Haiku Invitational

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival
takes place every spring in Vancouver, British Columbia, celebrating the city’s 40,000 cherry trees. Festivities include the annual Haiku Invitational, a free contest that invites submissions of haiku on the theme of cherry blossoms, judged in the following categories: British Columbia, Canada, United States, International, and Youth. It’s been my privilege to serve as a judge or consultant since the Haiku Invitational started in 2006. Winning poems are printed on placards that appear on Vancouver city buses and SkyTrains each spring, on the festival website, and in various poetry journals. Winning haiku have also been performed on radio and TV and at public events, including concerts of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and at the annual Japan Days festival. All winning haiku from the first three years have also been engraved on a haiku stone at VanDusen Gardens (see Vancouver Haiku Stone for photos). The following are each of the Haiku Invitational placards, showcasing the top winning poems (click to enlarge).

2014 Haiku Invitational
Judge: Marco Fraticelli
[bus placard to be produced in the spring of 2015]
 
2013 Haiku Invitational
Judge: Terry Ann Carter
 

2012 Haiku Invitational

Judge: Beverley George

 

2011 Haiku Invitational

Judge: an’ya

 

2010 Haiku Invitational

Judge: Michael Dylan Welch (see results and commentary)

 

2009 Haiku Invitational

Judge: LeRoy Gorman

 

2008 Haiku Invitational

Judges: Carole MacRury, Michael Dylan Welch, and Edward Zuk

 

2007 Haiku Invitational

Judges: Carole MacRury, Michael Dylan Welch, and Edward Zuk

 

2006 Haiku Invitational

Judges: Carole MacRury, Vicki McCullough, Michael Dylan Welch, and Edward Zuk

 
You may note above that the placard listed under the 2010 heading says 2011 in the placard itself, and that each placard for more recent years lists results from the prior year. The festival was not held in 2010 because of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, but the Haiku Invitational was still held, with results displayed the following year. This change allowed for submissions to be made during cherry blossom time itself. Before then, submissions were typically made in December through February. The change also allowed for a more relaxed judging period during the summer and fall, and more time to design the placards and other promotions. The Haiku Invitational will continue to seek haiku about cherry blossoms each spring, with results appearing online in the fall, and on bus placards and elsewhere the following spring. Hope you can enter the next Haiku Invitational!