Millikin University Haiku Writer Profile

Garry Gay

Garry Gay

  Along the way
an old oak branch
becomes a walking stick
by Garry Gay

Biographical Background

Garry Gay was born in 1951 in Glendale, California.  In 1974, he graduated from the Brooks Institute of Photography with a BPA.  Ever since he graduated from the institute, Gay has been utilizing his skills as a professional photographer.  In 1993, Gay began creating digital images and has built quite a reputation and skill. He is currently a member of Advertising Photographers of America, Film Arts Foundation, Friends of Photography, Artrails, and the Cultural Arts Council of Sonoma County.  Gay continues to use his photographic background to enhance and further the meaning of his haiku.

Gay was greatly influenced by the works of Matsuo Basho, especially Narrow Road to the Deep North.  Gay began writing his haiku in 1975, and he has written in continuously since then.  He co-founded the Haiku Poets of Northern California in 1989.  He served as the groupís first president for one year.  In 1991, Gay was elected the president of the Haiku Society of America.  While this was a great honor, Gay is more widely known for his creation of a new poetic form.  The ěRengay,î a linked haiku that is usually written trough collaborative exchange, was influenced by the ěRenku.î  This form was greatly explored by Basho throughout his life.  Gay is currently living in California with his wife, Melinda, and his daughter, Alissa.

Leadership and Poetry Service

1989-1990-Co-founder and first president Haiku Poets of Northern California

1990-Created Two Autumns reading series along with Two Autumns Chapbooks. Founded Two Autumns Press.

1991-Haiku Society of America President

1991-Co-founded Haiku North America

1991-Created the video "Haiku Spotlight"

1992-Created the "Rengay" poetic form

1996-Co-founded the American Haiku Archives

1998-2000-Chairman of the library committee for the American Haiku Archives

1999-Since the creation of Haiku North America to the present, board member to place the conference every two years in North America

This profile of haiku writer, Gary Gay, was researched, written and created by Eddie Morosini and Julie Weightman.

See Julie Weightman's essay on Garry Gay:

Garry Gay: Haiku Leader

Scroll through the entire profile, or jump to any section:

Author Awards

1994-1st place
Nature Company "Haiku For The Earth" contest.

1994-1st place
San Francisco International Senryu contest-HPNC

1995-1st place
Nature Company Haiku Contest.

1995-Editor’s Choice Award
Brussels Sprouts magazine.

1997-Japan Foundation Travel Grant.

1998-Special Haiku Award
SBS Shizuoka Broadcasting Award, Japan

"The Virgil Hutton Haiku Memorial Award Chapbook Contest

1999-1st place Tanka
Yellow Moon Literature Award-Australia

1999-Courage Award in English Division
10th Itoen Haiku Contest-Japan

"Snapshot Collection Competition" for "Along the Way."

Author's Books

The Billboard Cowboy (Smythe-Waithe Press: Kentfield, CA ), 1982.

The Silent Garden (Smythe-Waithe Press: Kentfield, CA ), 1982.

Wings of Moonlight (Smythe-Waithe Press: Windsor, CA ), 1993.

River Stones (Saki Press: Normal, IL), 1999. (A Virgil Hutton Haiku Memorial Award Chapbook Contest Winner).

The Long Way Home, Online. Brooks Books, 2000.

He is a publisher and one of the three editors of The San Francisco Haiku Anthology.



Reader Responses

Along the way
an old oak branch

becomes a walking stick

Garry Gay concentrates on bringing about a feeling in his haiku.  He often pairs the poem with a photograph to lend the image that he desires to the readerís mind.  This image is not the only one that Gay wants the reader to see, but rather it is the first one that he wants to appear.  From the poem, Gay is able to invoke an image and feeling that the reader might have forgotten from long ago.  His standard in poems is to bring in nature and let the reader digress to a place of less frustration. 

His collections of poems become a journey for the reader to take.  It is not a difficult one, but rather it is a journey that allows the reader to become everything possible.  It aids the reader in escaping times of trouble for a more suitable place.  The poems are merely a walking stick on the journey through life.

—Eddie Morosini


Additional Web Links and Resources

The Long Way Home, Online Collection of Photography & Haiku (Brooks Books)

email Garry Gay at:


haiku conferences haiku courses at Millikin Modern Haiku magazine
speakers & readings haiku competitions at MU student renga
student haiku projects published haiku by students links to haiku web sites
student research on haiku haiku by Millikin students directory of haiku magazines


© 2001, Dr. Randy Brooks• Millikin University
last updated 8/16/01 • about this web site