Of the seven renku for the contest we chose three as best of those submitted. Grand Prize was awarded to: “Circles of Strangers,” a summer kasen renku by Christopher Herold & Carol O’Dell. "Circles of Strangers" was awarded a Grand Prize because of the consistently high quality of its verses, the variety of subject matter which gives a liveliness to the poem, and adherence to the renku form.
Honorable Mention went to: “Streaks of Dawn,” a winter kasen renku by Allan Burns, Christopher Herold, & Ron Moss. Good quality of verses and an effective ending sequence (verses 34 through 36).
Second Honorable Mention went to: “Gunnysack,” a summer nijuin renku by John Stevenson, Hilary Tann, Paul MacNeil, & Yu Chang. This renku has an exceptionally strong opening sequence (verses one through three) and a good variety in subject matter.
Criteria for selection were five: adherence to the renku form; quality of the opening and closing sequence; quality, originality, and variety of verses; variety in tone, rhetoric, and person from verse to verse; and effectiveness of the links.
Jerry Ball & Patricia Machmiller, 2009 Judges