Online internet courses by With Words

Are you interested in a With Words course? We run courses on haiku (beginner and intermediate, and advanced). We also run workshops and courses on 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)

Thursday, July 07, 2016

crows, corvids, the caretakers of the world, and other crow haiku

lightning tree crow©Alan Summers 2016

crow haiku by Alan Summers

secret garden
a clue to everything
lies with the crows

Publication Credit: 
Mainichi Shimbun (Japan) Thursday  July 7th 2016

fresh breeze mixing up the crows with T-shirts


intermittent rain I shed another crow 

Publication Credits: Frogpond autumn 2013 issue (36:3)

mist haze-
a crow cleans its beak
on a rooftop aerial

Publications credits: Azami 38 (Japan 1996)

senko incense-
twig-carrying crows
after the floods

Publication Credit: Scope vol. 60 no. 3 (FAWQ  magazine April 2014)

floating snowflakes -
the triple caw of a crow
within the tree

Publications credits: Mainichi Shimbun (Japan, 2008)

slow-drifting clouds
out of the lebanon cedar
a discussion of crows

Publication Credit: 
the Icebox inbox – 33 (Hail Haiku Group, Japan, October 2014)

powdered snow -
a crow’s eyes above
the no parking sign

Award credit: 
Joint Winner, Haiku International Association 10th Anniversary Haiku Contest 1999

Publications credits: The Mie Times, Japan (1999); Haiku International magazine (Japan 1999); Watermark: A Poet’s Notebook - Crows (2004); The In-Between Season (With Words Pamphlet Series 2012); Does Fish-God Know (YTBN Press 2012)

night crows
the haystacks lose
their moonlight

Publication Credit:   Wild Plum 1:1 (Spring & Summer 2015)
Anthology Credit:     Behind the Tree Line (2015 haiku anthology) ed. Gabriel Sawicki

dark news
the comfort
of crows

Publication Credit: tinywords 15.1 (March 31st 2015)

The story behind the story:

nouvelles sombres
le réconfort
des corneilles
French trans. Serge Tome

invisible crow
the lebanon tree utters
a call of three caws

Award Credit: 
Honourable Mention, Only One Kagoshima Tree Haiku Contest (Japan 2015)

wheat fields…
some of the crows change
their colours

Publication Credit: Blithe Spirit 26.1 (March 2016)
Anthology credit: EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2016 Foodcrop Haiku 

the jack of all moons 
rising rising 

Publication Credit: Scope Vol 62 No 1 (The magazine of the Fellowship of Australian Writers (Qld) Inc February 2016)

a scent of leaves 
in the crow call 

Publication Credit: Scope Vol 62 No 1 (The magazine of the Fellowship of Australian Writers (Qld) Inc February 2016)

noun: The pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell.

moonlighting crows in other colors
Publication Credit: Frogpond (39:1) Winter Issue

With Words student MW (USA) said:
“Crows, the original shape shifters.  Masters of illusion.  The crow wears many faces but I have never thought about a change in color - brilliant!"

With Words student MW (USA) said:
" 'moonlighting' is perfect, but one of the strongest words in the poem is "other"- I just feel it...You are a poet of poets!”

day moon
a crow slices
half of it

Publication credit:
moongarlic issue 5 November 2015

“Your haiku (etc) are the most diverse of any poet I have ever read - from classical to ultra-modern - your work feels both universal and new - you push the boundaries…” 
Paraphrased from a longer piece by With Words student MW (published poet).

lightning crow©Alan Summers 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Alan Summers - Guest Poet at Chippfest - Haiku in Chippenham

Dawn Gorman is the organiser of Words & Ears, and an award-winning poet, arts practitioner and journalist, with an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University:

"Another Words & Ears On-The-Road event, this time at the kind invitation of Brian Reid, as part of Chippfest 2016

We have two home-grown poets lined up for you - Alan Summers, who will be familiar to Words & Ears regulars, and who now lives in Chippenham, and Sam Loveless, who works there, and is part of the excellent Swindon poetry scene. The format will be the same as at Bradford's poem-and-a-pint night: bring a poem, story or song to share, or just bring yourself. All performers and listeners welcome, and of course, open mic slots always available. All donations on the door to charity."

Open Mic in both halves of the event.

First half - guest poets start with 15 minutes each, followed by open mic.

There'll be an interval of about 20/25 minutes.

Second half - guest poets start with 10 minutes each, followed by open mic.
End of the evening - guest poets both do one final poem to send us on our way.

The Busby and Cocklebury club venue is directly opposite Chippenham train station, at the white/grey building to the side of the brick building (BT).

Alan Summers: 

And for something very weird I discovered today:

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