The 2014 winning haiku, Sakura Awards and Honourable Mentions can be found here.

This year’s cherry blossom theme is CONNECTIONS: How do you connect to people, places, and moments of experience in the context of seeing cherry trees bloom? Let the spirit of making connections help you this year in writing cherry blossom haiku.

The Festival will begin accepting submissions on March 1, 2015.

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 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.

The judges for the 2015 Haiku Invitational are Michael Dylan Welch, Allan Burns and Katherine J. Munro.

MichaelDylanWelchatJapaneseGarden-low-resolution Michael Dylan Welch is poet laureate for Redmond, Washington, and his most recent book is True Colour. He has been a longtime officer of the Haiku Society of America, and cofounded the Haiku North America conference and the American Haiku Archives. He also founded both the Tanka Society of America, serving as its president for five years, and National Haiku Writing Month (www.nahaiwrimo.com). He has judged VCBF’s Haiku Invitational four times. In 2012, one of his translations (with Emiko Miyashita) of a cherry blossom poem appeared on the backs of 150,000,000 United States postage stamps. Michael’s personal website, devoted mostly to haiku, is www.graceguts.com.
Allan_Burns Allan Burns is an editor, activist, and haiku poet who lives on Colorado’s Front Range with his wife, Theresa, and their companion animals. He earned a Ph.D. in English and works for PETA, the world’s largest animal rights organization. His award-winning haiku books include Montage (The Haiku Foundation, 2010), Distant Virga (Red Moon Press, 2011), Haiku in English (W.W. Norton, 2013), andWhere the River Goes (Snapshot Press, 2013). Birding, hiking, music, film, and literature are among his foremost interests. Currently, he edits the online haiku annual Muttering Thunder (http://mutteringthunder.weebly.com/).
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Katherine J. Munro (who publishes under the name kjmunro) is originally from Vancouver and now lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. She has recently become membership secretary of Haiku Canada. As a volunteer for the Whitehorse Poetry Society, now called Yukon Writers’ Collective Ink, she helped organize the biennial Whitehorse Poetry Festival. She was awarded an honorable mention in the 2014 Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Award Competition, and her chapbook, Summer Evening, is available through Leaf Press.

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

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