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)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Unique residential course covering raku firing; haiku; short love poems (tanka); haibun and renga

WRITING POETRY the haiku way.
2010 Booking confirmed at Monday - Friday 12th-16th April 2010


A raku firing event is included in the writing course as a fantastic souvenir of the course!

Get a sense of the whole experience!
YouTube link:

After the renga group poem you will details about the course and where and how you can book.

Quotes from my incredible students!

"Just to say that I have heard from the magazine you suggested and they have accepted my story and will publish and want more. Thank you."
(National magazine)

“You are a great teacher, and I know what I'm saying. Thank you for everything you gave us.”

“…still on a high…you helped me move past a real boulder I had been lugging around…I am very grateful and enjoying my writing much more.”

To see what the course is about please scroll further down but enjoy the final event we did last Spring.

Claridge House is an amazing venue and receives FULL With Words stars rating.

The food is incredible, and they cater for every kind of diet.

Getting to Claridge House is very easy. We had workshoppers from York and Cardiff as well as the South East. Lingfield Station is about 30 minutes from Victoria Station, and Claridge House is 3 minutes from the local station.

We all had a proper breakfast on the last day with absolutely no rushing for the train.

I have never been to a venue that did so much for its guests, and I can't recommend the place highly enough if you are a writer or want to enrol on a course just to have a quality few days away.

The atmosphere is the most relaxing I've ever been in, and none of us had to worry for a second where our next meal or coffee etc... was coming from.

Incredible value all round, incredible place.

This is our group renga that we did to finish the course.

I wish you could have all been there, it was so inspiring, and such a lot of fun we couldn't stop laughing at times!

The renga was composed Thursday evening (March 12th 2008) and With Words donated 10% from its residential fee to Comic Relief (Red Nose Day 2009),
as they give amazing support to literacy in the U.K. and Africa, on April Fool's Day!



cold start
a robin puffs its chest up
for the first note

war cry
a rival at hand

friendly gardener
greets his friend
has a chat

but the robin sees a worm
and forgets the song

the worm forgets
the song
and knows oblivion

the female strikes a pose
on another branch

no Wenceslas
with his page
treads the snow

melting into drops
and runs away

drops of blood
lead a trail
to a hidden cavern

a wounded mouse
lies within

pussy willow
buds unfurl
furry warmth

the bear slowly awoke
as the child

the trampoline
on the lawn
next to the paddling pool

ice cream cone
fallen to the ground

in the moonlight
the fox sniffed
and moved on

to the grapes
in the greenhouse

a field of wheat
lay just beyond
spelt of course

two bikes
lying in the chaff

a dirty glass
punctures the tyre
and the crop circle

four footsteps
lead off

the vapour trail
out of the milky way

a chocolate wrapper
is all that’s left


WRITING POETRY the haiku way
with Alan Summers

Claridge House
March 9th -13th 2009

Enter the world of Japanese poetry; immerse yourself into the
‘quietnesses’ of haiku while weaving the haiku technique into your writing.

Haiku is a relaxing way of noting the ordinary moments in our lives, and with a complimentary Haiku Journal, you can become part of the Haiku way.

Enjoy the beautiful surroundings, and as haiku are often written with a seasonal reference, and contain natural images, be inspired by the nature right outside Claridge House.

outdoor images©
  • The Haiku Game: great entertainment and ice-breaker and a relaxed way to start to understand all about haiku
  • Haiku: its history, techniques, how to keep a haiku journal (with complimentary Haiku Journal): how to read or perform haiku (and haibun); and how to get published.
  • Ginko: a writing walk, weather permitting, with complimentary Haiku Journal
The course also includes an insight into other 'forms' associated with haiku:
  • Tanka: the short love poem
  • Haibun (prose with haiku): great for journals or diary entries, and with travel writing
  • Renga: Our last full day will have a 12 verse renga, just for fun!
There will be plenty of opportunity to have one-one and/or group feedback on haiku and other forms that you wish to either get to publishable quality, or wish to develop further in your writing as a novelist; travel writer (and other non-fiction); a journal/diarist; or poet.

image©Claridge House

Alan Summers is a Japan Times award-winning poet for haiku and renga, a former General Secretary of the British Haiku Society, with fifteen years’ experience, and founder of With Words.

The course will run at Claridge House, a Victorian building with full disabled access set in beautiful gardens in the Surrey countryside.

It runs from 4 pm Monday to Friday after breakfast. The cost of £290 includes the cost of accommodation and meals (which are vegetarian based on organic produce) as well the Course itself, and complimentary haiku notebooks.

Claridge House
tel. no. 01342 832150 or 0845 345 7281



Claridge House, Dormans Road, Dormansland Lingfield, Surrey, RH7 6QH

Reg. Charity no 228102.

