Online internet courses by With Words

Are you interested in a With Words course? We run courses on haiku (beginner and intermediate, and advanced; tanka; tanka stories/prose; haibun; shahai; and other genres.

Please email if you would like to know more about these and our other courses.

With Words (Alan & Karen)

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Haiku & Tanka: Amazement and Intensity online (internet) course sold out / fully booked

This course is now sold out!
Haiku & Tanka: Amazement and Intensity
MON, JUN 6, 201612:00PM - SUN, JUL 3, 201612:00PM

Some new articles about haiku, both complete and in the making will be introduced to the course and later make their way to my forthcoming book Writing Poetry: the haiku way.

I am very excited about meeting the participants on this course!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Poetry Journal cover art, and Alan Summers haiku shortlisted for the Museum of Haiku Literature Award, British Haiku Society, Blithe Spirit; and appearances in Haiku Society of America journal Frogpond, Asahi Shimbun, and Presence magazine

It's a wonderful experience for a poet to be published in journals that produce both fine editing, selection of poems,  and striking cover art.

Aubrie Cox is the new incoming editor of Frogpond, the journal of the Haiku Society of America, starting with vol. 39 : 1 Winter issue 2016 (printed Spring 2016).  

She suggested poets take a snapshot of the magazine in various surroundings.  What better than when two iconic British icons are involved!  That of bluebells, and a robin.

It was only fitting that today, when I received my copy of Frogpond, where my crow haiku was published, that another bird, a robin, came visiting.  The European Robin is a Winter/Christmas image in the U.K. and other parts of Europe.   

The robin haiku is unpublished, produced in honour of Frogpond being visited by this most friendly and iconic of birds in Britain.

Bluebells and Frogpond.

Such superb artwork for the cover of Frogpond by Christopher Patchel, that comes even more alive in outdoor photographs that I am reminded of this haiku in another publication, that of Presence magazine:

Presence magazine cover art and design by Ian Turner.

Another example of fine cover artwork is by Andrew Brown for the British Haiku Society journal Blithe Spirit.

An incredible delight and surprise was the fact that I was shortlisted for the Museum of Haiku Literature Award by esteemed artist/poet Debbie Strange via the British Haiku Society journal Blithe Spirit (Editor Dave Serjeant):

Commentary by Debbie Strange:

I am also honoured to be published by the Asahi Shimbun of Japan:

The haikai journals with web links:

Frogpond is the Haiku Society of America's journal edited by Aubrie Cox with Assistant Editor Jim Warner, artwork by Christopher Patchel: 

Presence is the U.K.'s largest independent journal of haiku literature with fine editors:

Blithe Spirit is the journal of the British Haiku Society:

Asahi Shimbun, Japan, has a regular haiku column in English edited by David McMurray since April 1995, first for the Asahi Evening News:

More about one line haiku:


How Robins Became the Birds of Christmas

Monday, May 02, 2016

haiku + photograph aka shahai published in moongarlic issue 6 (May 2016)

Delighted to have a shahai published by moongarlic.  Thank you editors!


Photo + Haiku = Shahai 写俳
sha … from shashin (photo) 写真
hai … from haiku 俳句

photograph by Karen Hoy
words by: Alan Summers

o    all the lost names
u    another building ticks
s    adjusting to change

Friday, April 29, 2016

three monostich poems published in Otata issue 4 - haiku, monoku

Three monostich poems:

shadows that don't daffodils belong

sun off stubble a train in its landscape

call of geese the heart I eat inside

poems©Alan Summers

Publication Credit: 
otata 4 (April, 2016) An e-zine of haiku and short poems

Otata is edited by John Martone

A number of books by John Martone are available from:

Friday, April 15, 2016

melissa allen fuel rods by moonlight haiku explication by Alan Summers

Original photograph©Karen Hoy, manipulated image with permission by Alan Summers

Where moonlight meets death:

Full explication of this remarkable haiku

I’m very proud of being one of the founding editors of a cutting edge online magazine that first published this fine one line haiku. 

radiation leak moonlight on the fuel rods

Melissa Allen
First publication credit: Haijinx IV:1 (2011)

This social conscience/science/industry based haiku carries on from Japanese haiku writers such as Yamaguchi Seishi when the industrial revolution was taking hold:

natsukusa ni kikansha no sharin kite tomaru

Up to summer grass,
wheels of a locomotive
coming to a stop.

