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)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Great offer on the With Words online tanka poetry course - Machi Tawara sold three million copies of her first tanka collection just in Japan alone, become inspired!

We now have a brand new name and website!

For tanka:

For more information about courses in 2018 don't hesitate to email Karen at the new email address of:

If you are interested in a tanka class, that is a tailored individual course, to set you up before Christmas, just drop Karen a line for an information pack.

Machi Tawara sold several million copies of her first tanka poetry collection in Japan, and the USA; France; and many other countries too!

Akiko Yosano was the first major modern tanka poet inspiring thousands of people including Machi Tawara, and now that could by you!


Wednesday, October 09, 2013

November 2013 Online Haiku and Tanka poetry courses

We have now become Call of the Page. If you would like to enquire about our online courses you can email Karen at:

We would be delighted to hear from you, and let you know about our exciting courses planned through 2017 and beyond. 

With Words tanka online courses
With Words haiku online courses

We're busy on our 2014 With Words course schedule, but we will be running both tanka and haiku classes, tutored by Alan Summers, starting November 1st.  We're late promoting this, so early bird rates - US$70 and £45 - will apply if paying by Monday November 21st.  

Please email for details of either course and comments from previous students.

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

London Haiku Poetry event plus South East England Residential course: The Holistic Approach to haiku: self-development through poetry with Alan Summers

As well as our regular yearly residential haiku course in S.E. England, just outside London, we are looking forward to planning a London Haiku event in the new year too, but more about that later!

For now, our residential course details, where the food is incredibly delicious, and the refreshment breaks are filled with the aroma of hot drinks of all kinds, and wonderfully fresh cake and biscuits.  And we can relax into the holistic approach of haiku...

Residential Week-end Course in South East England:

The Holistic Approach to haiku:
self-development through poetry
with Alan Summers

February 2014
Friday to Sunday 21st- 23rd 
Claridge House
Dormans Road, Lingfield, Surrey, RH7 6QH
Registered Charity no. 228102.

Tel. 0845 345 7281 or 01342 832 150

You can phone Claridge House to ask about the course, and they'll have an info sheet I designed for them, so they can answer your questions about haiku:  

0845 345 7281 
01342 832 150 

A friendly inclusive course that finds out just what makes a haiku poem really tick.  We'll look at how our experiences, both external and spiritual, can become haiku, and act as important records of our life.

There will be time for plenty of one-to-one feedback, and group discussions with lots of time for questions.

Plus there will be a debut of a number of new approaches to haiku to help both newcomers and those still learning.    A lot has happened with haiku in the last handful of years, and I'll show how we keep the traditional form but in Japanese style update it at the same time.

We'll also check out the popular new Yotsumonos derived from Chinese puzzle-poems for fun, and finish the course with the ever popular linked verse poem called renga.

Here’s the schedule of participation time from last time including:

meal breaks, rest breaks, tea, coffee and scrumptious cake and biscuit breaks, oh you lucky people, the food and refreshments are out of this world and available for those who are non-gluten, non-wheat, non-dairy, and vegetarian and vegan diets. 

I love all the diets provided, and diet means lots of food if you want, but beware second and third helpings are addictive.

For more information:

Alan Summers is a Japan Times award-winning writer, editor with two literary magazines, and awarded a Ritsumeikan University of Kyoto Peace Museum Award for haiku.

His collection of contemporary haiku poems called:
Does Fish-God Know
(released Autumn 2012) is available at Amazon:

Alan also appears in the Norton anthology on haiku, available at Amazon or Norton:


Haiku Online Courses, and other genres:

We also run our regular and popular online With Words courses in haiku and tanka.  