British Haiku Society Guest Talk

British Haiku Society's Winter Gathering, London
Saturday 22 November 2008

Talk/presentation: Haiku off the page; events, performance and activities.
Bring examples you may have of haiku presented other than on paper and pick up ideas to give you inspiration and confidence to generate small haiku events where you live.

I was invited to give a talk and presentation for the British Haiku Society at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, in London. The whole day was excellent, with the added delight that Red Lion Square contained a friendly café.

Before the talk a chat with Canadian writer Mike Chasty.

Red Lion Square:
Left: talking to poets A.A. Marcoff and Katherine Gallagher.
Right: under Bertram Russell's gaze talking to Treasurer Steve Mason.
Photographs courtesy of Frank Williams.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Royal Festival Hall launch of the Haiku Journal Notebook

'With Words' team at the Royal Festival Hall as part of the Thames Festival.

We launched our 'The Haiku Journal' notebooks by offering mini-workshops and challenging everyone to write a haiku!

Here are just a few photos from the occasional 'quieter' times we had.

We have since renamed ourselves Call of the Page:

We also run online courses in haiku; senryu; haibun; shahai; tanka and other related genres:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The launch of "Wing Beats: British Birds in Haiku" in London & Bath

Both these launches were great fun, very hard work but enjoyable, and very packed affairs.

The October launch in Bath, at Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights (Independent Bookshop of the Year 2008) was very crowded and busy but further below are a few of the Bath launch photos I was able to take amongst the amazing crush of enthusiastic people creating an buzz; a huge thank you to everyone who made this unforgettable !

BATH launch:
Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights‘Independent Bookshop of the Year 2008’
14/15 John Street (behind Jolly's, opposite the "Salamander" pub)
Bath, BA1 2JL"Wing Beats: British Birds in Haiku"
Saturday 4th October 2008 - 6.30pm - 8pmFREE EVENT with wine, soft drinks & nibbles
“something truly unique: beautifully written yet easily accessible poetry that helps us reconnect with the natural world in a deeper, more intense way” (Stephen Moss)

Event will be on the ground floor where there are small steps into the street-level. Useful photos of low pavement, doorway, and ground floor interior:
For further bookshop events & details please see:
(and scroll down)

Map and contact details:

This event is being held in association with With Words, and will feature readings by John Barlow and Matthew Paul; Alan Summers; plus contributors.

Karen Hoy was the M.C.

Stephen Moss will be reading from both Wing Beats and his new book, A Sky Full of Starlings (reprising his own launch earlier in the week).

Matthew Paul signing books

Left: Lydia (with Mr B's carrier bags) helps sell Wing Beats!

 So does Karen! (in the corridor, yes it was that crowded, is myself, John Barlow, and Stephen Moss waiting our turns).

Above: Stephen Moss reading from Wing Beats.

It became so packed on the ground floor I had to move the book signing upstairs!

Stephen; John; and Matthew with some breathing space to sign books and chat.

Some of us retired to the Eastern Eye including Canadian writer and haiku poet Marshall Hryciuk sitting next to the left of Yu Yan Chen.


London event photos©Alan SummersLeft: John Barlow and myself around 2am after a gruelling but amazing double haiku event.
Karen with the boys! Matthew Paul and John Barlow
First event was the
'With Words' event at the Royal Festival Hall where "The Haiku Journal" was launched alongside "Wing Beats: British Birds in Haiku"; followed by the packed-to-the-rafters 'Wing Beats' book launch at the Poetry Society's Poetry Cafe with John Barlow and Matthew Paul, with 'With Words' as hosts.

Two images courtesy of Frank Williams

Karen struts her stuff!
London event photo©Alan Summers

David Cobb
London event photo©Alan Summers

Martin Lucas
London event photo©Alan Summers

Graham High
London event photo©Alan Summers

Wing Beats
is a 320 page, hardback book. It has been described as:

“a truly unique book for both nature and poetry lovers which explores both British avifauna and the history and intricacies of haiku poetry, considering the relationships between these in a global context . . . and has gorgeous photographic watercolour illustrations by Sean Gray as well as a foreword by bird expert and BBC wildlife producer Stephen Moss” (The Book Monkey)
“full of acute observations, artistically moving, and intellectually stimulating – a very important book” (William J. Higginson)
“a triumph of seeing, expression and poetic control” (Mark Cocker)

Copies of the first edition/first printing can be ordered in advance at:

A launch evening will also take place in Covent Garden, London, at:The Poetry Society’s Poetry Café
Saturday 13th September (Doors 7.30 pm for 8 pm).

