2016 Rengay results (with Judge's comments)

2016 Rengay (Judge:  Tanya McDonald)


First Place ($100)

Grand Arcade


Simon Hanson, Queensland, Australia

Beverley George, New South Wales, Australia



an old tram rattles past

shopfront windows                                                           Simon


Haigh’s chocolates dance

in reflected squares of light                                            Beverley


Pier hotel

colourful birds chatter

in the beer garden                                                                                Simon


grand arcade

little fingers smear the brass

of stairwell railings                                                          Beverley


an art deco chandelier

graces the Odeon foyer                                                                       Simon



the thump of cricket bats

the spires of St Peters                                                                         Beverley


This one stood out on my first reading and continued to shine with each subsequent return. I love the details and the use of multiple senses to describe the location. I can hear and feel the old tram's rattle, see (and almost taste) the chocolates in the window, hear the colorful birds (or patrons) in the beer garden. There's both a sense of nostalgia and wonder in this poem, which gives it a richness beyond a mere description of place. 



Second Place

Giving Thanks


Sarah Welch, Sammamish, WA

Michael Dylan Welch, Sammamish, WA


rising sun—

the frozen turkey

set out to bake                                                                                      Sarah


         a new chip

         in the best china                                                               Michael


the doorbell rings—

a speck of blood

on the potato peeler                                                          Sarah


napkins unfolded—

we keep passing

the green bean casserole                                                                     Michael


         on his cell phone

         father checks the football score                                    Sarah


setting sun—

a pumpkin pie

warm from the oven                                                         Michael


The theme of Thanksgiving is strong, and I appreciate the title for emphasizing the gratitude part of the holiday. Again, it's the details that stand out: a chip in the china, blood on the peeler, the circling green bean casserole. I also enjoy the unanswered questions and underlying tension: will the frozen turkey be thawed in time? Why does that green bean casserole keep getting passed around? The smooth progression from pre-meal to dessert feels as satisfying as a family gathering with plenty of food.


Third Place

Page Turners


John Thompson, Arroyo Grande, CA

Renée Owen, Sebastopol, CA


cabin retreat

I enter the book’s world

completely                                                                                            John


book of bottle caps

my small thoughts                                                            Renée


his library heroes

unable to contain themselves—

toppled bookends                                                                                John


calling in Poirot

sticky fingerprints

on her bookshelf                                                                                  Renée


tattered cookbooks

pages stained & splattered                                                                 John


mini-skirted speedster

the policeman struggles

to play by the book                                                           Renée


A clever title for a poem with a book theme. I enjoyed the playfulness and exploration of the theme, moving from actual books to bookends to a book shelf to the phrase "play by the book."


Honorable Mentions (not ranked)

Purple Haze


John Thompson, Arroyo Grande, CA

Renée Owen, Sebastopol, CA


bearded iris

making me forget

my hurry                                                                             John


humming Hendrix tunes

in the slow lane                                                                                    Renée


wheelless wheelbarrow

an abandoned poem’s

rusty patina                                                                                          John


Woolworth’s counter

he drinks Nehi

from the bottle                                                                                     Renée


crossword puzzle—

what’s a word for purple?                                                                  John


fried eggplant

we draw straws for grandma’s

cast iron skillet                                                                                     Renée



Rocking Chair


Ruth Yarrow, Ithaca, NY

Michael Dylan Welch, Sammamish, WA

Emiko Miyashita, Tokyo, Japan


the rocking chair’s

rhythmic squeak—

the baby finally burps                                                                         Ruth


          the museum chair

          with missing wickerwork                                             Michael


the chair he sits in

talking about torture—

his face shaded                                                                                    Emiko


          from a deep armchair

          grandma struggles to stand                                          Ruth


our highchair

boxed back up—

endless rain                                                                                           Michael


          a telephone cord stretched

          to the love seat                                                               Emiko