Judges: Angelee Deodhar, DeVar Dahl, and Billie Wilson

It is such a pleasure to see the worldwide interest in and response to the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s Haiku Invitational. This year, with more than twelve hundred haiku to choose from, it was like being under those beautiful cherry trees as the petals floated all around us. We are honored to be a part of this tribute to haiku.


the names
of children being called home
cherry blossoms

                      Ann Harreby
                      Coquitlam, British Columbia

It is easy to imagine that everyone has been out enjoying the blossoms all this beautiful day, and now it’s time for supper. The children are called in again and again, but how can they resist the allure of the blossoms? As parents call each child, their names are like the melodious words to a lovely spring song.

British Columbia

cherry blossoms
a winter jacket
hangs from a branch

                    Beth Skala
                    Nanaimo, British Columbia

That jacket tells such a story! The word “winter” creates a pivot for the presence of spring. The jacket which has been left behind is a testimony to one person’s enjoyment of the blossoms—and symbolic for everyone else’s.


transience . . .
petal by petal
we let go

                    Debbie Strange
                    Winnipeg, Manitoba

Transience encloses the world without and within each of us. Because we feel more secure when we have a sense of predictability, we develop a great capacity for denying a simple truth: that nothing stays the same. That can be a challenge, but the gentleness of “petal by petal” reminds us that we’ll be just fine

United States

the gasp
before the sigh. . .
cherry blossoms

                      Terri L. French
                      Huntsville, Alabama

A remarkable haiku. In just a moment, the breathtaking awe these blossoms evoke is captured in these seven words. The ‘Oh’ turns to ‘Ah’!


falling cherry petals
how gently the world lets go
of light

                      Sanjuktaa Asopa
                      Belgaum, Karnataka

A beautiful tribute to nature, this haiku captures a simple yet deep observation conveying the depth of impermanence as petals carry light from the world so gently into nightfall.


blossoms float down
graduation hats fly up
a new beginning

                      Amy Wells, age 16
                      Christchurch, New Zealand

It seems especially fitting that the winner for the Youth category conveys such a powerful message for all youth. What jubilation and celebration these almost-adults express as they enjoy the start a new adventure in their lives. Those blossoms falling around them might be Nature’s confetti – or a blessing.

This year’s 2017 Haiku Invitational Judges:

Angelee Deodhar, an eye surgeon by profession as well as a haiku poet, translator, and artist, lives and works in Chandigarh, India. Her haiku, haibun, and haiga have been published internationally in various books and journals, and her work can be viewed online too. To promote haiku in India, she has translated six books of haiku from English to Hindi. She has also edited both Journeys and Journeys 2015, anthologies of international haibun (prose with haiku). She has just finished Journeys 2017, a third anthology of haibun from around the world.


  DeVar Dahl lives in Magrath, Alberta. He is a retired schoolteacher and a past president of Haiku Canada. He has been fortunate enough to have his haiku published in several haiku journals and have had some selected in different haiku contests. He has written haiku for more than twenty years and still looks to find a haiku or have one find him every day. DeVar and his wife have adopted a grandson and so at this stage of life they get to be mom and dad instead of grandma and grandpa.


  Billie Wilson spent her childhood in rural Indiana, moving in 1962 to Alaska where her first attempts at writing haiku began shortly thereafter. She is an associate editor for The Heron’s Nest, manages the Haiku Registry for The Haiku Foundation, and coordinates the annual haiku competition that honours her first mentor, Robert Spiess. Some of her haiku have been recognized with awards, including those for haiku and senryu by the Haiku Society of America. Her work has been selected for various anthologies, including Haiku in English: The First Hundred YearsWhere the River Goes, and several of the Red Moon Press best-of-year collections.