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.
Enter your submissions here.
Find inspiration from the 2014 winning haiku, Sakura Awards and Honourable Mentions 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.
The judges for the 2015 Haiku Invitational are Michael Dylan Welch, Allan Burns and Katherine J. Munro.
|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 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.
|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 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!