Online internet courses by Call of the Page

Are you interested in a Call of the Page course? We run courses on haiku; tanka; tanka stories/prose; haibun; shahai; and other genres.

Please email Karen or Alan at our joint email address:
We will let you know more about these courses.

Call of the Page (Alan & Karen)

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The People of Van Gogh – hybrid writing by Alan Summers

photo©Alan Summers 2019

Ekphrastic hybrid writing by Alan Summers
from a visit to Tate Britain and an exhibition of Vincent van Gogh's paintings

The People of Van Gogh

There's the girl with bunches and her dad's T-shirt
says books for prisoners with only twenty-six people
who can enter the elevator at any one time though 
my melancholy is drawn to “figures on the road”
like prison exercise yards of Cummings and Dore

we mill around

and sometimes Vincent appears as a slow dance
with music both on pause and coded, directing us, somehow
there’s a blue winter hat that becomes a boy's T-shirt
of red-winged birds still unknown to this planet
whose footsteps on mock wood floors
fall between coughs
as two officials gesticulating to each other
without an audience
girls are quiet with their mother
and the polka dots on one is bending air
as close as wheatfields
with hushed tones of two frames creaking
into each other whenever people 
stop looking

the song of the next shift
has words that travel to bare arms, or ankle bones
clicking and knitting their roseate hair
that end up as washing instructions
all lit up by sunflowers

a woman has petals
from her dress

into someone with lycra and a bicycle chain
adorning just one arm that turns into silver
in his eyes someone else’s teeth 
clenche a friend's camera lens
in front of Van Gogh staring back

the camera sighs
knowing another selfie will be done
before he can turn back to wheat
the moon and stars on all our lower arms
sing a tattoo of gratefulness

frayed sun
the knife edge
of canvas

Alan Summers
Publication credit: Blithe Spirit Vol. 29 No. 4 (November 2019) 
editor Caroline Skanne 
Haibun title: The People of Van Gogh   
(Blithe Spirit journal page 51-52)

ekphrastic hybrid writing/poetry

Tate Britain:

photo©Alan Summers 2019

What is ekphrastic writing?
from the Afterword by Alan Summers for Ekphrasis Between Image and Word

When we attempt ekphrastic forays, into the landscape of painting, haiku could be seen as two brushstrokes frozen in mid-air. Or, using another analogy, while attempting to capture the energy of painting, it’s not unlike the techniques made famous in The Matrix movie; freeze frames that an actor moves around, at will, while everyone and everything else is an individual ‘still life,’ or an intimate and suspended panorama.

When I write about a painting through my own poetry I am both telling a story, but also attempting to tell a story, all at the same time. 

[T]ravel the paintings, hear the echoes in between, and tell your own story too. 

Afterword extract from Alan Summers from the book:
Ekphrasis Between Image and Word
our dialogue as haiku poet with art

Details about our next hybrid writing/haibun online course:

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

End of the Year: The Comfort of Crows – a haiku collaborative!

The Comfort of Crows 
Hifsa Ashraf and Alan Summers 
(Velvet Dusk Publishing, December 2019)

Hifsa Ashraf 
The idea of a collaborative book came around at least as far back as September 2018 when Hifsa revealed a series of fantastic and startling illustrations that caught the spirit and energy of crows.

Hifsa is from Pakistan. She is a multilingual poet who writes poetry in English, Urdu, and Punjabi.

More crows and corvid relatives from Hifsa!

And do check out:

Many thanks to Chrissi Villa and Shloka Shankar of Velvet Dusk Publishing!

Thrilled to have blurb from:

Anna Maris 
Chair of the literary section of the Swedish Author’s Union, and a board member of the Swedish Haiku Society.

Anna Maris writes haiku in Swedish and English. She is the chair of the literary section of the Swedish Author’s Union and a board member of the Swedish Haiku Society. She teaches haiku in schools and has a haiku circle at the temple of Yangtorp in the South of Sweden. Anna has won many awards for haiku, senryu and renku. Her bilingual single collection Lifedeathetc (2016) is published by Red Moon Press. She has two earlier haiku books, published in Swedish. Her work has been included in numerous anthologies, including A New Resonance 11. She is currently employed as a journalist and media trainer in Sweden and Ukraine.

Kris Tsujikawa 
Delighted that the "crowtojournalist" gave us a great blurb as she really knows about crows, and her feedback as blurb was crucial.

John Stevenson
A former President of the Haiku Society of America, and former editor of the HSA journal, Frogpond, one of the oldest and most widely circulated journals of English-language haiku. He is the Managing Editor of Heron’s Nest, while his own haiku have won awards in innumerable competitions. He is co-founder of the Route 9 Haiku Group, which creates the Upstate Dim Sum journal. He is one of the most highly regarded living haiku poets in the world.