For further details contact Karen at:


Saturday, September 14, 2013

A selection of haiku short verse poems around BIRDSONG and the SOUND OF BIRDS

A Series of haiku around birds and birdlife 

sunflower heart
the chiffchaff sings
its name

Alan Summers
tinywords 13.2 2013  (ISSN 2157-5010)
eJournal/eMagazine San Mateo, CA : D.F. Tweney : El Camino Press

roll of the apple…
I decide to let birdsong
back out of the box

Alan Summers
Under the Basho Vol 1.1 Autumn 2013

an up-too-late moon
the blackbird whispers its song
as I stumble home

Alan Summers
Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum (Japan 2013)

this small ache and all the rain too robinsong

Alan Summers
Publications credits: Modern Haiku vol. 44.1 winter/spring 2013

         cool morning
light on a distant cloud

Alan Summers
Publications credits: Modern Haiku, (1999); Azami Haiku in English Commemorative Issue  (Japan 2000); Birmingham Words Magazine Issue 3 (Autumn 2004); Birdsong - a haiku sequence  Together They Stood, Poetry Now (2004); Haiku Friends Vol. 3 ed. Masaharu Hirata (Japan  2009)

down side streets -
gulls turning the sky
in and out

Alan Summers
Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years. Ed. Jim Kacian, Allan Burns & Philip Rowland (W. W. Norton & Company 2013); The Disjunctive Dragonfly, a New Approach to English-Language Haiku by Richard Gilbert (Red Moon Press 2012) [Elemental Animsim p80]

cumulus clouds
a clattering of jackdaws
rearrange their pattern

Alan Summers
Publications credits: Blithe Spirit  vol. 20 no. 3 (2010)

An archaic collective noun for a group of Jackdaws is a "clattering."

First recorded in John Lydgate's Debate between the Horse, Goose and Sheep, c.1430, as "A clatering of chowhis", and then in Juliana Berners Book of St. Albans, c.1480, as "a Clateryng of choughes."

A "clattering" of Jackdaws:

Other names for Jackdaws include caddesse, cawdaw, caddy, chauk, college-bird (from dialectal college "cathedral"), jackerdaw, jacko, ka-wattie, chimney-sweep bird, from their nesting propensities, and sea-crow, from their frequenting coasts. ..or just plain "Jack"

four rosellas distant sounds to blue

Alan Summers
Publications credits: Azami #34 (Japan 1996)

through an open window
a kookaburra laugh

Alan Summers
Publications credits: Frogpond (Haiku Society of America journal, Summer 1994); Scope Feature (FAWQ, Australia, 1994); Micropress magazine; Micropress: best poems Ed. Kate O'Neill, Micropress NZ (1997; Moonlighting; sundog haiku journal: an australian year  (sunfast press 1997 reprinted 1998);   California State Library - Main Catalog Call Number : HAIKU S852su 1997

Kookaburra calls:   

Seven Sisters the call of owls either side

Alan Summers
Publications credits: Blithe Spirit (British Haiku Society journal, March 2012)

train whistle
a blackbird hops
along its notes

Alan Summers
Publications credits:
Presence #47 (2012): The Haiku Foundation Per Diem (September 2012): The Elements

V to U
a parliament of rooks
shift their flight

Alan Summers
Publications credits: Icebox, Hailstone Haiku Group, Japan (2010)
Selected by Hisashi Miyazaki

fading last note
torresian crow sounds
the darkening sky

Alan Summers
Publications credits: Paper Wasp (Australia 1997); Azami (Japan 1998); Blithe Spirit, (June 2004); Shamrock Haiku Journal, Irish Haiku Society, Spring 2006; Sketchbook, A Journal  for Eastern & Western Short Forms Nov. 2007; Haiku Hike; THFhaiku app for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch (2011)

the names of rain
a blackbird’s subsong
into dusk

Publications credits: Haiku News Vol. 1 No. 35 (September 2012); featured poet at Cornell University USA (Cornell University, Mann Library haiku showcase March 2013.)

A Blackbird in the rain...

Alan Summers, a Japan Times award-winning writer, regularly runs online classes and workshops on haiku, and related genres such as tanka, haibun, and tanka prose.  

For further information, please don't hestitate to contact Call of the Page Course Director Karen Hoy, who will only be too delighted to send you information about these intriguing short verse poetry genres.

