Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

2012 Haiku Invitational Winners presented by


Every year, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival invites poets and would-be poets from around the world to submit haiku inspired by the beauty of the cherry trees. Since 2005, the Haiku Invitational has evolved into a literary contest with submissions from all around the world, including Bosnia, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand to name a few. The festival has invited internationally recognized poet, Beverley George, to choose the winners of the 2012 Haiku Invitational presented by Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd. The entire list of 2012 Sakura Awards and Honorable Mentions can be found on the festival website at

More about Beverley George:

Beverley George is the founder/editor of Eucalypt: a tanka journal ( Australia’s first journal for tanka only. Between 2000-2006 she edited 12 issues of Yellow Moon: a literary magazine for writers of haiku and other verse. She enjoys international networking and has served regularly as a judge for the Seashells Game (UK). Beverley was a speaker at the 3rd Haiku Pacific Rim Conference, Matsuyama, 2007, attended Haiku Aotearoa, New Zealand 2008, convened the 4th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference, Terrigal, 2009 and was a delegate speaker at the 6th International Tanka Festival, Tokyo 2009.  Beverley’s international first prizes for haiku and tanka include the British Haiku Society JW Hackett Award 2003 (UK); the 3rd Ashiya International Festa 2004 [Japan], the Tanka Society of America’s International Contest 2006, the Genkissu! World Wide Hekinan Haiku Contest 2009 [Japan] and the Saigyo Awards 2010 [US]. In 2011 she gained 2nd place in the Kaji Aso Studio International Haiku awards  [USA] and in the Foreign Language Category 16th Kusamakura International Haiku Competition 2011 [Kumamoto, Japan]. Beverley was president of the Haiku Society of Australia 2006-2010. She is a Writing Fellow of the Fellowship of Australian Writers and twice won the WB Yeats Poetry Prize for Australia and New Zealand, as well as first place in the Vera Newsom and the Society of Women Writers poetry competitions. Her short stories have been published in mainstream magazines and her first book for children was published in 2006.

Best British Columbia Haiku

alone at the airport
a cherry blossom
on my suitcase

Marianne Baharustani
Vancouver, British Columbia

A resonant poem which invites reader interpretation of the circumstance. The airport setting echoes the transience of the cherry blossom season but the single bloom hints that a special memory will linger.


Best Canada Haiku

morning tai chi—
all the prams
slowly turning pink

Lin Geary
Paris, Ontario

It is the particular setting of outdoor tai chi that set this poem apart from others in which blossom fell into prams or strollers. The slow movements of tai chi which release internal energy, juxtapose well with the trees’ release of petals as they prepare for the next season.


Best International Haiku

school for the blind

every fingertip sees
a different pink

David Terelinck
Pyrmont NSW, Australia

Immediately engaging, this poem takes us to the essence of another person’s experience. Imaginative, reflective, and ultimately, optimistic, it is a worthy winner.


Best United States Haiku

cherry petals falling
the pond’s oldest koi
slowly surfaces

Michele L. Harvey
Hamilton, New York

This carefully crafted poem rewards attentive reading. The phrase ‘cherry petals’ avoids the use of both ‘blossom’ and ‘petals’ in one poem. The consonants in the second line slow the reader, adjust structure, and help the gentle mood as we reflect on the aged, of whatever species, who continue to respond with joy to ohanami.


Best Youth Haiku

old cherry tree—
a spider weaves its cobweb
between two flowers

Cristina Ailoaei, age 14
Botosani, Romania

A well-crafted poem with a pleasing link between the aged tree and the spider’s handiwork. Often one expects a cobweb on leaf or twig, or under an eave, but this spider seems to be enjoying cherry blossom season too.