Alan Summers
And of course Alan Summers and the catalyst for the illustrations, and finally a collaborative collection around crows, and helped by crows!

Alan Summers is also co-founder of Call of the Page along with his wife Karen Hoy:

And if you want to know about monoku
the one line haiku:

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas and Winter Festivities around the world from Sam the Lurcher, honorary haiku dog and haiku god!

Karen, Alan, and Sam, honorary member of Call of the Page all wish you an incredible rest of the year, and into 2020!

Call of the Page poetry courses for 2020!

We'll see you all in 2020!!!

Friday, November 29, 2019

Van Gogh – painter, artist: a haibun by Alan Summers (incorporating a body of words with haiku)

photo©Alan Summers 2019

Van Gogh’s combat fatigues
The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain,Tate Britain 2019

the man who isn’t
with anyone
stops alongside
different people

choosing them
over the paintings

he has birds
in his arms

and loose locks
of hair made from thought

there are small lives 
within the frames of paintings
having candlelit dinners

and the last door 
out of the exhibition
will begin to sound 
like a trombone
taking leave 
of someone

we hear the chatter
between airlocks
it’s news of a hundred 
and two decades old

as the hours close
in on themselves
the trombone reflects 
on Louis Armstrong
talking to Vincent

backend rain…
a pair of canvas boots
framed by the door

haibun©Alan Summers

Publication credit: 
Weird Laburnum ed. Michael O’Brien (August 2019)

Published on the morning of the last day of the exhibition with thanks to editor Michael O'Brien

Exhibition:Tate Britain


About the Haiku:

backend rain…
a pair of canvas boots
framed by the door

Seasonal Note: backend = autumn rain (North of England)

If Vincent van Gogh could visit one of his exhibitions in modern times:

Vincent Van Gogh Visits the Gallery 
Vincent And The Doctor | Doctor Who

photo©Alan Summers 2019

Haibun came to the fore as literary writing, and as a new genre to some extent, by Matsuo Bashō, with in particular his masterpiece:

Oku no Hosomichi (奥の細道, originally おくのほそ道, meaning "Narrow road to/of the interior"), translated alternately as The Narrow Road to the Deep North and The Narrow Road to the Interior, is a major work of haibun by the Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō, considered one of the major texts of Japanese literature of the Edo period. WIKIPEDIA

Haibun is now practiced in many ways, 
and derives from straight prose accounts interspersed by haiku that create either vignettes in their own right, or lateral narratives, or cut aways as we see in documentary interviews, or filming drama where the camera breaks away to a café scene etc…

photo©Alan Summers 2019

HAIBUN (prose+haiku genre)

Our haibun courses usually sell out, 
but we have an extra one!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Haiku: The one breath poetry – Bristol Museum and Art Gallery evening event

The photos are now up on the Call of the Page!

As you can see it was a fully booked packed event!


Thursday 5 September 2019

Booking information

£5 adult
£4 concession
Doors open at 6.15pm.
A rare opportunity to discover the sensory nature of haiku in the beautiful surroundings of the museum. A haiku is a form of short Japanese poetry that evokes images and feelings.
Discover how to write your own haiku inspired by a visit to our Masters of Japanese Prints: Nature and Seasons exhibition which features the iconic Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai.
The event will be facilitated by poetry experts Bertel Martin, Alan Summers and Karen Hoy, and a selection of participants’ haiku will be read aloud on the night.
Booking information:


Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Queens Rd

Opportunity for those overseas or otherwise unable to physically attend!
You can also submit haiku, tanka, senryu online

The poets at the event!

Emcee: Bertel Martin!

Alan Summers
Lead Tutor, Call of the Page
Karen Hoy
Course Director/Tutor,
Call of the Page

Saturday, July 27, 2019

monobun haibun prose+haiku hybrid poems


is somewhere between violet and green—if the colour doesn’t lie—that connects us; we are really not infinity, but you left me, you destroyed my pale heart, and a coffee, left unsaid, and unanswered.
rambling journey
I become a trifold
of my past

after Claude Monet, 
from a letter to Paul Cézanne

fairygrowth©Alan Summers

It's the small things...

that count, and I read that they too will die, the unknown and unseen insects who befriend roses, on the window ledges of prisons.
mosaic rain:
the cul de sac
of shadow

after Sylvia Plath

perspective©Alan Summers

The uncertainity principle...

is something that haunts so many of us just starting out on life, hovering just beyond the periphery of parental constraints, where we fly or fall on a single smile, and…

blustering wind 
does she really love me 

after Heisenberg

3 monobun©Alan Summers
monobun term created by Alan Summers

Three monobun (over two issues) of Human/Kind journal:

Please do leave a comment, we love them!

Haibun - From one-bun to monobun to longer pieces of prose with haiku writing and Journeys 2015 in at no. 7 in Amazon Hot New Releases