Poetry Café
22 Betterton St.
Covent Garden
London WC2H 9BX
Tel: 020 7420 9887
: Ely Ahamed
Open 7 p.m. - 11 p.m. Saturday
Map weblink

Nearest Underground: Covent Garden (Piccadilly Line) Holborn (Piccadilly and Central lines)

From Covent Garden Underground station
Turn left out of the tube station to reach Longacre, then cross over at the zebra crossing (opposite Marks and Spencers). Turn right up Longacre. At the mini roundabout, use the zebra crossing (to your left) to cross over the top of Endell Street, then turn left down Endell Street.
Betterton Street is the second turning on the right (it is a one-way street with access from Endell Street). The Poetry Society (Number 22 Betterton Street) is less than 100 metres down on the left-hand side. It has a dark blue frontage. The Poetry Cafe next door is the Poetry Society's public space.

There is a disabled parking bay opposite the building. There are two more disabled parking bays on Longacre outside French Connection.

This event, which like the launch in Bath, is being held in association with With Words, will feature readings by John Barlow and Matthew Paul; Alan Summers; plus other contributors.

RSVP is essential for this event, so if you would like an invitation please could you let John at Snapshot Press know as soon as possible at email address:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hokusai's wave
on her T-shirt:
she strokes my ankle

This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.
This applies to the United States, Canada, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


channel-billed cuckoo
from beneath the dying fruit tree
I hear its storm cry

channel-billed cuckoo on wikipedia
A juvenile, displaying the pale tipped feathers on the wings.
In adults the tips are dark.

IMAGE/Photograph by Zarni02 at en.wikipedia
Released into the public domain (by
Zarni02, the author).
(Original text : Public Domain)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Poetry School Renga workshop


With a nod and thanks to Alec Finlay for his inspiration
and superb renga book: shared writing: renga days

Slug and Lettuce renga
(see below)
Renga Sabaki: Alan Summers

  • June Hall
  • Libby Houston
  • Donald Gibson
  • Linda Saunders
  • Be Mattingly
  • Lynette Rees
  • Karen Hoy

Nijuin Renga
A renga is a series of very short verses, linked into one long poem, composed collaboratively by a group. 'Nijuin' means a 20-verse renga created by 20th Century renga master Meiga Higashi. He considered the Nijuin renga to be the shortest form that could be both contemporary yet capture some of the classic feel of renga.

There are three movements in Nijuin Renga: a four verse section; a twelve verse; and another four verse section. We started in Spring going through the seasons, as well as writing love, and moon verses, to end back in Spring.
The intrepid rengaistas get their first few verses down:


Reflective rengaistas*
(*Alec Finlay's term for renga poets)

More thinking and working out a verse
that has to both link and shift!

Renga fun moments!
Although we look serious and reflective at times,
there was a lot of fun too, especially with the 'love verses'.

Action renga!


Last verse! Then some of us went on to Yen Sushi,
it's a hard life for rengaistas!

Nijuin Renga

A renga is a series of very short verses, linked into one long poem, composed  collaboratively by a group.

'Nijuin' means a 20-verse renga created by 20th Century renga master Meiga Higashi.  He considered the Nijuin renga to be the shortest form that could be both contemporary yet capture some of the classic feel of renga.

There are three movements in Nijuin Renga: a four verse section; a twelve verse; and another four verse section. We started in Spring going through the seasons, as well as writing love and moon verses, to end back in Spring.

This was composed jointly by the Poetry School workshop led by Alan Summers, which met in the Slug & Lettuce Restaurant in Bath in April 2008.

four hundred species

nesting gulls–
leaves carved
in Bath Stone

demolition reveals
hills and archaeology

we've lost the moon
on the way
to the station

cherry muffin
or wasabi peas

ninety-three million miles
is too close

stuck in the hedge again

in the middle
of a banking crisis

warm tattoos
Harley lovers' engines purr

text me
fizzed the love heart
on my tongue

all the screens in Curry's
have gone dark

the imprint
of a departed leaf
on the pavement

bracken light
kipper smoke

in their window
the luminous goose
rivals the moon

breaking cups
screams below

tea time
limbs thrown
in the cauldron

fleecy vests wait
for the coming child

we are hiding
from chaos
behind the sofa

a really thorough
one-eighth spring clean

four hundred species
of dandelion
ready to tell the time

are cuckoos

Renga Sabaki: Alan Summers


June Hall
Libby Houston
Donald Gibson
Linda Saunders
Be Mattingley
Lynette Rees
Karen Hoy

Breaking news as of May 2012:

Libby Houston wins major award:

The Linnean Society is one of the premier scientific societies in the world, whose mission is the cultivation of the science of natural history in all its branches. 

Libby Houston is also a great poet:

Other poets:

June Hall:

Linda Saunders:

Lynette Rees:

Donald Gibson (St. Andrews University):
‘Pseudo-statement or Creative Misreading: What Happens to Science in Poetry?’  

Karen Hoy works in TV Development and is a published haiku poet: 

Bea aka Be Mattingly is an adventurer and adores bikers.