The 2013 winning haiku, Sakura Awards and Honourable Mentions can be found here.
The 2014 Haiku Invitational will accept up to 2 unpublished poem submissions (in English only) from each individual, online from March 1 to June 2, 2014. The theme is “Meet your neighbours.” Haiku poet Kobayashi Issa wrote: “Under the cherry tree there is no stranger” and we’d like you to tell us, in your haiku, the many ways cherry blossoms bring you closer to your family, your friends, your community and co-workers. Celebrate with a Cherry Blossom Picnic (or a hanami, which means “flower viewing” in Japanese) to really find out the meaning of our festival motto “there is no stranger under the cherry tree” and write haiku with your friends!
VCBF is launching a new category “Best Vancouver” with the Vancouver Courier so that local poets from the Metro Vancouver area can submit haiku to this new category this spring.
Top poems in six main categories (Vancouver, BC, Canada, United States, International and Youth) will be judged by Marco Fraticelli, receive celebrity readings and be featured in creative ways during the 2015 festival including publication in the Vancouver Courier community newspaper, The Bulletin magazine, Haiku Canada newsletter, online publication in Ripples, 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 (past years have been CTV’s Norma Reid) and celebrated at Sakura Days Japan Fair (attended by 12,000 people over two days).
Vancouver loves its flowering cherry trees – all 40,000 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 faraway 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.
More About the Judge
Marco Fraticelli was born in Montreal in 1945 and he has been writing haiku for almost 40 years. For most of that time he has served on the executive of Haiku Canada. Among his books of haiku are Night Coach and Voyeur (Guernica Editions) and Drifting (Catkin Press).
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 pages.
- 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. The Vancouver Haiku Group also meets every third Sunday of the month at the Britannia Community Services Centre. For more information, please contact Angela J. Naccarato, Facilitator, VHG at [email protected].
- Practise. 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!
Programs subject to change.