The Essence of Modern Haiku: 300 Poems by Seishi Yamaguchi. Translated by Takashi Kodaira and Alfred H. Marks. Introduction by Sono Uchida. Atlanta, Ga.: Mangajin, Inc., 1993

To the result that a second world war took hold, and post-atomic bombed Japan’s struggles were recorded by Tohta Kaneko, influenced by Issa, combining the nature of Issa with the nature of his ongoing contemporary society:

Shinishi hone wa umi ni sutsubeshi takuan kamu 

dead bones into the sea I chew pickled radish 

Tohta Kaneko
English version Alan Summers 

This haiku is about the horrific aftermath of WWII Japan suffering atomic attack radiation in some parts, and food shortages and extreme poverty across Japan. Pickled radish is very loud when chewed, like bones being crunched, and human bones were disposed of in the sea. Hunger, and no choice but to dispose of so many bodies, became an unforgiving duet of death and informed much of Kaneko’s post-war work. 
The G-force of Blue | Touching Base with Gendai haiku by Alan Summers 
Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts Vol.1, No.1 February 2013

And then we come to someone like Melissa Allen who brings aspects of both industrial revolution; post-war society invention; and its consequences, which continue to enfold with the Fukishima incident, where nature is stronger than man’s incompetence. 

We have entered man-interfered nature on a great scale, and while the planet is safe whatever happens, and many of the other basic animals, we tread foolishly if we do not take note.

The haiku is one straight line of seven chilling words that technically encapsulate the autumn kigo (seasonal reference) of the moon; a season for visiting past relatives and family at graveyards, and harvesting the fields which are turned on their heads bringing forth a last century danger right back into the new century we are now precariously starting off for our children.

Brevity, a powerful tool, as haiku are like shorthand notation; memes; memos; minature prayers; and mantras; all not easily forgotten, and as well, it’s eco-writing that has moved on from nostalagia to a wake up call.  

We cannot contain the radiation leak from this Fukishima multiple incident of nature and faulty construction.  Moonlight will reveal as much as direct sunlight will on how those fuel rods have not held up: Neither has the sandbags both pitifully literal defences in the early stages, as well metaphorical tags for one lack of insight after another.   

We all scurry under moonlight, in our daily routines, at our peril, at risk from neglected foresight and hindsight that will never be 20/20 vision, and the poet will seek us all out.

Alan Summers

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Haiku & Tanka: Amazement and Intensity four week online internet course led by Alan Summers

Haiku & Tanka: 
Amazement and Intensity 
The 2016 Course

MON, JUN 6, 2016
SUN, JUL 3, 2016
A four-week online workshop, where teaching artist Alan Summers will guide you through an exploration of the roots of haiku (from classic to gendai) and its sister form of senryu. 

He will also cover tanka, sometimes seen as the Japanese sonnet. 

You'll trace the forms' heritage by readings from its founding fathers and mothers, negotiate its deceptive simplicity of subject and language, and follow the evolution of English language haiku and its subforms through its modern journey. 

Throughout the course, we'll refer to a highly respected classic anthology (a downloadable handout will be provided).

In Week 1, “Amazement of the Ordinary,” we’ll focus on haiku, its origins, its language, and consider what it is exactly that makes a haiku.

In Week 2, “Being Human: The Ordinary Intensity”, we’ll look at senryu, the sister form to haiku.

In Week 3, “The Japanese Sonnet,” we’ll look at the related five-line form of the tanka.

In Week 4, “Futures,” we’ll look at the non-traditional emergent subform: gendai haiku, and reinforce and build on what we’ve learnt with haiku, senryu and tanka.

4 weeks online/$200
plus follow up month

Teaching artist: Alan Summers

The Poetry Barn organisation:
image©Poetry Barn