2023 HAIKU INVITATIONAL
Meet Our Winners
The following interviews were conducted by Michael Dylan Welch in the fall of 2023 with the winners in each of the six categories in Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s Haiku Invitational contest: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, United States, International, and Youth. We invite you to get to know each winner a little better through his or her responses and to learn their influences and recommendations regarding haiku poetry.
Judges: Hannah Mahoney, Lorraine A Padden, and John Stevenson
Interviews conducted by Michael Dylan Welch
To read the poet’s interview, click on their name or picture:
Vancouver, British Columbia
Antoinette Cheung is a haiku poet whose work has been published in international journals and anthologies. In 2021, she received first place in Haiku Canada’s Betty Drevniok Contest. She is a current coeditor of Prune Juice and coordinator of the Haiku Society of America’s under 40s social club.
White Rock, British Columbia
C. Jean Downer attributes living near the Pacific Ocean on the traditional, unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples to an abiding wealth of creativity. The English-language haiku form is by far her favourite poetry to compose. Her pieces have appeared in national and international print and online journals and anthologies. She is a member of Haiku Canada and the Haiku Society of America.
LeRoy Gorman lives in Napanee, Ontario. His poetry, much of it minimalist and visual, has appeared in publications and exhibitions worldwide. He is the author of two dozen poetry books and chapbooks. For many years LeRoy edited Haiku Canada Review. From 2012 to 2013, he served as honourary curator of the American Haiku Archives.
John Pappas is a poet and teacher whose work has appeared in many journals and his poetry has twice been selected for the Mayor of Boston’s Poetry Contest. He is a 2023 Trailblazer Award winner and has been nominated for a Touchstone Award from the Haiku Foundation. As drummer and lyricist of the punk rock band Heather Hates You, he has recorded two albums and toured extensively. He lives in Boston with his family.
Polona Oblak is a Slovenian haiku poet. Her work has been widely published, appearing in several anthologies and winning awards, including the Touchstone individual poem award from the Haiku Foundation. She was one of the featured poets in A New Resonance 9 and currently serves as assistant editor at Tinywords.
Christchurch, New Zealand
Isabella Slattery Shannon is a 12-year-old student who was born in Christchurch, New Zealand three months after the earthquakes. She loves to play sports (specifically hockey), which in winter she plays four times a week. She also plays tennis every Saturday morning during summer. She is half Kiwi, half Irish, and as well as sports she enjoys visiting her family in Ireland, where she recently went to in April 2023 and will be going to in June 2024.
Return to the main page of the Haiku Invitational.
Meet our 2023 Haiku Invitational winners.
Read the judges’ 2023 commentary for inspiration for your own haiku.
Celebrate winning haiku with commissioned pieces by Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh artists.
View additional categories of 2023 Sakura Awards and Honourable Mentions.
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