Rengay is a six-verse collaborative poem usually by two or three writers using a set pattern of three-line and two-line haiku. Unlike renga or renku collaborations, all six poems focus on at least one unifying theme. Having a theme is the most important characteristic of rengay. Garry Gay invented the rengay form in 1992, and together Garry and I wrote the very first one, “Deep Winter,” on 9 August 1992, in Foster City, California. On 18 November 1993, I also wrote the first three-person rengay, “A Rain of Leaves,” with Claire and Patrick Gallagher, in Sunnyvale, California, and the first six-person rengay, “Journey in Blue,” on 28 April 2002 in Santa Rosa, California. I also published articles in Frogpond and Woodnotes that first began to popularize rengay, and the form is now written widely in many languages. I believe the first published rengay was “Between Storms” by Garry Gay and John Thompson, which appeared in Romania in Albatross Volume 2, Number 2, in January of 1993. In 1995, with Garry Gay and John Thompson, I published the first book of rengay, Hammerhorn Lake. Since 1995, the Haiku Poets of Northern California has sponsored a rengay contest. I have judged this contest numerous times (including the first one), and have won first prize in the contest seven times (plus second and third prizes, and honourable mentions). In 2014, I published a book of solo rengay, titled True Colour. In 2020, the Haiku Society of America started the Garry Gay Rengay Contest, and the first rengay journal, Tandem, began in 2021.
To see links to rengay I’ve written solo or with two, three, or six writers, please visit my new Rengay website.
For renku and other collaborative writing, please see the Collaborations page. See also the Rengay page I run on Facebook. + + + +
First-Prize Winners from HPNC Rengay Contests
These are my rengay that have won first prize in the HPNC rengay contest, which began in 1995 (links go to my Rengay website). The first six of the following rengay are also available in Six Rengay, a free downloadable flyer available in PDF format on my Trifolds page. +
1998: Dying Spark by Rich Krivcher, John Thompson, and Michael Dylan Welch
2000: Cornstalk Twisting by Michael Dylan Welch and Lenard D. Moore
2003: The Hilltop Castle by Michael Dylan Welch and Ikuyo Yoshimura
2005: Inside Passage by Michael Dylan Welch and Dejah Léger
2007: Sixth Sense by Tom Clausen and Michael Dylan Welch
2008: Returning by Michael Dylan Welch and Alice Frampton
2015: Weighing In by Michael Dylan Welch and Sonja Arntzen