Thursday, December 11, 2014

Museum of East Asian Art event with sake tastings: The Musicality of Japanese Poetry: Haiku and Its Rhythm with Alan Summers, Karen Hoy, and Tony McNicol

Museum of East Asian Art
12 Bennett Street 
Bath BA1 2QJ 

Thursday 5 March 2015

19:00 – 21:00

Friends and Students £15

Public £20

For Bookings please contact the Museum: 


About the event:

From Karen Hoy and Alan Summers of With Words:

“It’s not the notes you play; it’s the notes you don’t play.”  
Jazz adage often attributed to Miles Davis

All language has inherent rhythm and pitch: The notes of our voices as we read out loud vary with different reading styles and accents.

There is a core rhythm of spoken English language: Even when we read silently from the page, there is musically as we 'hear' the written word.

Haiku, originating from Japan, is the famous poetry of extreme brevity.  In a relaxed inclusive atmosphere, as part of the exhibition Music in China, we will experience the notes and musicality that are in haiku too.

Haiku, as Miles Davis states with music, has its own equivalent of what is not there i.e. negative space aka white space, creating a larger poem than the sum of its ‘visible’ parts.  

Distilling communication to its barest needs yet maintaining a strong clear message has never been so important.   Using musicality as a catalyst the evening explores what is there and not there, but still there, in haiku.

Japan Times award-winning author and Pushcart Prize nominated poet Alan Summers, and With Words Course Director and Poetry Tutor Karen Hoy, will accompany you on your journey into haiku.

Tony McNicol, Co-Founder of We Do Japan will introduce premier award-winning sake (from Sake Samurai) to our taste buds as well as explain the magic, depth, and notes of Japan's signature drink:

The evening will act as a taster of both sake and haiku in a very friendly, inclusive, and informative atmosphere.

About Sake:

The Musicality of Japanese Poetry: Haiku and Its Rhythm

Thursday 5 March
19:00 – 21:00

Friends and Students £15; Public £20

Haiku is Japanese poetry, famous for its extreme brevity. An excellent accompaniment to Haiku is sake. This event will explore both in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. 

The event is part of the Music in China exhibition programme (January – May 2015). 

Alan Summers, Japan Times award-winning author, will give a brief introduction to the important elements of Haiku and its history, as well as exploring the musicality in this extraordinary form of poetry.

A selection of award-winning sake provided by the Sake Samurai UK will be available for tasting. 

Music in China exhibition

17 January – 31 May 2015

This exhibition explores various aspects of music in China and the importance of music to the different levels of Chinese society. 

Music plays a significant role in Chinese society. 

The ruling class sees refined music as a tool to sustain a harmonious society. The masses enjoy the entertainment of popular music, which appeals to audiences in other parts of the world as well. 

Equally, musical traditions from other cultures also enrich Chinese music and have a huge impact on its development.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Hunter's Moon and the runes of mice haiku

I was delighted to hear that my haiku (above) was published by the Mainichi Shimbun (Japan) on the very first day of December 2014!

My many thanks of appreciate to Isamu Hashimoto, and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Circulation and Distribution of the Mainichi Shimbun

Mainichi Shimbun  

Alan Summers, and With Words, offer regular and popular online courses in haiku; tanka; and other related genres.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Karen at:

Monday, December 01, 2014

Christmas, Winter, and snow - haiku by Alan Summers

Merry Christmas and Holidays to everyone around the World from With Words!

Christmas, Winter, and snow haiku 
by Alan Summers
(online tutor of With Words)

hard frost-
the snail-hammerings
of a song thrush

Publication Credit: Muttering Thunder vol. 1, 2014 

northern lights 
a boy makes a ladder 
out of his telescope  

Publication Credit: Blithe Spirit 24.3 (August 2014)

dark snow the night begins its winter

Publication Credit:   brass bell: a haiku journal (Winter 2014)

waxing ice moon
through the alleys
a market sets up

Publications credits: Simply Haiku: September 2003, Vol. 1, No. 3

the limbs of trees broken Snow Moon

Publication Credit: Derafsh-e Mehr Issue#4 Winter & Spring 2014

Gare du Nord shifting art deco snow

Publication Credit:   brass bell: a haiku journal
One-Line Haiku curated by Zee Zahava (Monday, September 1, 2014)

Old Man’s Beard a cyclist wobbles the length of it

Publications credits: a handful of stones (1st February 2011); A Blackbird Sings, a small stone anthology ISBN 978-0-9571584-2-9 ed.  Fiona Robyn & Kaspalita Thompson (Woodsmoke Press 2012)

Clematis vitalba L. is the UK's only native Clematis. Commonly known as 'Old Man's Beard', it can be seen scrambling through hedgerows and trees along the roadside, and is especially obvious in the winter months. Its Latin name refers to its flower colour and climbing habit (alba = white; clematis = climbing; vitalba = white vine). One or two other Clematis species sometimes escape from gardens and become established in the wild. Of these only Clematis flammula bears any resemblance but its flowers are somewhat larger than those of C. vitalba and pure white, and its leaves are a different shape (bi-pinnate).