Karen's email:


Sunday, September 08, 2013

Now out! Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts Vol.1., No.2., August 2013 plus Special Feature on haiku, tanka, and haibun

“A Brilliant Journal. Truly International.” 
- Hanif Kureishi

New Issuu updates on Lakeview Journal second issue: 
Now a little more than 21,000 reads from across the world - popular in the UK, USA, India, Ireland, Canada and Australia plus readers from other countries where English is used for another purpose.
2113 Impressions in 20 days!
Five Countries: 
USA - 379, India - 368, UK - 348, Ireland - 159, Canada - 68 (Malaysia - 53 and Australia - 39 too)
6 days after the upload:
Total Impressions - 1338,
Reads: United Kingdom - 262, United States - 261, India - 223, Ireland - 114, Canada - 57, Malaysia - 49, Australia - 31, New Zealand - 17, Lithuania - 15, United Arab Emirates - 15, Greece - 12, France - 11, Netherlands -10, Germany - 7, Denmark - 5, Spain - 4, Italy - 4, Philippines - 4, Japan - 4, Mexico -3, Sri Lanka - 3, Sweden - 2, Finland - 2, Turkey - 2, Saudi Arabia - 2, Oman - 2, Israel - 1, Colombia - 1, Bangladesh -1, Qatar - 1, Nepal - 1...
Issuu updates on Lakeview Journal second issue, 3 days after the upload: 
Total Impressions - 1015
United Kingdom - 230, India - 174, United States - 170, Ireland - 82, Canada - 51, Malaysia - 48, Australia - 29, Lithuania - 12, Greece - 12, New Zealand - 10, Netherlands - 9, France - 9, United Arab Emirates - 9, Germany - 7, Spain - 4, Italy - 4, Philippines - 4, Mexico -3, Japan - 3, Sri Lanka - 3, Sweden - 2, Finland - 2, Turkey - 2, Saudi Arabia - 2, Oman -2, Israel -1, Colombia -1, Bangladesh -1

Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts Vol.1., No.2., August 2013 
n.b. To know how to download the magazine see further below.

A journal that features creative work by internationally acclaimed and emerging writers/artists like Peter Daniels, Vanessa Gebbie, John MacKenna, Jonathan Taylor, Ashley Stokes, Gopikrishnan Kottoor, Murali Sivaramakrishnan, Nabina Das, Kevin Kadwallender, Archana Mishra, Gina Gibson and many more.

There is also a special feature that focuses on haiku and related poetic forms, guest edited very effectively by our advisory board member Alan Summers.

Runner Up in the Best Magazine category of Saboteur Awards 2013, London. We got a reader comment that goes ‘Lakeview is a breath of fresh air, no clichés and obvious choices. Here to stay.’ It is indeed a great achievement to get an international recognition soon after the publication of the first issue of our journal.

Jose Varghese
Chief Editor
August 2013

Jose Varghese's work can be found at:

He will be appearing at The 13th International Conference on the Short Story in English, (15*)16 to 19 July, 2014, Vienna, Austria:

To download the magazine from Issuu.

There is no need to register with Facebook, there is an 'or' choice: 

Once you have confirmed your registration by clicking onto a confirmation email, it will direct you to start your preferences in publications.  You get to a second screen page where top left is a search finder icon of a magnifying glass.  Type in Lakeview Journal, and voilà! :-)

 First, click onto the lower right box with two arrows in different directions (which is highlighted in white).

Then go to top right where the box with an arrow is, and click that, which gives you this:

Click onto download and hey presto a pdf version of the magazine!  

I do recommend registering with Issuu as there are other fine magazines of various genres that you can download too.

warm regards,



NOW FULLY BOOKED! Two places left on the Haiku Online Course starting October 1st

The Haiku Journal©Alan Summers

Fully Booked. The October 1st group. 

Due to demand we have created a November haiku class which is filling up fast.

You can email for details 



Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fully Booked: The Tanka Course, but still places available on the October 2013 haiku course - With Words Group Email Courses

With Words Group Email Courses

The tanka course starting Sep 1st 2013 is fully booked, but there are still places available on the haiku course starting Oct 1st. 

The cost is $85/£55, but the early bird rate ($70/£45) is available if booking for the October course by September 2nd.

Please email for full details on these and future courses, and nice comments from earlier participants.

