Haiku Invitational
March 1 – June 1

The Haiku Invitational is an international online contest that attracts submissions from all over the world.

The top poems in six main categories (Vancouver, BC, Canada, the United States, International, and Youth (age 17 and under) will be featured in the Haiku Canada newsletter, an online publication in the newsletter of the Haiku Society of America, and published on the VCBF website.

These haiku will not only be showcased but also receive special celebrity readings, bringing them to life in a truly captivating manner during the Festival. Moreover, they take center stage in the Haiku Exhibition, where Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Watuth, and Japanese-Canadian visual artists transform these poetic gems into stunning visual pieces. As we look ahead, our program is set to grow even further, as we plan to collaborate with talented Japanese artists this Spring, fostering cross-cultural creativity and celebrating the essence of haiku through a global lens.

To encourage the writing, reading, and appreciation of this poetic form judges choose poems in additional categories of “Sakura Awards” and “Honourable Mention.”

Top Winners


cherry blossoms . . .
we switch to
our mother tongue

Antoinette Cheung
Vancouver, British Columbia
United States

blossom petals
the shelter entry

John Pappas
Brighton, Massachusetts
British Columbia

everything possible
cherry trees
C. Jean Downer
White Rock, British Columbia

a blackbird sings the cherry
into bloom
Polona Oblak
Ljubljana, Slovenia

first blossoms
a bit of Bach
from a busker’s guitar
LeRoy Gorman
Napanee, Ontario

late-night fog
cherry blossoms
light the way
Isabella Slattery Shannon, Age 11
Christchurch, New Zealand

‘November Cherry Blossoms A Haiku Zoom Reading’ Recording

Relive the magic of our ‘November Cherry Blossoms: A Haiku Invitational Zoom Reading’! In this recording, immerse yourself in the beauty of haiku and cherry blossoms showcased during our interactive Zoom gathering. Feel the global resonance as haiku enthusiasts from different parts of the world came together to celebrate this beautiful poetic form.

About Haiku ↗

Read all about haiku, including form and technique.

Learning Haiku ↗

Find materials to introduce haiku to both teachers and students.

Winning Haiku ↗

Read all winning haiku entries from 2006 – 2023.

Haiku Exhibition ↗

Celebrating winning haiku with a unique Haiku Exhibition with commissioned pieces by Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh artists.

2023 Winners ↗

Meet our 2023 Haiku Invitational Winners.

2023 Commentary ↗

Read the judges’ 2023 Commentary for inspiration for your own haiku.

2023 Sakura Awards and Honourable Mentions ↗

View additional categories of 2023 Sakura Awards and Honourable Mentions.



Hannah Mahoney

Hannah Mahoney’s debut haiku chapbook, Shifting Light, published in 2022 by Backbone Press, was short-listed for the Touchstone Book Award. Her haiku also appear in What Weathers, What Returns (Red Moon Press, 2023), a collection by the Broadmoor Haiku Collective, of which she is a member. She was a featured poet in A New Resonance 12 (Red Moon Press, 2021) and is a recipient of the Kaji Aso International Haiku Award and the Kaji Aso International Senryu Award. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Lorraine A Padden

Lorraine A Padden is a Touchstone Award–winning poet and former professional ballet dancer whose career and scholarship in the performing and visual arts has garnered national recognition, including an appointment to the National Endowment for the Arts. Her haiku have been honoured by the Haiku Foundation, Tricycle magazine, the Haiku Society of America, the Tokutomi International Haiku Contest, and the British Haiku Society, among others. Lorraine is a featured poet in A New Resonance 13, an anthology showcasing emerging voices in English-language haiku. Upwelling, her debut collection of haiku and related short forms, was published by Red Moon Press in 2022. Lorraine lives in San Diego, California.

John Stevenson

John Stevenson is a former president of the Haiku Society of America, former editor of Frogpond and, since 2008, has served as managing editor of The Heron’s Nest. He is a founding member of the Route 9 Haiku Group (Upstate Dim Sum). He was designated an honorary curator of the American Haiku Archives of the California State Library for 2018–19. His latest haiku collections are My Red (2021), from Brooks Books, and This Once (2023), from Red Moon Press. John lives in Nassau, New York.

Programs subject to change.

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