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)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Early Bird rates for the tanka poetry online course ends April 2nd 2013

Alan & Karen are now known as Call of the Page:

There's a few days to go to book the next With Words online Tanka course at early bird rates.  

Early bird rate of £45 (rather than £55) expires April 2nd. 

The course starts May 1st 2013.

For more info on the how the course will run, and comments from previous participants, please email:

Thank you!  Alan

Alan Summers has had tanka published in various print and online magazines and anthologies.

Mosaic Anthology (Bath Spa University 2009); Blithe Spirit, journal of the British Haiku Society; The Strand Book Of International Poets 2010 (Strand Publishing 2010) ISBN: 9781907340062; Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka Vol. 3 (MET Press 2010) ISBN 978-1-935398-27-1;
Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka Vol. 4 (MET Press 2011) ISBN/EAN13: 0615597807 / 9780615597805; 140 and Counting ISBN 978-1-937794-05-7 (Seven by Twenty magazine pub. Upper Rubber Boot Books 2011): The best twitter literature from the first two years of the twitter magazine’s history.

More details :

Quotes :


Thursday, March 21, 2013

19th, 20th and 21st days of Alan Summers as featured poet at Cornell University USA

Cornell University, Mann Library


zombie debt–
the practised slice
of a bread knife

Alan Summers

Publications credits:
Haiku News (Vol. 1 No. 41 2012); Does Fish-God Know (YTBN Press 2012)


zombie debt:

train whistle
a blackbird hops
along its notes

Alan Summers

Publications credits:

Presence #47 (2012): The Haiku Foundation Per Diem: The Elements (September 2012)


theevandiude choolam
oru karutha pakshi thulli
athin swarangalil
Malayalam translation by Narayanan Raghunathan
neruppu vantiyin choolam
oru karuppu paravai thulliyatu
antha svarangalil
Tamizh translation by Narayanan Raghunathan
train seeti
ek kale rang ki chidiya naachti
vah svar lahiri me
Hindi translation by Narayanan Raghunathan

rain on the river the jesus star shifting

Alan Summers

Publications credits: Janice M Bostok Haiku Prize 2012 Anthology Evening Breeze


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dates for the next online haiku & tanka courses in 2014

With Words regularly run online courses:

Online Tanka coursesOnline Haiku courses;
Haibun and Tanka Prose coursesas well as a range of introductory, intermediate, and advanced group or one-to-one online courses and feedback.

Enquiries about the courses and our "early bird"rate if paying at least a month in advance can be answered by Karen at:

Here is some feedback from our first tanka course, which finished at the end of last year:

"Thank you for your feed back. You make things seem so clear ...  So enjoyed reading the others' work too."
Margaret Beverland (permission given)

"I have enjoyed the course tremendously and know that I will return to Alan's notes frequently as I continue to write tanka."  
Jan Harris (permission given)

Tanka are well-grounded in concrete images yet infused with lyric intensity, and an intimacy from direct expression of emotion tempered with implication. Tanka contain ingredients of suggestion colored by shade and tone, setting off a nuance more potent than direct statement. Almost any subject, explicitly expressing your direct thoughts and feelings can be contained in this short form poetry. 

Alan Summers, 

Decoding Tanka (Extract from Article in Progress)

Haiku: (plural and singular spelling)
The shortest of all short poems, yet containing enough that the result leaves enough for the reader to create a longer poem for themselves.

  • Haiku (plural and singular spelling) are usually made up of three short lines in a short, long, short line order. They can be read out loud in about six seconds. 
  • They're written in the present tense, in ordinary language, and work well including two different images that although are side by side, they spark off each other, creating new possibilities.
  • Almost any subject can be caught by haiku. 
  • Haiku are not sayings, opinion, aphorisms, or any other type of statement about how life is. 
  • Haiku don't tell, lead, or instruct the reader what to think or feel; a haiku gives neutral facts (concrete images) that the writer has observed.
  • The presentation of a partnership between two images allows the reader to reach their own conclusions about what the poem is describing, not the poet's viewpoint. The reader is an equal partner to the writer, and is the person who completes the poem.
Alan Summers, Writing Poetry: the haiku way (Extract from the Book in Progress) 

An updated biography of Alan Summers, lead tutor of With Words can be read at the following weblink, scroll down:

To find out more about what the courses involve and how they run, please email for an information sheet and quotes from participants who have taken the courses over the years.

