in ten years?

the dentist suggests
a surgical extraction
of wisdom teeth

new tamping machines
for the cemetery

a sprinkle
of brown sugar melting
over oatmeal

the moon reveals
a pack of hunting wolves

still paranoid
even though the weed
is now legal

an incomplete entry
in Captain Nemo’s log

young lovers
unable to keep their hands
to themselves

I’ll never dance again
to our song!

hard rains
a mountain stream

a train accelerates
through greening fields

cherry petals
on the soles
of a row of shoes

the laughter of children
popping soap bubbles

• • •



Judges' Commentary for 2017:

We are pleased to award Grand Prize in the 2017 competition to Glacial Boulder, a summer kasen renku. During our many readings of the entries, this poem drew us back more than any other. The opening hokku is steeped in traditional imagery and is a fine start for this winning entry. Several other desirable qualities should be noted: the variety and unexpectedness of the stanzas; the clarity of language; the overall freshness; and the satisfaction in discovering the links between stanzas. Some links are more subtle than others, and studying and solving their small mysteries was fun (and educational). Moving from candied apples / as party favors (the sixth stanza in the jo) into the ha presents an easily realized, delightful link and shift.

The variety in the types of linking is a major asset. There’s always a place for humour and the amusing linking between class clown / the butt of a joke (stanza 20) and her stage fright / she takes it all off / for a steamy scene is a treat. Also notable is powerful imagery between the stubble field / stretching the long / rays of sunlight and town park cannon / quiet for generations at the beginning of the kyu. The lively verse, brindled colts / canter into the meadow, brings the renku to a satisfying close.

From the Vine, a summer nijuin renku, held our attention for Honorable Mention. Again, we enjoyed the types of linking. One of the most interesting links was found between the dentist suggests / a surgical extraction / of wisdom teeth to new tamping machines / for the cemetery—the mind boggles. There is a wonderful flow of diverse imagery in the opening section that moves from warm tomatoes under a cloudless sky to a well-worn hammock and on to grips on a guitar, to finish with a ticket stub as a book marker. We appreciated the intriguing shifts, the inclusion of current events, and the interesting transition from the end of the middle section to the fast close of the last four stanzas.

About the Judges:

Ron C. Moss lives in Tasmania and has been writing haiku and related genres since 1999. In that time he has published over a thousand haiku worldwide and his haiku appear in many collections and prestigious anthologies. Ron’s many awards include Lionel Einbond Renku Competition, which he has won three times with his partners. His first collection, The Bone Carver, won the Snapshot Press Book Award, the Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Award and Honorable Mention in the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Awards. Ron is often asked to judge competitions and has acted as an editor on a wide variety of projects. He is also a visual artist and award-winning photographer, often combining his poetry and art online and in various exhibitions. He has travelled to New Zealand and the United States to give presentations and workshops of his art and poetry. Ron’s latest collection, Bushfire Moon, contains haiku and prose written about his experiences as a Tasmanian volunteer firefighter.

Ferris Gilli lives in the Southern USA.  Her work in haiku and related genres has appeared regularly in eminent haiku journals since 1996.  Since December 2000, she has been an Associate Editor of The Heron's Nest, a renowned on-line and paper-volume haiku journal.  As well as winning numerous prizes in well-known haiku competitions, she has won First Prize (shared with collaborating poets) multiple times in the Lionel Einbond Renku Competition.  She is a frequent judge for a number of prestigious contests, which have included World Haiku Club Renku Competition, HSA Haiku Competition; HSA Haibun Contest; University of Alabama’s 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th Annual Sakura Haiku Contest; California's Central Valley Haiku Club Competition; and Haiku Poets of Northern California International Haiku, Senryu and Tanka Competition.  Ferris’s haiku collection, Shaped by the Wind, was published in 2006 by Snapshot Press.




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