David Morgan, The Clematis, the journal of the British Clematis Society, Winter 2002

dark morning...
the sushi bar opens up
for the train station

Publications credits: Aesthetics, (Bath Spa University 2007); Haiku Friends Vol. 3  ed. Masaharu Hirata (Japan, Osaka 2009)

Oxford Street
the sweet chestnut vendor’s
blackened fingers

Publications credits: Snapshot Press Calendar 2011
Award credit: Runner up, Snapshot Press Haiku Calendar 2010

a flink of cows
the blue before a night
of falling snow

n.b. Twelve cows are a flink

Publication Credit: Blithe Spirit 2014

twilight on snow shadows deepen the grip of stars

Publication Credit: Frogpond 37:2, the spring/summer issue (2014)

virgin snow
a fox makes prints
for the morning

Publications credits: 
Icebox, Hailstone Haiku Circle Japan (Japan, 2010); a little help from my friends (Red Dragonfly ePamphlet 2011); The Haiku Calendar 2012 (Snapshot Press); fox dreams ed. Aubrie Cox (April 2012); Inking Bitterns (Gert Macky Books December, 2013) 
ISBN-10: 0992678315 ISBN-13: 978-0992678319

Award credits: 
Runner Up, The Haiku Calendar Competition 2011 (Snapshot Press)


Monday, November 24, 2014

Spaces available on the early bird rate for haiku and tanka poetry international online courses

There are still places on the haiku and tanka courses starting January 2015, available at the early bird rate (a £10 or US$16 dollar discount) until the end of this week.  

Please email for more details.


Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Bookings are now being taken for online With Words Haiku Courses and Tanka Courses starting in January 2015.

Bookings are now being taken for the next With Words Haiku Course and Tanka Course, both starting in January 2015.

Participants submit 3 times by email over a two-month period and receive detailed feedback from our widely published award-winning poet and experienced tutor Alan Summers.

The cost is £70/US$115, or £60/US$99 'early bird' rate if booking by the end of November.

For enquiries, and for a more detailed course description, please email  

Thank you!

Alan Summers is a Japan Times award-winning writer, and Pushcart Prize nominated poet, with over twenty years of experience with haiku and tanka.


Monday, November 03, 2014

Alan Summers performing haiku and answering questions about this intriguing micro-poetry

Alan Summers has just been booked to perform haiku and answer questions just after 5pm from MC Howard and the audience  about this intriguing micro-verse that is sweeping the world via books, magazines, music, and social media.

Sunday 9 November at 17:00


Park Hill Drive, 
Frome BA112LE

How to find the venue:

Google maps directions for car, train, on foot etc...

From the train station:

It's about a 15 minute walk through town, walk along the riverfor a more pleasant journey. You get to a play park and it's down the small side road at the crossing.  The Welsh Mill Hub and Edventure Frome is based at The Welsh Mill, just above The Bicycle Academy. Look out for blue garage doors, and a glass door to the left.

Growerz Corner presents a one off evening of creative words, poetry, live music and one hour of open mic. 

We are pleased to announce our special guest for the night is Carrie Tree, one of the UKs leading female vocalists.

Carrie will be followed by Kuki and the Bard, another Small World act. This twelve and fifteen year old brother and sister marvel is taking festival world by storm!

With such a popular festival culture in Somerset November is that time of year where we all start to miss that feeling of community.

Growerz Corner has been set up to bring creatives together and supports all those wanting to perform, grow or just be entertained on a Sunday.



5.15 pm - POETS 
- Alan Summers 
(Japan Times award-winning author, and Pushcart Prize nominated poet)
- Helen Moore (eco poet and author), 
- Liv Torc (Radio 4 slam winning stand-up poet ) 
- 'XJX - Local Rhythm and Word performer'
- Jepson - From a galaxy far, far away 

6.45pm - LIVE MUSIC 
- Carrie Tree - amazing vocals 
- Kuki and the Bard - brother and sister only twelve and fifteen years of age.

8pm OPEN MIC - One hour pre-booked open mic acts free style session

9pm - Henry, Stu and Ben the flower pot men 

Open JAM sessions to finish off.

Bring a few pillows or a mat if you want to sit on the floor or make yourself comfy.


It's not easy to get on the stage and do your thing. But Sunday sessions is all about helping people to step up to what they really want to do ! 

- If you have a passion for spoken words email us at - explain exactly what you want to sing or say. Any video or audio links preferred but not essential.

Recommended donations on the door - £3/£5/£8

Under 18's free entry!

There will be a bar available serving a range of drinks.


Soup kitchen comes to Frome. 
Morwenna and friends will be cooking up some lovely soup from 6 till 9pm on Sunday 9th at the Growerz Corner. Its vegan and locally picked at Vallis.
Show starts around 5pm so get there early for a good seat at the front. Bring pillows or a rug for a comfy seat.


Alan does various kinds of haiku workshops (and also tanka - The Japanese Sonnet)

To find out more about what the courses involve and how they run, please email for an information sheet and quotes from participants who have taken the courses over the years.

Many thanks!

Karen at With Words

Friday, October 03, 2014

Special offer ends today on Rooster Moans online internet course The Poem as Portrait with Karen Hoy

This course has now sold out!
Thanks to everyone who was excited about this course, cannot wait for it to start, which is next Monday. 

The Poem as Portrait

The early bird rate is expiring soon for Karen's "The Poem as Portrait" course with The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative.

If you share Karen's fascination with the potential for poems as portraits, and might like to explore this in your own work, then click here for more details:


Gauguin Girl

for Marre

out of the greenhouse,
past the bulbs, on your bicycle,
hair flowing,
and then rowing
on the IJsselmeer.

A work of post-colonial art,
dreamt up by trade winds,
conceived by jet engine,
root-stock spliced from two continents
and grafted,
in a third -

you are your very own,
sitting in the prow,
brown legs drawn up,
talking office talk
in perfect mid-atlantic.

Karen Hoy

Publication credit:
My Mother Threw Knives: an anthology of poems about women's lives, Second Light Publications, 2006, editors Wendy French, Maggie Sawkins and Dilys Wood.  ISBN:  0-9546934-1-8

Image credit:
Paul Gauguin, Nave Nave Fenua (Delightful Land), 1894/1895 Print.  
Courtesy National Gallery of Art Washington.