jornales

for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

Wanted: Your haiku for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival–could be you like me or the novice who won with her first and only entry

Sakura cherry blossoms

My first published haiku, which also won for me an honorable mention, has something to do with this post. The year was 2007, the second year of the Vancouver Blossom Festival (VCBF) Haiku Invitational. I had just arrived from Manila as immigrant to Vancouver and on my first visit to the Marpole Branch public library I read the haiku submission call on the bulletin board. I sent a single entry, “cherry tree/shedding petals at dusk/moths in flight”, that changed my haiku-writing life, which was then quite wobbly.

Ten years before then, cherry blossoms for me, bloom only in words—in the Philippines, the closest equivalent would be ‘kakawati’ tree that blooms in clumps on a twig, which is why we could use it to dance, honoring its glory, holding the ends of the twig in both hands, making it like an arc over our heads as we sway and twirl, and kick our heels when we raise it high to skies over a sun and its court of cotton fluffs or winged clouds.

My first cherry blossom viewing held me jaw-dropping, a stiff neck that evening from looking up in disbelief—how could it be real, the brush of pink descending as breath on eyes which cannot tell between silk and soft rain? The first blooms at Washington Square in New York and the Brooklyn Gardens washed me Oz-like, suspending my disbelief in the Wizard. But it was the street canopy in Baltimore’s Riverside St. that inspired my haiku—my near-dusk walks to the end of the street round a gazebo on an elevated band stand and back toward the sunset on Federal Hill. Magical is a paltry word.

Had I expected Vancouver to be a cherry blossom city? Who is an immigrant who doesn’t realize the place she chooses to live in can never be life in brochures, slices of scenes in the movies, even award-winning documentaries? In the spring, Vancouver skies turn into mere patches of blue through cherry pink intaglio of blooms. Women walking under street canopies of it seem prettier, men to my often-skewed eyes softer, children no longer buds but dwarf trees blooming when under the trees in a breeze wear petals on hair and cheeks.

Submission Call

This year, a novice haiku writer’s life could change, too, like me. The submission call for entries has just been released for the 6th VCBF Haiku Invitational. Anyone from any part of the world can send in haiku starting March 1. Deadline for submissions is May 31. To enter, visit http://www.vcbf.ca and follow the links. Past submissions have come from Australia, Bangladesh, Croatia, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Malta, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

This year’s judge will be an’ya, editor of moonset haiku journal. She resides in Oregon. Winners will be advised in the fall. The winning haiku will be published by Haiku Canada, Rice Paper, and on the VCBF website. The top haiku in five main categories (youth, B.C., Canada, United States, and International) will also appear on TransLink SkyTrains and buses all over Metro Vancouver and read in celebrity readings during the next festival in 2012.


Why a cherry blossom festival in Vancouver?

Cherry blossom viewing in this city is considered a sport. About 50 park locations have picnic sites to celebrate the blossoming trees and 23 city neighborhoods bloom with 43 different cultivars of cherry trees in washes of pinks; from a blush to a riot of pinks to pure snow white cherry blossoms–all 37,000 of them.

But cherry trees were introduced to the city only in the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s from gifts presented to the Vancouver Park Board, though 500 cherry trees from the mayors of both Kobe and Yokohama for planting at the Japanese cenotaph in Stanley Park honoring Japanese Canadians who served in WWI made the most impact in reshaping the city’s landscape.

The tradition of tall, stately and long-lived shade trees dating from the 1800s gradually changed. In 1958 three hundred more cherry trees were donated by the Japanese consul, Muneo Tanabe, reported in the newspaper as “an eternal memory of good friendship between our two nations.” By the time the Park Board completed its first comprehensive street tree inventory in 1990, nearly 36 percent of the 89,000 trees on city streets were represented by trees of the Prunus genus—the flowering plum and cherry trees. Of the 479 different classifications of trees identified in the inventory, the most common species was Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’, the Kwanzan flowering cherry. (12.6 percent). Further observations on the cultivars, however, favor Akebono cherry trees in recent years.

The heart of the VCBF lies in a 22-hectare (55-acre) garden in Van Dusen Gardens, a botanical garden opened to the public in 1975. VanDusen’s collection includes 11,500 accessioned plants representing more than 7,300 taxa (plant families) and 255,000 individual plants from around the world, representing represent ecosystems that range from tropical South Africa, to the Himalayas, to the South America and the Mediterranean, across Canada’s Boreal forests and Great Plains to plants native to the Pacific Northwest.

The garden design features displays of plants in picturesque landscape settings. Specific garden areas are planted to illustrate botanical relationships, such as the Rhododendron Walk, or geographical origins, as in Sino Himalayan Garden. These areas are set amidst rolling lawns, tranquil lakes and dramatic rockwork with vistas of the mountains and Vancouver cityscape.

Sakura Days

Here, the VCBF Sakura Days Japan Fair as in years past will be held this year on April 2 and 3. As in 2009, pacifi-kana will be participating in Sakura Days, staffing a table to inform and engage, leading ginko (haiku walks) into the garden, and a reading of Haiku Invitational winners on the performance stage in the Gardens.

This year also marks Vancouver’s 125th Year hence a ‘birthday’ theme might be part of the haiku invitational.

(Also submitted for Sketchbook. From pacifi-kana announcements and backgrounder at http://www.vcbf.ca)

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March 8, 2011 - Posted by | culturati news/views, haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] across Canada’s Boreal forests and Great Plains to … … Read the rest here: Wanted: Your haiku for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival–could … ← Top Astounding Jewels And Attractions Of Srilanka […]

    Pingback by Wanted: Your haiku for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival–could … | Botanical Gardens | March 9, 2011 | Reply


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