2012 Rengay Contest results (with Judge's comments)

2012 Rengay Contest

Judge:   John Steveson



First Place ($100)




Beverley George, Australia

David Terelinck, Australia



holds the laughter

of a passerby                                    Beverley


     we snuggle deeper

     into home-spun angora               David


you tell me a story

in Pooh Bear’s

mumbly voice                                  Beverley


     unread pages

     marked with a snapshot

     of our last trip                             David


never able to discard

that crazy hat you bought me          Beverley


     rummage sale—

     how cheaply we priced

     those memories…                       David



One thing that makes this stand out for me is the harmonious blending of voices; both poets are on key throughout and neither dominates.  There are no snags to interfere with the flow of images through the entire piece. The individual verses stand up well enough but are immensely enhanced by their surroundings. I wonder if there is an intention to give a nod to an earlier rengay with this same title, by Garry Gay and Cherie Hunter Day.


Second Place    


Second Place


Celluloid Moon


David Terelinck, Australia

Beverley George, Australia


midnight screening

falling asleep beneath

a celluloid moon…                             David


     mae it was who said, too much

     of a good thing…is wonderful       Beverley


lifeboat drill—

a bloody mary sunset

on foreign seas                                    David


     spinning globe…

     the lives and errant dreams

         of strangers                                    Beverley


the rightness of the voice

that says sorry, wrong number           David



     are what we have

     to save us from ourselves               Beverley



This collaboration travels smoothly through a land of illusions. Since so much of it either relates directly to cinema or invokes cinema and since movies are rife with their own themes, this rengay has a spiky thematic quality that makes it stand out from the other offerings.



Third Place


Bubble Gum Bubbles


John Thompson, Santa Rosa, CA

Renée Owen, Sebastopol, CA


pink camellia

floating in a bowl

the layers of her dream                      John


waking at dawn

the front yard flamingo’ed                 Renée 


morning glow

what I know of love

I know from you                                John


day moon

the baby discovers

his toes                                               Renée  


popping the giant

bubble gum bubble                            John


before sleep…

in bedtime stories

even pigs fly                                       Renée



The whole piece is “flamingo’ed” from beginning to end. Funny and sweet – a winning combination.



Honorable Mention 


The Sound of Frost


Angela Terry, Lake Forest Park, WA

Cara Holman, Portland, OR

Julie Warther, Dover, OH


breaking open

a fortune cookie

the sound of frost                                      Angela


what he says

what he doesn’t                                        Cara


woodpecker taps

he only pretends to know

Morse code                                               Julie


winter solstice…

twelve toots from the calliope                  Angela


approaching storm

a symphony

of wind chimes                                         Cara



she slams the door behind him                Julie



A gorgeous opening verse. I wonder if “the sound of frost” might, in some small way, relate to Robert Frost’s “sound of sense.” He sometimes gave, as an example of this, the way a conversation heard through a wall or a closed door can make sense even when the words are inaudible and one has only the rhythms and tones of speech to go on. The door slam in the last verse seems apropos.



Judge’s Comments:


My understanding of rengay is simple and, as a consequence, I applied a limited set of criteria. Rengay are written around a theme or, sometimes, multiple themes. Each verse should be capable of standing alone. And the interplay of the collaborating poets and of the various elements of the work is a central aesthetic value.


                                                                            John Stevenson