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
Jerry Ball is a founder of Haiku North America and the Southern California Haiku Study Group and has been President of the Haiku Society of America for two terms. He has published five books of haiku, the most recent being Pieces of Eight (2005).
Patricia Machmiller is a past president of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, and a columnist for its journal Geppo. She has published a book of her own haiku, Blush of Winter Moon (2001), and together with Fay Aoyagi translated Kiyoko's Sky: Haiku of Kiyoko Tokutomi ( Brooks Books, 2002).