Garry Gay and Renee Owen developed the following list of important ingredients they look for in an exemplary rengay.
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.
See the contest rules for the Garry Gay Rengay Award.