The following is an alternate introduction to my judge’s comments for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s 2010 Haiku Invitational contest. This text appeared in a Haiku Canada sheet in the spring of 2011, distributed with the Haiku Canada Review (5:1, February 2011). See also the “VCBF 2010 Haiku Canada Sheet” on the Trifold Downloads page.
Each year the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, hosts the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, which includes music, street performances, workshops, poetry readings, the Sakura Days Japan Fair, and competitions for photography, art, and poetry. The poetry competition is called the Haiku Invitational, with top awards for haiku from British Columbia, the rest of Canada, the United States, and the rest of the word. It also includes a youth category, which is of prime importance to teachers and students. It’s free to enter, and many thousands of entries have been submitted in each category over the years, especially in the youth category. In the spring of 2011 the top five poems submitted in 2010 were read at a performance of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and appeared on TransLink buses and SkyTrains in and around Vancouver. The festival’s website lists many additional Sakura Award and Honourable Mention poems that readers can enjoy. The site also provides directions for entering the current contest. Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to everyone who entered for helping to celebrate spring and cherry blossoms.