We also run a haiku reading and comprehension course for those who would like a rigorous introduction to the form, starting the beginning of any month.

Best wishes

Alan and Karen

With Words is now called Call of the Page:
Please do ask Karen for spaces on our popular online tanka and haiku courses throughout 2015 as well as our new courses launching this year.

Karen's email:

Alan Summers

Major haiku poetry anthologies that Alan’s work appears:

Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years ed. Jim Kacian, Allan Burns & Philip Rowland with an Introduction by Billy Collins (W. W. Norton & Company 2013) 

The Disjunctive Dragonfly, a New Approach to English-Language Haiku by Richard Gilbert, (Red Moon Press 2013): “While nowhere denying the value of objective realism, Richard Gilbert has helped demonstrate how the innovative, and yes, disjunctive core of haiku, like the force of life itself, moves in many directions and by all means possible (and sometimes impossible), illuminating both outer and inner landscapes, and what is held between. He has given us what has been sorely lacking: ‘a new vocabulary of haiku techniques . . .‘”
—Peter Yovu

The Humours of Haiku
(Iron Press 2012) ISBN 978-0-9565725-4-7

Stepping Stones:  a way into haiku      
(British Haiku Society, 2007) ISBN 978-0-9522397-9-6

The New Haiku
ISBN 978-1-903543-03-0 (Snapshot Press, 2001).

Iron Book of British Haiku
(Iron Press; ISBN: 0906228670 First published 1998, Third print 2000)

Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac
 Kodansha International, Japan, ed. William Higginson ISBN 4770020902 (1996)

Co-Editor of five Haiku-based Anthologies:  
Parade of Life: Poems inspired by Japanese Prints ISBN: 09539234-2-8  (Poetry Can/Bristol Museum and Art Gallery/Japan21/Embassy of Japan 2002); The Poetic Image - Haiku and Photography (Birmingham Words/ National Academy of Writing Pamphlet 2006); Fifty-Seven Damn Good Haiku by a Bunch of Our Friends published by Press Here ISBN 978-1-878798-31-2  (2010 USA); Four Virtual Haiku Poets (YTBN Press 2012); and c.2.2. an anthology of short-verse poetry and haiku (YTBN Press 2013).

Four Haiku Collections: Does Fish-God Know (YTBN Press 2012); The In-Between Season With Words Pamphlet Series (2012); Sundog Haiku Journal: an Australian Year (Sunfast Press 1997 reprinted 1998); Moonlighting British Haiku Society Pamphlet (1996).



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tanka Poetry Kindle Edition now available! Take Five : Best Contemporary Tanka, Volume 4

Take Five : Best Contemporary Tanka, Volume 4 [Kindle Edition]

This year's team consisting of M. Kei (USA), Editor-in-chief, Patricia Prime (NZ), Magdalena Dale (RO), Amelia Fielden (AU/JP), Claire Everett (UK), Owen Bullock (NZ), David Terelinck (AU), Janick Belleau (CAN), David Rice (USA), read over eighteen thousand poems to select the best for inclusion in this, the final volume in the must-read series.

Product Details

    File Size: 315 KB
    Print Length: 216 pages
    Publisher: Keibooks; Kindle edition (August 25, 2013)
    Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    Language: English
    ASIN: B00ES4IE8Y

"I'm delighted to be featured in this anthology, highly recommended for all kindle people who love good poetry."

" 'Take Five' is a first-class tanka anthology based on a world-wide search, inclusive of the choices of 9 editors from 6 countries. The tanka genre is a lyric poetic form of Japanese origin, expressed in five short lines. Those new to tanka and old hands alike can be assured the contents are excellent examples of the genuine article, an assurance not easy to find in an internet search."
Karen Peterson Butterworth

Book Description

"Contemporary tanka in English is an exciting literature that continues to grow and develop in the hands of increasing diverse poets around the world. Originating in Japan over fourteen hundred years ago, it remains a strong and flexible form evoking profound responses in the reader.

Although a tanka may be as small as a pebble, it creates expanding ripples in the mind of a receptive reader, ripples that touch far shores, with the polished perfection of the poem as the still center of meaning and experience."