Many thanks!

Karen at With Words


Monday, March 18, 2013

16th, 17th, and 18th days of Alan Summers as virtual haiku poet in residence at Cornell University USA

Cornell University, Mann Library

snowing through the blizzard particles of me

Alan Summers

Publications credits: 
The Haiku Calendar 2012 (Snapshot Press); The Humours of Haiku (Iron Press 2012); The In-Between Season (With Words Haiku Pamphlet Series 2012)

Award credits:
Winner, The Haiku Calendar Competition 2011 (Snapshot Press)

Iron Press U.K. orders:

International orders (top right alter currencies to US$ or Euros):

The In-Between Season (With Words Haiku Pamphlet Series 2012)

The pamphlet will be available as an eBook later in 2013

dandelion wind
mending bridges
in the mist

Alan Summers

Publications credits:

Blithe Spirit (British Haiku Society Journal Vol 22 No. 3 2012); Does Fish-God Know (YTBN Press 2012)

باد پر قاصدک
مرمت کردن پل
در غبار

bade por ghasdak
maremat kardan pol
dar ghobar

Farsi and romanised Farsi translations by Reza Aerabi

first quarter moon
dancing pinheads burst
into new angel DNA

Alan Summers

Publications credits:

Asahi Shimbun (Japan, 2012); Does Fish-God Know (YTBN Press 2012)

Does Fish-God Know:

Friday, March 15, 2013

14th & 15th Haiku poetry showcase by Alan Summers at Cornell University USA

A month of haiku poems by Alan Summers at Cornell University, Mann Library, USA

Cornell University, Mann Library
Supporting learning and research in the life sciences, agriculture, human ecology and applied social sciences:
Brocken Inaglory :

drifting rain
my hundred autumn rooms
to be alone

Alan Summers
Publication Credit: Mainichi Shimbun (Japan, 2012) Selected by Isamu Hashimoto

Östersund, Sweden. Credit and copyright- Göran Strand

full snow moon
the slowness of shadows
caught in branches

Alan Summers
Publications credits: Ryōan-ji sequence (Presence #47 2012)

Snow Moon:
The full Moon as seen in Japan on Feb. 25, 2013. Credit and copyright- Masashi Ito



these rocks
I too float among clouds
looking for something

white gravel
each day the monks
rake ripples in time

pure pebble sound
I only know what is
and that is enough

silhouettes of bamboo
at the edge of the garden
we swap stories*

our sharp mysteries
the percussion of sand
over rocks**

falling snow moon
the slowness of shadows
caught in branches

* after the classic scenes of Ryōan-ji in Yasujirō Ozu’s film Late Spring,1949
** after John Cage

Alan Summers
Publications credits: Presence #47 (2012)
n.b. The full snow moon haiku at Cornell University's showcase is an edited version to the one that appeared in the sequence.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

HAIKU - the holistic approach : The Week-end Residential Haiku Course with Alan Summers ( writing poetry course Lingfield )

The course has been filling up really nicely at Claridge House in Surrey!

There's space for a few more cool people to come though!

Find out how haiku can do so much more for you than you know.  

If you haven't heard of haiku before, or just a little bit, don't worry, beginners take to haiku like a duck likes water! 

At the end of the post I've given some of my background as an experienced haiku poet and teacher for over 20 years.

You can phone up 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 

Claridge House
Dormans Road, Lingfield, Surrey, RH7 6QH
Registered Charity no. 228102.

Tel. 0845 345 7281 or 01342 832 150

HAIKU - the holistic approach

The Week-end Residential Haiku Course
with Alan Summers

Friday to Sunday April 5th - 7th 2013

A friendly inclusive course to find out what makes a haiku poem.

Further down there's a schedule so you can see how many lovely breaks we have with food, tea and cake and much much more, and that a lot is packed into the course too.

Testimonials from people on the courses I've run before:

“Thought provoking, interesting and informative”
Caroline P

“Superb – absorbing from start to finish”
Jess C

“A creative, engaging and stimulating workshop – an absolute delight”
Julie W

We’ll look at how our experiences, both external and spiritual, can become haiku, and act as important records of our life.

There are lots of breaks, plenty of yummy cake and biscuits, including non-gluten and non-dairy, a wide choice of hot and cold drinks with tea and coffee and non-caffeine versions.  The meals are incredible too!

