The 2013 winning haiku, Sakura Awards and Honourable Mentions can be found here.
The 2014 Haiku Invitational will begin accepting submissions from March 1 to June 2, 2014. The theme is “Meet your neighbours“. Haiku poet Kobayashi Issa wrote: “There is no stranger under the cherry tree” and we want 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. Throw a hanami party and write haiku with your friends!
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 in honouring our awe-inspiring cherry trees. The festival welcomes haiku submissions that capture the essence of cherry blossoms while honouring our relations to each other and the natural world.
Winners will be published in the Haiku Canada newsletter, online publishing in the American Ripples magazine as well as the Victoria-based Leaf Press, printed in a chapbook hand folded and bound by Leaf Press and on the VCBF website. Top poems in five main categories (Youth, B.C., Canada, United States, and International) will receive celebrity readings and be featured in creative ways during the next festival in 2015. 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, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
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 Haiku History 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.
- Practice. 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!