Online courses on tanka poetry
With Words runs online courses on tanka poetry.  For more information please don't hesitate to contact Karen at: 



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Coming soon...Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts Vol.1. No.2 August 2013 and Runner Up in Best magazine category, Saboteur Awards 2013

Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts Vol.1. No.2 August 2013

Coming soon…

First issue:

Saboteur Awards 2013, Runner Up in Best magazine category:

Lakeview, the category’s runner-up, was described as ‘A diverse blend of traditional and experimental arts. Beautifully illustrated. Excellent work by new and established writers.’ 

 ‘A breath of fresh air, no clichés and obvious choices. Here to stay.’


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Extended Judge’s Report for 2013 World Monuments Fund Haiku Contest from Alan Summers

Extended Judge’s Report for 2013 World Monuments Fund Haiku Contest continuing from:

n.b. Which monument am I sat in front of?  See at the very end.

Haiku (plural and singular spelling) are the shortest of all short poems, and rarely take longer than six seconds to read. Although there are many approaches, the most commonly recognised version is that of three very short lines, containing two images often, but not always, taken from real life, that bounce off each other.

These two images may or may not have an obvious connection at first reading, but create a friction where two things rub up against each other and the reader can make up their own new third or overall image, and become joint poet during that time.

This kind of short poem works well if it’s especially crafted with a well-written and intentional rearrangement of words from our common language, that pulls an emotional connection, and reaction, out of us which makes us feel included.

Haiku often allow every reader to be a joint creative writer/reader while they read it, and the poem should feel far greater than the sum of its physical count of words.  

So what actually makes a haiku?

To start with, haiku is commonly known as a poem with three very short lines.  By the way, the word haiku means both a single haiku and the plural of haiku, something we’ve taken from the Japanese lack of singular and plural meanings in their language, which makes for interesting slants of meaning.

In Japan, haiku came about in force, back at the end of the 19th century and very beginning of the 20th century, (haiku is the term coined by Masaoka Shiki who died aged 35 in 1902).  Though very modern, like most things, it’s connected to the past just as music is, for instance.

Haiku came from a connection with other literature covering a thousand years, when it evolved from being a starting verse in a long poem where each verse was written by different poets, and this long poem was called renga, and then after Basho (1644 – 1694), as renku.

Why is haiku so popular in the Western world?

It should be easier for Japanese people to write haiku because of their multi-based language system, yes they have three systems, we only have the one with just 26 letters.  The Japanese language systems have such a rich resource to capture an incredible amount of detail within so few characters and ideograms.

Yet an incredible amount of people attempt to write haiku in English all around the world, and I’m glad that they do.

Back to Japanese, can we write close to what a good Japanese haiku writer can, with just the one language system that we have, when…

The Japanese system of characters for their language:
©Smashing Magazine  
There are 50,000 kanji characters, but 1000 to just under 2000 are used by most people (phew!)

Then there are hiragana and katakana: each have 46 characters in modern use (there used to be more).

Kanji represents ideas or objects, hiragana expresses the grammatical relationships between them. Katakana is used to write words which have been borrowed from other languages, including various foreign names and names of countries.

The pool in total that many ordinary Japanese haiku poets might use is around 2040 characters or greater, instead of the 26 letters of the single English-language alphabet that we use.  Oh, and don’t forget that punctuation in Japanese is in words not symbols, as we use in English, and they are part of the sound-unit aka ‘on’ count as part of the poem, so that a 17-on Japanese haiku could be 15 or 16 sound-units long, plus one or two sound units that are the punctuation ‘word-phrases’.

A haiku is so brief it could easily be written on the back of a postage stamp (remember those things before txt messaging, and other social media?) but the techniques to make a good haiku could fill something the size of a novella, and millions of people every day have a go all the same, which is great news for us.

Regarding "on" and its mora length and nature here are three useful web links:

Haiku in English
copyright©Alan Summers, With Words

So how do we read, and even write, something so short as haiku in English that can still end up as a poem, without the benefit of the complex set of systems that the Japanese have?  As Japan borrowed art and writing techniques to incorporate into the modern haiku so we too borrow from them to do our haiku, with techniques taken from their use of a reference to a season or part of a season (kigo), and how to insert a type of pause between the two short parts of a haiku (kire, kireji).