Enjoy this short introduction of how haiku can enrich our lives, and all it need take is six seconds of our daily lives:

Amazement of the Ordinary: Life through a haiku lens
"We see things not as they are, but as we are."


Audio interview:

Alongside learning about haiku, we'll also have a go at a new type of short poetry derived from Chinese puzzle-poems for fun.  Then we'll finish the course with the ever popular linked group verse renga as a memento of our weekend.

This weekend course will be held at Claridge House, a Victorian building with disabled access set in two acres of gardens in the Surrey countryside.

Your room will be available from 3pm on Friday with tea and cake served at 4.00.

The course will start after Supper which is at 6.30pm. The course ends with a fantastic lunch on Sunday!

Meals are vegetarian, based on organic produce. Vegan and certain other diets can be catered for with advance notice.  Let them know at the house when you book the course.

Under the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, we have achieved the maximum score of 5 - 'Very Good'
This demonstrates a 'very high standard of food safety management and compliance with food hygiene legislation'.

Cost £190 per person
non residential option £109 for course and meals

Booking: 0845 345 7281 or 01342 832 150


Finding Claridge House:

Claridge House, Dormans Road, Lingfield, Surrey, RH7 6QH
Registered Charity no. 228102.
0845 345 7281 or 01342 832 150

Previous courses at Claridge house:
The very first course:


Arrivals are incredibly well organised, so anyone requesting a pick up from the train station (minutes away by car) when booking, will be picked up promptly and enjoy an amazing spread of cakes and biscuits, teas, coffees, other hot drinks, and cold drinks from 4pm. Yummy!


3.00p.m. onwards      Arrivals
4.00                           Tea and Cake

4.45 – 5.00                House Quiet Time  (Attendance optional)

6.30                           Evening Meal

7.45 – 9.00                Session I

I will be available for questions throughout the first day (Friday), and the first session will be a gentle immersion into haiku.


8.45                     Breakfast

9.45 – 10.00        House Quiet Time  (Attendance optional)

10.00 – 11.15       Session II

11.15 – 11.45       Coffee

11.45 – 12.45       Session III

1.00                      Lunch

2.00 – 4.00           Free Time

4.00                      Tea and Cake

4.45 – 5.00           House Quiet Time  (Attendance optional)

5.00 – 6.15           Session IV

6.30                      Evening Meal

7.45 – 9.15           Session V

Saturday has so many refreshments inbetween our sessions, plus free time to go walking or resting, that we will absorb a lot about haiku plus be in a very relaxed and inclusive atmosphere.   Humour is not obligatory although I do enjoy the atmosphere it creates and it does enhance learning and enjoyment.    

I will be available for any one-to-one sessions if anyone wishes to go over their haiku in private, either during one of our sessions, while the others are workshopping exercises, or outside the sessions, if that's preferable.   


8.45                       Breakfast

9.45 – 10.45          House Quiet Time  (Attendance optional)

10.45                    Coffee

11.15 – 12.45       Session VI

1.00                      Lunch

2.00                      Departures

The final session will be a rapid fire group poem called renga which creates a fantastic souvenir of the weekend to take away with you.   Included is a free complimentary Haiku Journal Notebook to record your verses.

 We have a lot of humour involved with the renga sessions which has now become traditional, and you'll be surprised who will be the culprits, but it's a highlight of the now regular Claridge House renga session.

Departures are incredibly well organised, and as the train station is just a few minutes away by car, there is never a worry that someone would miss a train connection who needs a lift to the station by a Claridge House driver.

The lunch will be incredible!      

Alan Summers: Bio

Alan is Director/Lead Tutor of With Words, an international provider of literature, education and literacy projects, and With Words online workshops based around the Japanese genres.

He has been an expert on English-langauge haiku (and other Haikai Literature) for 21 years. Alan is a Recipient of the Japan Times Award (2002) for both haiku and renku, and the Ritsumeikan University of Kyoto Peace Museum Award for haiku (1998).

