Leith Wheeler

Submit up 2 unpublished poems for the chance to be recognized as a top winning poem, Sakura Award or Honourable Mention in your category. This year’s Haiku Invitational is inspired by celebrations

Read about how Pete McMartin talks about haiku  below~
20160305 Vancouver Sun Pete McMartin

Read the 2015 winning haiku here!

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  Leith Wheeler Haiku House with Tree Spirit Fairy Performers. 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.

This year’s 2016 Haiku Invitational Judges:

 Deborah P Kolodji
Deborah P Kolodji is the moderator of the Southern California Haiku Study Group and the California Regional Coordinator for the Haiku Society of America. A co-organizer of the 2013 Haiku North America conference, she has published more than 900 haiku and four chapbooks of poetry. Her collection of haiku, Highway of Sleeping Towns, is forthcoming from Shabda Press.
 Emiko Miyashita
Emiko Miyashita was born in Fukushima, Japan, grew up in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, and Accra, Ghana, and graduated from Doshisha University in Kyoto. She has been writing haiku in both Japanese and in English since 1993. She translated Santoka with Paul Watsky and Ogura Hyakunin Isshu with Michael Dylan Welch. She serves as a director of the JAL (Japan Air Lines) Foundation, which has held the World Children’s Haiku Contest since 1990. Her pilgrimage to Mt. Yoshino in Nara in times of cherry blossoms counts its tenth visit this year. She is a dojin (senior) member of Ten’i and Shin haiku groups in Japan, serves as a councilor for the Haiku International Association in Tokyo, and is also a managing director of the English-Speaking Union of Japan.
 George Swede
George Swede is cofounder Haiku Canada, 1977; poetry editor, Poetry Toronto, 1980–81; member, League of Canadian Poets, 1982; editorial team, Cross-Canada Writers’ Quarterly, 1982–90; membership chair, The Writers’ Union of Canada, 1993–96; editorial team, Red Moon Press, 2000–08; columnist, Simply Haiku, 2005–08; honorary curator, American Haiku Archives, 2008–09; editor, Frogpond: Journal of the Haiku Society of America, 2008–12. George’s poetry has appeared in periodicals around the world and in 38 collections by publishers in Canada, the U.K and the U.S., the latest being Micro Haiku: Three to Nine Syllables, 2014. HIs work has been translated into at least 23 languages. Detailed information is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Swede, and his personal website is http://home.primus.ca/~swede/.

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. For the Haiku Canada regional coordinator for British Columbia & the Territories, contact Vicki McCullough at pacifi-kana@haikucanada.org. 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 angelan@telus.net.
  • 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!

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.