Emily Edwards

blossoms whisper
my secret carried
through the wind

Emily Edwards, Age 14
Christchurch, New Zealand

Congratulations on having your haiku selected as the top winner in the youth category in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s 2022 Haiku Invitational contest. How did you first learn about haiku, and how much writing of haiku or other poetry have you done?

I learnt about haiku poetry when I was a lot younger in elementary school, around the age of eight or nine-ish. Since then, in English classes I have done a bit of poetry over the years, but no major writing.

What was the inspiration for your winning poem?

I didn’t really have much inspiration for the poem, apart from picturing in my mind the pretty cherry blossom trees and what they make me think of. I thought of the tiny little petals wisping away, like secrets, hence my haiku.

Describe the moment when you first learned you had won.

When I first got the email informing me that I had won my category I was quite surprised, because I normally don’t do much writing, and it came as quite a shock to know that some people liked my poem so much to pick it as the winner for the youth category. I first told my parents, and then some of my friends.

Do you have favourite books or websites relating to haiku that others might benefit from to learn haiku as a literary art and to share one’s haiku?

I think that when it comes to writing poetry just let your mind run free, write down any ideas you have, and if the ideas just keep coming, scribble them down and piece them together afterwards, because the best poetry in my opinion doesn’t require much thought, just free-going imagination.

Please tell us more about yourself.

I am a 14-year-old student, and I live in Christchurch, New Zealand. I love to be creative in as many ways as possible, but most of all I love to sing and dance. I have been dancing since I was six and I love it. I also love to travel overseas. My favourite places I have been are Thailand and Whistler, British Columbia where I am going in January of 2023.

How does where you live and what you enjoy doing affect the way you write haiku?

When I write I do usually look into my surroundings for inspiration, but in the case of the cherry blossom festival haiku that was not an option, as it was winter at the time I wrote my poem. But yeah, I would say where I live and the surroundings I have are a huge inspiration.