The main characteristics of a haiku are two images that work well together, not necessarily close in direct subject matter, sometimes in slight opposition to each other: A juxtaposition is the most commonly used method, although there are others, especially in contemporary haiku, such as disjunctive methods.  I will touch on this at a later date. But for now…

Those two images create an electricity, charging up the reader to create their own vision of what the haiku has become as a poem.

Haiku work best with concrete images, yet often with a fine tightrope walk between objective and subjective phrasing.  This balancing act can be enhanced by other approaches, for example, fixing the haiku into part of a season, think Independence Day or Martin Luther King Day, or the British Guy Fawkes Day/Bonfire Night.  This can pin a haiku to a specific part of a season, even a day, and it’s amazing how other memories can flood in when this method is used. Remember, haiku are not so much nature poems but seasonal poems so urban subjects can of course be included.

It’s good to write a haiku in the present tense so that a reader feels the incident being recorded as a haiku poem has been so recent, that the reader need only turn their head to spot the moment being carried out.  That they too can become a witness alongside the original author of the poem who has recorded the incident as it happened.  This is a useful method so that each reader becomes a joint witness, even if the moment happened months or even years ago.  That’s one of the tricks or techniques that can be utilised in modern haiku.

One of the secrets of haiku is gently unearthing the reader’s creativity, reawakening the wonder of day to day life, and dismissing our sometimes jaundiced view of the world. As haiku can also be poems of place, in natural or urban settings, they are perfect for the World Monuments Fund Haiku Contest.

What did I look for when judging the World Monuments Fund Haiku Contest? 

Some of the above I’ve just stated, and also another technique, that of switching our perspective from something big to something small, or the reverse, to zoom in and then zoom out.  Something very effective in such a small tiny poem as haiku.

So what were the season time stamps in many of the winning haiku?

cricket is an Autumn seasonal reference in Japanese haiku, a time of reflection, memories, and a certain wistful sadness.

stars is also an Autumn reference, in the Japanese poetical sense.

butterflies are usually a Spring reference in Japanese haiku.

robin is usually seen as a seasonal reference to Spring in North America, and a Summer kigo in Japan, for the Japanese Robin.  In Britain the robin is a strong seasonal reference for Christmas unless accompanied with a dominant seasonal phrase from another season.

My Judge’s Report

A fine selection of verses which took quite a time to finally whittle down to a shortlist of first nine haiku, finally becoming six haiku, in order to pick prize-winning authors, and semi-finalists. Because of the nature of the organisation holding the competition, and that I am fascinated and moved by a strong sense of place (both external and/or internal), and identification with that place, each of the entries went through a tough and ruthless process. The final shortlisted haiku had to endure further relentless scrutiny and even further relentless scrutiny for a chance to earn their positions in the winning places of this competition.

First Prize, The Endless Column
I kept coming back to the Endless Column which seemed to both represent a particular place and event but also so much struggle in so many countries, not just Romania, but every country through time.   The mention of a cricket (another cricket) counting stars is a magical and memorable part of this haiku.  The two images worked well bouncing off each other, and another cricket is counting the stars lifted this haiku quite literally beyond its immediate place to perhaps one of Japan’s favorite haiku writers, that of Issa, who felt at one with all insects in particular, because of his tough and challenging life.

The second prize seems to beautifully capture so much of what is great about the American expanses, and how vital Route 66 is for American culture and for anyone who has travelled, or read about this amazing road, perhaps one of the biggest places, and monuments, and an iconic inspiration to those both inside and outside America.  Many of us are at a crossroads at some time in our lives, and perhaps passed by a rain-filled hubcap teeming with stars  which is such a terrific phrase for a haiku.

The third prize haiku combines the history of a world famous site known to many across media platforms as the Wailing Wall but by other names by those who live there.  It is a site for prayer and pilgrimage which dates back to the 4th century.  But do we not all need sustenance of one kind or another, even butterflies taking salt from the mud close to this religious place?

