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The theme for the 2018 VCBF Haiku Invitational will be harmony. How do you harmonize with the natural world and with others around you? Let the idea of harmony be your inspiration as you write about cherry blossoms for the 2018 VCBF Haiku Invitational.

Submit your entry here
[Entries have ended as of June 1 at 11:59 PDT]

Click here to enjoy 2017 winning selections

Top poems in six main categories (Vancouver, BC, Canada, United States, International and Youth) will receive celebrity readings and be featured in creative ways during the 2018 festival including publication in The Bulletin magazine, Haiku Canada newsletter, online publication in the newsletter of the Haiku Society of America, printing in a chapbook hand-folded and bound by Victoria-based Leaf Press and publication on the VCBF website. Winning poems will be read by Christopher Gaze at the VSO’s Tea & Trumpets Concert, at our media-kickoff event, Cherry Jam Downtown concert by media celebrity emcee and celebrated at Sakura Days Japan Fair  Leith Wheeler Haiku House.

Vancouver loves its flowering cherry trees – all 43,000 of them! While they bloom from March through May, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival invites you to celebrate their beauty with your haiku. The ephemeral nature of the blossoming of cherry trees teaches us all to celebrate life now. Similarly, haiku captures a fleeting moment in time with deep awareness and subtle appreciation. We encourage both budding and seasoned poets to join other poets from around the world (past submissions have arrived from as far away as Australia, Bangladesh, Croatia, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Malta, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom) in honouring our awe-inspiring cherry trees. The festival welcomes haiku submissions that capture the essence of cherry blossoms while honouring our relationships to each other and the natural world.

2018 Haiku Invitational Judge Bios:

Paul Chambers is an award-winning haiku poet and the founder and editor of the Wales Haiku Journal. He has published more than 200 poems in a range of international journals and anthologies. His first collection, This Single Thread, was shortlisted for the Haiku Foundation’s Distinguished Book Award in 2015, and in 2017 he published a landmark translation of haiku by the Spanish poet, Federico Garcia Lorca, in the Times Literary Supplement. His latest collection, Latitudes was published by Alba in November 2017. Paul lives in Newport, Wales.
  Tanya McDonald has coedited several haiku anthologies, including No Longer Strangers, Haiku Northwest’s 25th anniversary anthology. In 2014, she cojudged the Haiku Society of America’s Henderson Haiku Contest. She is the moon half of Seven Suns/ Seven Moons, a quirky, haiku-esque collaboration with Michael Dylan Welch, published in 2016. Her haiku have appeared in numerous haiku journals, several Red Moon anthologies, and A New Resonance 7 in 2011. She was a featured reader at the 25th annual Two Autumns reading in San Francisco. An active member of Haiku Northwest since 2008, she is currently the group’s vice-president. She resides in Woodinville, Washington.
  Jacquie Pearce is a Vancouver-based author of novels for children as well as poetry. Her haiku have won awards, including the 2018 League of Canadian Poets inaugural haiku contest and Best Vancouver Haiku in the 2015 Cherry Blossom Haiku Invitational. Her haiku have also appeared in a variety of publications, including the Haiku Canada Review, Frogpond, and The Red Moon Anthology. Jacquie recently shared and taught haiku as writer-in-residence at Joy Kogawa House and coedited The Jade Pond, an anthology of haiku written by the Vancouver Haiku Group. Visit her at http://jacquelinepearce.ca/ and www.wildink.wordpress.com.

Some Suggestions for Writing Haiku They may look simple, but writing outstanding haiku requires much dedication and craft.  Here are a few pointers that may help.

  • Be clear. The best haiku present clear images that everyone can understand. Of course, deeper meanings may take many readings to fathom, but you’ll make a great start by focusing on sensory images – things you can see, hear, smell, touch, or taste.
  • Be suggestive. A haiku should hint at some sort of emotion or point of view rather than naming or analyzing it. Usually, a haiku will have two parts, and deeper meanings or emotions often arise out of the unstated relationship between the two parts.
  • Read widely. Reading published haiku will help you learn new techniques, spot what works and what doesn’t, and deepen your understanding of the genre. As a start, the VCBF website presents all the top haiku from previous years, and we have provided additional information and links for you on our About Haiku and Teaching Haiku
  • Seek feedback. Sharing your poems with friends and family or other poets can help you spot weak lines and unclear writing that you may not see yourself.  Both Haiku Canada and the Haiku Society of America have regional chapters through which you can meet or correspond with experienced poets in your area, many of whom are happy to help others improve their work. For the Haiku Canada regional coordinator for British Columbia & the Territories, contact Vicki McCullough at [email protected]. In the Lower Mainland, the Vancouver Haiku Group (VHG) meets most third Sundays of the month at the Britannia Community Services Centre. For more information, please contact VHG facilitator Angela J. Naccarato at [email protected].
  • No poet has ever written a top-notch haiku without writing dozens of forgettable ones first. Keep a notebook where you can jot down haiku as the inspiration hits and then review them at your leisure.
  • Most of all: have fun!

For more information, please visit our About Haiku and Teaching Haiku pages. Click here for additional notes on capitalization and punctuation.

Read past winning haiku here.

Programs subject to change.