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)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The 2011 Kids Count for Earthday Haiku Contest Results!

This competition, sponsored by HSA this year, was an incredible world-wide success.

Alan, With Words


Hai Five To The Winners Of The Earthday Haiku Contest 2011!

HSA (Haiku Society of America) were our new sponsors, thank you HSA!

Other sponsors are:
With Words (UK); Sketchbook Haiku Journal (USA); and Planetpals (Worldwide).

From co-founder Judith Gorgone of Planetpals:

"It was quite and honor to receive so many creative entries from children and classrooms around the world. This year we decided to add comments written by the esteemed Judge from the Haiku Society of America, an'ya.  Her comprehensive commentaries help us all understand why the haiku were chosen as well as, helping us learn. We are quite pleased to have the Sponsorship of the Haiku Society of America who generously donated a years membership to the winner."

Haiku Art entries
Thanks to Planetpals and Judith, this year, many entries included Haiga (Art plus Haiku). So, we have featured them separately:

Earthday Haiku Contest for Children and Young Persons 2011 Contest Results

All 2011 entries will be published on Sketchbook Haiku Jounal

Judges commentary (an'ya, representing HSA)

An excellent turn out of haiku!

Our main criteria was good writing which captured the haiku spirit. Not all the entries were necessarily 5-7-5, and as this was only a guideline, you will find the occasional exception.

A big thank you to all who entered, we enjoyed over 250 entries from various countries.

*All haiku comments below kindly written by an'ya, Haiku Society of America Judge

Overall First Choice

The overall winner for 2011 is Amy Claire Rose Smith (13) from Darlington, County Durham, UK for this wonderful haiku poem:

Earth Day dusk --
falling all around me
blackbird song

7-9 years old
First Choice:

the water is smooth
a bird dips down, and away
ripples on the water

Katy Smith
Fourth Grade,
Barrington, IL USA, Teacher: Michelle Pezzuto

This haiku by Katy Smith still adheres to the 5,7,5 format we were originally taught in our various school systems (which is fine) although nowadays many haiku poets are using just a short, long, short count since the Japanese sound syllables differ in length from English syllables. 

Having said this, Katy's haiku moment is as smoothly written as her first line "the water is smooth" which opens the moment with a "wide setting", and then in line two she zeros or zooms in on a bird dipping down, then she takes that bird away and all that is left in line three, are "ripples on the water." 

A very good use of "showing" us this moment rather than "telling" us what to think about it. Well done!

Second Choice:

spring meadow
a single honey bee
sips nectar

Philip Painting,  (age 9)
The Paideia School, Atlanta, GA, USA  Teacher: Judy Cloues

In this haiku by Philip, we are visually transported to the wide setting of a "spring meadow" full of flowers, and yet in line two we are given "a single bee"perhaps going from flower to flower throughout the meadow to "sip nectar." 

Nicely written with fine juxtaposition and continuity throughout all three lines. 

Thanks to this author for sharing his moment.

Third Choice

waterfalls falling
right over the mountainside
straight into a lake

Ben, 4th Grade
Teacher: Liana Williams, Pacific Palisades, CA USA

Here we have a very good visual haiku by Ben of literally what a mountainside waterfall does, it falls from the top, right over the mountainside and straight into the lake. If we concentrate on writing exactly what we see in nature, the haiku will almost always come out good. 

Too often poets try to put too much into the moment and add poetic devices to enhance the image. Ben shows us that it isn't necessary and we should just accept each moment as a gift and leave it the way nature made it.

10 -12 yrs old
First Choice:

between trees
the moon rises
to let the light out

Camden Smith (12)
Keyser Primary-Middle School, USA

A fine haiku example written by Camden with well-thought out word choices. It is interesting where this author chose to break line 2 but because we all pause differently when we speak, another author might have chosen to place the words "to let" at the end of line 2, however in this haiku, I believe that Camden's version works very well.

Second Choice:

rivers and oceans
with salmon going upstream
through the passages

Kristina Horchover, 6th Grade
Teacher: Scott Woodworth, The Out of Door Academy, Sarasota, Florida, USA

A lovely haiku with an especially unique third line. We all know about salmon going upstream and we all know about rivers and oceans, but saying "through the passages" leaves Kristina's haiku open-ended so that each reader is free to imagine all sort of different passages. be it in between rocks, over the falls, even time a passage of time. etc. 

Keep up the good work!

Third Choice:

sun shows behind clouds.
shimmering rainbow appears -
river sweeps image away

Carl Mann (12) 7th grade
Kensington CT, USA Teacher: Elaine Kotler, Saint Paul School

I like this haiku by Carl for its concept of the river sweeping the image of the rainbow away. To improve our haiku, we need to include articles such as "a" and "the" so when the haiku is read by others, it will be just as if we were speaking to them directly in person.
If we leave out articles, our haiku will sound choppy and not flow as smoothly as possible. Even so, as I said Carl's haiku shows depth, attention to detail and imagination.

