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Meet our panel of distinguished judges:

Gregory BettsGREGORY BETTS is the author of If Language (2005) and Haikube (2006). His writing, including poetry, essays, stories, manifestos and more, has appeared in journals across Canada and internationally. He presently teaches at Brock University, curates the Grey Borders Reading Series, and serves as co-editor of the new literary magazine Precipice.

What makes for good Tofu Haiku? Plenty of soy sauce and just a pinch of syllables. Waste no word, no letter, no unintended breath in your poem. Let it be crispy and taut on the outside, silken and rich in the middle. Don’t forget to let it marinate in your imagination before serving. Bake thoroughly. –GB

Jill BinderJILL BINDER is a Toronto-based touring performance poet who is absolutely obsessed with haiku. So obsessed that she travels North America to compete in haiku competitions, brought the first ever Haiku Death Match to Toronto, and published a little book: The Morbid Book of Haiku. She’s thrilled to see her other obsession, herbivore food art, come together with haiku word art. (Photo by Violet Fodor.)

I’m a non-traditionalist. What I’ll be looking for: Make me laugh, feel, or be in awe at the cleverness of the words. –JB

Sarah KramerSARAH KRAMER is a vegan cooking superstar. Her first two books, How It All Vegan! and The Garden of Vegan, have sold well over 150,000 copies; both won the Veggie Award for favorite cookbook of 2003 and 2004 by VegNews Magazine, and Herbivore Magazine, in a cover story on Sarah, called her “The World’s Coolest Vegan.” Sarah returns with her first solo cookbook, featuring more of the delectable, easy-to-prepare recipes that vegans around the world have come to adore. For Sarah, vegan cooking—which eschews all animal products—can be an adventure in dining, without a lot of investment in time or money. In fact, most of the recipes in La Dolce Vegan! can be prepared in 20 to 30 minutes or less. From soups and salads to entrees and desserts, they are sure to inspire both committed and part-time vegans alike. Visit for more information. (Photo by Gerry Kramer.)

Here’s your chance to express yourself. Make it beautiful. –SK

John K. SamsonJOHN K. SAMSON is a singer-songwriter, poet and publisher based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. John is lead singer for The Weakerthans, a band twice nominated for Alternative Album of the Year at Canada’s Juno Awards, as well as a former bass player for anarcho-punk band Propaghandi. He’s also a founding member of a not-for-profit publishing company called Arbieter Ring, which is organized according to principles of participatory economics. John has championed two winning books on Canada Reads, an annual CBC Radio program in which pits five celebrity panelists against each other in what CBC calls “a game of literary survivor.”

I love both tofu and poetry. –JKS

Michael Dylan WelchMICHAEL DYLAN WELCH is editor/publisher of Tundra: The Journal of the Short Poem and of Press Here haiku and tanka books, a longtime vice president of the Haiku Society of America, and cofounder of the Haiku North America conference and the American Haiku Archives. His haiku and other poetry has appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies in more than a dozen languages. A selection of his haiku (with photographs) is available at, and also appear in the “Haiku Journey” game from Hot Lava Games, for which he served as haiku editor. He recently judged the 2007 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational, and has won and judged numerous other haiku contests. Michael is Canadian, but currently lives near Seattle, Washington. The New York Times once quoted him regarding spamku: “My relationship to spamku is the same as my relationship to spam–I’m a vegetarian.”

Good haiku typically present objective sensory imagery using a two-part juxtapositional structure and a seasonal reference. Content is more important than form (most literary haiku in English aren’t 5-7-5). See “Becoming a Haiku Poet”. You can also have fun with haiku, though such poems are usually closer to senryu. –MDW