The Semi-finalists also, in their own individual manner, encapsulated something of the essence of place, from the famous maze of Henry VIII’s Hampton Court, with its incredible history and mix of complex politics, to the monument of love that the Taj Mahal represents, to Ha Long Bay, a precious and fragile area under risk from the tourist industry.

Alan Summers,
Japan Times award-winning writer

First Prize: Christina Oprea
Site: Endless Column
the Endless Column -
somewhere, another cricket
is counting the stars

Second Prize: Mark E. Brager
Site: Route 66
crossroads . . .
a rain-filled hubcap
teeming with stars

Third Prize: Mike Blottenberger
Site: Wailing Wall
near the Wailing Wall
butterflies drinking salt
from the mud

Semi-finalist #1: Matthew Paul
Site: Hampton Court
spring wind
a robin at Hampton Court
enters the maze

Semi-finalist #2: Neal Whitman
Site: Taj Mahal
photographs of Taj Mahal
in a well-thumbed book

Semi-finalist #3: Carol Judkins
Site: Ha Long Bay
gold rush-
in Ha Long Bay,
the dragon weeps

Please do visit the video of the award-winning entries:

Where am I sitting?

I’m sitting in Barton Farm Country Park in Bradford on Avon:

In front of the 4th Century Tithe Barn (with a large cross shaped opening/window):


Bradford on Avon Tithe Barn:

This shows the other side of that cross shaped window opening:

Alan Summers, 
a double Japan Times award-winning writer, Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions nominated, now based in Chippenham, England, runs Call of the Page, which provides literature, education and literacy projects, as well as online courses often based around the Japanese genres.   

He is a past co-founding editor for Bones Journal (contemporary haiku), and his latest full-length collection Does Fish-God Know contains contemporary and experimental haiku with short verse published by Yet To Be Named Free Press.

Various essays and articles include:

Haiku: The Art of Implication over Explication

More than One Fold in the Paper: Kire, kigo and the meaning of vertical axis by Alan Summers (April 2016)

575haiku - Traditional Haiku as three lines and in a 5-7-5 English language syllables pattern

Travelling the single line of haiku:

The Reader as Second Verse

Black dogs and afternoon rain:

Themocracy: The Themocrats and their Concept Albums
Four book reviews by Alan Summers of writers who weave theme:

The Golden Carousel of Life:  
Senryu, An Application to be a) human

Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryuū-An-Application-to-be-a-human-by-Alan-Summers.pdf 

An interview with Shloka Shankar of Sonic Boom magazine where I talk about the negative and white spaces of haiku as the White Paintings of haiku

We run various popular courses:

Haiku (plural and singular spelling) are the shortest of all short verses, with an intended arrangement of words to draw on an emotional reaction from a reader. The intention is to create an effect far greater than the sum of the actual number of words used.

“…a haiku often juxtaposes two [different] objects and challenges the reader to make an imaginary connection between them.”
From the Preface viii, Light Verse from the Floating World by Makoto Ueda
Columbia University Press, New York 1999

Traditionally haiku are rooted in the seasons, and you can have half the poem already written by adding a season. Haiku are also ideal for urban observations, and as a kind of short-hand for remembering events, the important days in our lives, and the often overlooked things that do matter and risk being forgotten.  Haiku can also make for excellent ecological and environmental writing. 

Above all these incredibly distilled verses can be wonderfully therapeutic.  They can also work out both the ‘right’ and the ‘left’ side of the brain which is a useful exercise to help stave off memory deterioration.

The secret of haiku is gently unearthing both our own creativity; reawakening or reigniting the wonder of day to day life and that of the reader too. It’s can be about dismissing or reducing our media jaundiced view of the world which is healthy even in the best of times and especially in the worst of times, to paraphrase Charles Dickens and the opening line to A Tale of Two Cities.

Haiku is The Golden Thread and our various haiku courses can help you find it.

For information on our popular online courses for haiku, and tanka poetry, or haibun or tanka story/prose please feel free to contact Karen Hoy, Course Director, at: