Online internet courses by Call of the Page

Are you interested in a Call of the Page 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 Karen or Alan at our joint email address:
We will let you know more about these courses.

Call of the Page (Alan & Karen)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

ekphrasis - poetry and art, and when haiku met art

      our dialogue as a haiku poet with art

There are many ways into writing about a particular artwork.

For instance, what memories, from childhood or young adulthood etc... are evoked by a certain painting or other artwork you saw somewhere?

If it's a tanka there is more than room enough to add the title of a painting, and maybe the artist's name, and to a certain degree that can also be done in a haiku.


Monet’s Haystacks
a group of crows tug
at twilight

Alan Summers
Publication credits: Asahi Shimbun (Japan, 2010)


Monet’s pain–
the shadows of haybales
lengthening the sunset

Alan Summers
Publication credits: 
The Bath Burp: Poetry, Music & Arts Monthly Issue No. 10 (2012)

See Monet's haystacks:

van Gogh’s wheatfield
the width of a hand fills
with crows

Alan Summers
Publication credits: 
The Bath Burp: Poetry, Music & Arts Monthly Issue No. 10 (2012)

Wheatfield with Crows

Auvers-sur-Oise, July 1890 Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890) oil on canvas, 50.5 cm x 103 cm 

such old steps 
I water the sunflowers 
for van Gogh

Alan Summers
Publication credit: 
Stardust Haiku Issue 9 - September 2017

van Gogh's sunflowers:

4-line haiku from a talk at Victoria and Albert Museum about Japanese art, and in particular netsuke (pronounced 'net-ski).

the blue
of the aubergine
a spider is caught
in the netsuke

Alan Summers
Publication credits: Snapshots Seven (2000)

The aubergine netsuke at the V&A:

the hare with amber eyes
jumps back in again

Alan Summers
Publication credits: Mainichi Shimbun (Japan, May 2011)

the crows changing
into their colours

Alan Summers 

Siena rooftops
sketching the shapes
in my mind

Karen Hoy
Yomiuri Shimbun, Go-Shichi-Go Haiku in English / Using poetic color in haiku  (Japan, 2004)

The rooftops of Siena, Italy:

Madame Camellia
a teabag discarded
in autumn leaves

Karen Hoy
Publication credit: 
Blithe Spirit Vol. 27 No. 1 (February 2017) ISSN 1353-3320

La Dame aux Camelias aka Madame Camellia

Description by Karen Hoy:
I was walking home on an autumn day, and noticed that someone had chucked a teabag into the fallen leaves accumulated where the flagstone pathway met people’s front garden walls.  I had to think for a moment about why the image piqued something in me – it was a sludgy brown colour among autumn shades – it didn’t stand out.  

But then I realised that the tension was between these exotic cast-off leaves [tea being the dried leaves of a camellia bush, I believe] and the local autumn leaves.  And I had the image of some tragedy, of a decline, but without a loss of self-respect or dignity.  A sort of forbearing.  

I must have been influenced by the title Madame Butterfly too.  Also the film “La Dame aux Camelias” where the heroine has tuberculosis (which I think subconsciously linked to the dampness of the teabag – I can’t remember whether the autumn leaves were damp or dry, I think perhaps they were in-between).

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 forthcoming book:
Ekphrasis Between Image and Word
Paintings by Maria Pierides. Haiku responses by Stella Pierides
Foreword by Robert Lamoon 
Afterword by Alan Summers
Fruit Dove Press 
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