13-15 yrs old
First Choice:

Earth Day dusk --
falling all around me
blackbird song

Amy Claire Rose Smith (13)
Darlington, County Durham, UK

This particular haiku by Amy is absolutely stunning! and is what's known in the world of old-time haiku writers as a "wish-I-had-written-that-one-myself." Albeit, I would humbly recommend removing the emdash after line one in order to allow her haiku to pivot.

For instance it can be read two ways like so: "Earth Day dusk falling all around me" and then "falling all around me blackbird song." - a natural pivot in any haiku is desirable. 

The use of "d" sounds in line one is commendable, as well as the "l" sounds in line two carried over with the word "blackbird" in line three. I cannot overly stress the perfection of this write!

Second Choice:

the soft trill of birds
through the trees, straight to my ears
I listen to its claim

Michele H, 8th Grade
Teacher: Jane Scott, Kilo Middle School, Auburn, WA

An intriguing haiku by Michele insofar as its 3rd line especially. Normally personal opinion or putting "self" into a haiku is to be avoided, however this author manages to include "I" in a way that is acceptable because of her use of one of the five senses (sound) via the word "listen." 

Also direct personification which is giving human characteristics to something in nature is not acceptable, but here again, Michele manages to subtly include the "soft trill of birds" as a claim which is subtle enough not to personify the birds. 

Excellent work Michelle.

Third Choice:

rolling in the grass.
rolling over little ants -
then helping them up.

Dallas Kaufman (14), 8th grade
Teacher: Elaine Kotler, Saint Paul School, Kensington CT, USA

This haiku by Dallas reminds me of Issa (one of the old masters.) Issa wrote about the little things that are important in our lives and how to treat other creatures with kindness and respect -and many of his haiku were also written about insects. 

The empathy of this moment has "beauty of thought" which is often included in mainstream poetry and not nearly enough in our haiku, so kudos to you Dallas for sharing the tenderness of this moment with us, a fine example for Earth Day, which we should all heed.

16-18 yrs old

First Choice:

dark clouds-
he cuts out an akala
from an old tyre

James Bundi (17)
* James is the outgoing chairman of the Bambochaas Haiku Club
Bahati c.c Secondary School, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa

Quite a fine haiku by James that links man and nature together nicely for this Earth Day Contest. If there had been more haiku submitted in this age category, I still would have most likely chosen this one. 

Akala (an example of a regional season word) are the tyre sandals worn by many people in Kenya who make good use of recycling what is already available to them. Wide setting in line one, subject and action verb in line two and follow through in line three. 

A perfect example of a typical haiku format, and in just 13 syllables and 11 words, we are walking right there in the moment.

All entries will also be published in the Fall issue of Sketchbook Haiku Journal, and will appear on the contest blogsite:

Much thanks to the following people for their time and effort : 
an'ya HSA; Alan Summers, With Words; Karina Klesko and John Daleiden, Sketchbook Journal 

Previous blogpage to explain about the contest:

Updates and useful information re The Worcestershire Literary Festival, and the Haiku Walk led by Japan Times award-winning writer for haiku Alan Summers

2017 update: we still offer haiku walks from time to time. Keep checking our new website:

The Haiku Walk:
Nature As Inspiration

Saturday,  June 18th, Orchard Café, Worcester

I'll be around for walks from 11am to the last one ending late afternoon in time to enjoy a last cup of tea with everyone wishing to chat about haiku

 Orchard Café

Fresh in from the Worcestershire Literary Festival organisers, some really useful information, and easy ways to get information about events and book them so you don't miss out!

The Festival Programme Is Now Online

The programme for the festival is complete and the countdown has begun to
the launch of the first ever Worcestershire Literary Festival.

NEW – Festival Hotline Number
The dedicated festival hotline number is 07971 379673

This number is now active and will be operational during working hours
(Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.30pm) from Monday 6th June 2011 until Tuesday
27th June 2011.  

During the festival this number will be based in the
Festival Information Point in the Crowngate Shopping Centre in Worcester.

Calls to the Festival Office will still be answered but we would try to
encourage you to call the hotline number with any queries that you have
about the Festival.


If you need any help with purchasing tickets for events, please contact the Festival Office on:
0845 652 0621 and they’ll do their very best to help you.

During the Festival itself we will be distributing information from Unit C7 in the Crowngate in Worcester as well as selling tickets for many of our events and merchandise. 

This will be the central information point for all things related to the Festival, and is situated next door to The Entertainer and opposite Huntingdon Hall and the Art House Café in The Crowngate Shopping Centre, Worcester.

Please do come and see them there, we will be open from 10am till 4pm from
Monday 13th June 2011 until Monday 27th June 2011.

You can download a copy of the Worcestershire Literary Festival brochure by clicking here.

Please note it is 5mb in size and may take a few minutes to download on slower connections. 

The brochure is currently being distributed to various locations throughout Worcester and Worcestershire:

Blog for the Festival!
Would you like to blog for the first ever Worcestershire Literary Festival?

They are looking for reviews, photos and videos of WLF events for our new blog  
so that they can leave behind a permanent record of this years Worcestershire Literary Festival.

If you are running an event, appearing at an event, volunteering or helping at an event or are an audience member at an event, we would love to hear from you.

Please send in your blog entries, photos, or videos to: and they will upload them onto their blog.

We will give each contributor a full credit and link to your website where
applicable in your blog entries:

WLF Mailing List

Want to sign up to our mailing list and receive the latest news, updates,
offers and information about the forthcoming Worcestershie Literary

Simply send an email to:
with SUBSCRIBE in the subject bar to start getting updates from the WLF team.

Press & Photography Passes

If you are a budding writer, blogger, reviewer or photographer you can request a press or photography pass to gain access to all WLF events during the festival in June.  Please apply and request one by emailing:

How To Find Events During The Festival

Please click here to find out information about Worcester and Worcestershire and how to get to some of the venues taking part in the Festival:

Map Of Worcester City Centre and Map Of Worcestershire:

See you there!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka Vol. 3. An anthology that provides a valuable snapshot of tanka in the 21st century.

Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka Vol. 3 (2010) published by MET Press. ISBN 978-1-935398-27-1.

Price: $16.95 USD. 

A PDF ebook is also available for $8.95, ISBN 978-1-935398-28-8.  

I'm delighted to announce that some of my tanka are appearing in this anthology!

Take Five provides a valuable snapshot of tanka in the 21st century.

The Take Five editorial team for Volume 3 (2010), consisting of M. Kei, editor-in-chief (USA), Patricia Prime (NZ), Kala Ramesh (India), Alex von Vaupel (NL), Aurora Antonovic (CAN), Magdalena Dale (Romania), Amelia Fielden (AUS/JP), Andrew Riutta (USA), and James Tipton (MEX), read all contemporary tanka published in English during 2010, including more than 175 venues totaling 18,000 poems. 
Sources ranged from tanka journals to social media to musical performances to chapbooks and many other formats.

The result is Take Five : Best Contemporary Tanka, Volume Three, featuring tanka, tanka prose, and tanka sequences by 187 poets and translators from around the world.

With an introduction by editor-in-chief by M. Kei, and commentary by the editorial team,. Cover art by Aurora Antonovic.


Saturday, June 04, 2011

Haiku Jam To Raise Money For Japan Earthquake Charity

Haiku Jam - one of a limited edition series of six haiku jams each featuring haiku by Alan Summers with japanese translations by Hidenori Hiruta. 

Haiku Jam - Paul Conneally 2011

This is a phototograph of one of a limited edition series of six jars of haiku jam created by artist poet Paul Conneally.

Each jar of haiku jam has a haiku by award winning haiku poet Alan Summers with a Japanese translation by Hidenori Hiruta (Akita, Japan) published on it.

This Haiku Jam series has been produced for the Japan Earthquake Appeal and will be available at Japan Earthquake Japanese Cultural Day at Derby Roundhouse on the 5th June 2011 11 am to 4 pm

A limited edition of Haiku Jam featuring haiku by award winning haiku poet Alan Summers with Japanese translations by Hidenori Hiruta will be on sale this weekend to raise money for the UNESCO Japan Earthquake Fund. There are six different haiku jams each with a haiku by Alan Summers on its label. The haiku jam can be eaten or just placed on a mantlepiece or shelf as a work of art made by cultural forager and artist poet Paul Conneally.

The haiku Jam will feature at the Japan Earthquake Charity Event at Derby Roundhouse this Sunday 5th June. The event is organised by The East Midlands Japanese Association, Derby Japanese School and Derby College. The Roundhouse is in Pride Park and the event will take place between 11am and 4pm. Click this link to see a poster about Japan Fundraising Event

Other featured activities on the day include Martial Arts, Origami, flower arranging and Sushi workshops and demonstrations; traditional Japanese sports competitions, Japanese refreshments and produce for sale, quizzes and competitions.

The Haiku Jam Series follows on from Conneally's art installation 'Snibston Preserves' for Transform Snibston at Snibston Discovery Museum. Summers and Conneally have worked together many times before and Conneally felt that Alan Summer's haiku were just perfect for the first haiku jam series:

"I was so pleased when Alan agreed to let me publish his haiku on the Haiku Jam jam jars. Alan's work is full of haiku spirit and exactly right for this project with its hope of raising money for and the spirits of those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan"

The piece also forms a pre-event of Phrase and Fragment - The First World Haiku Games which is devised by Conneally for Loughborough University RADAR to coincide with the Japanese Olympic team being based at Loughborough University for the London Olympics in 2012.

Every single penny paid for the Haiku Jam will go directly to the UNESCO Japan Earthquake Fund via the East Midlands Japanese Society and the Derby Japanese School.