Alan is a Teaching Artist at the USA-based Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative for Haiku and Tanka (course just concluded) and Haibun (later in 2013):

Alan is currently the haiku poet-in-residence for Cornell University, Mann Library:

He is a TEDx Speaker: Amazement of the ordinary- life through a haiku lens:

Alan was also invited to give a talk at Haiku News:

He is a founding editor for Bones Journal (contemporary haiku):,  and Haiku/Haibun Editor, Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts:

Alan has been:
•    General Secretary of the British Haiku Society (1998-2000)
•    Panel of Judges: The Biennial Sasakawa Prize for Original Contributions in the Field of Haikai (Sasakawa Foundation U.K. and British Haiku Society)
•    Embassy of Japan, (2009) Roving “Japan-UK 150 Haiku & Renga Poet-in-Residence”
•    Co-ordinator of The 1000 Verse Renga Project in partnership with Bath Libraries (U.K.) and supported by the BBC Poetry Season website
•    Bath Spa University undergraduate development project Haiku poet-in-residence (Autumn 2006 - Summer 2007)
•    Panel of Editors for the award-winning annual Red Moon Anthologies for best haikai literature (2000-2005)
•    Foundation Member of the Australian Haiku Society
•    a founding editor with Haijinx, showcasing humor in haiku
•    Renga/Renku/Linked Forms Editor, Notes from the Gean
•    moderator of the Shiki-temp list for Matsuyama University, Japan
•    currently co-moderator on the British Haiku Society Members Forum

He was also co-founder/co-organizer, and Literature Director, of the 2010 Bath Japanese Festival.

Alan is published in over 75 haiku anthologies; and published in over fifteen languages including Japanese, and British Sign Language.

Japanese newspaper publications:
Yomiuri Shimbun; Asahi Shimbun; Mainichi Shimbun; The Japan Times; and The Mie Times.

"Astonishingly moving haiku"

YOMIURI SHIMBUN (Japan) January 2005

"Widely known haiku dry as vintage champagne"
YOMIURI SHIMBUN (14 million readers in Japan) September 2002

Anthologies include various leading haiku anthologies and a new Norton poetry anthology on haiku: 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) 

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

•    Iron Book of British Haiku (Iron Press; ISBN: 0906228670 First published 1998, Third print 2000)
•    Stepping Stones:  a way into haiku 
    (British Haiku Society, 2007, ISBN 978-0-9522397-9-6)
•    The Humours of Haiku (Iron Press 2012) ISBN 978-0-9565725-4-7

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 (Press Here 2010 USA) ISBN 978-1-878798-31-2
•    Four Virtual Haiku Poets (YTBN Press 2012) ISBN-10: 1478307544 ISBN-13: 978-1478307549
•    c.2.2. an anthology of short-verse poetry and haiku (YTBN Press 2013) ISBN-10: 1479304565 ISBN-13: 978-1479304561

Four Haiku Collections:
•    “Does Fish-God Know” (YTBN Press 2012)

“A must-have book for any haiku fan.”
Tracey Kelly, Chicago/Bath musician/journalist

“Thank you for writing such a vital work.”
Paul David Mena, author of Tenement Landscapes (New York) published by Happa-no-Kofu (The Leaf-Miner Press) just after September 11 2001

•    “The In-Between Season” With Words Pamphlet Series (2012)
•    “Sundog Haiku Journal: an Australian Year” (Sunfast Press 1997 reprinted 1998) California State Library - Main Catalog Call Number: HAIKU S852su 1997
•    “Moonlighting” British Haiku Society Intimations Pamphlet Series (1996)


A pinch of saffron in the pumpkin soup - Haiku poetry showcase by Alan Summers at Cornell University USA

A month of haiku poems by Alan Summers at Cornell University, Mann Library, USA

Cornell University, Mann Library
Supporting learning and research in the life sciences, agriculture, human ecology and applied social sciences:

lullaby of rain
another pinch of saffron
in the pumpkin soup

Alan Summers

Award Credit: 

Editors' Choices, Heron’s Nest (Volume XIV, Number 4: Dec. 2012)    

How do you like your pumpkin soup?  

Velouté de potiron au safran?

velouté de potiron


Saffron Pumpkin Soup Served in Mini Pumpkin Bowls?

image©Dave Yoder for The New York Times

Saffron Flavored Pumpkin Soup

    1 Kabocha squash, approximately 4 pounds
    2 leaks, trimmed
    3-4 cups of milk
    1/4 cup of flour
    4 tablespoons of butter
    1 teaspoon of salt
    1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
    1/4 teaspoon of ginger powder
    A large pinch of saffron
    1 whole nutmeg

Cooking with Alia:

Navelli Journal
Growers Feel the Squeeze to Sell a Pinch of Saffron and the fascinating story behind saffron:



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eleventh and Twelfth Days - Haiku poetry showcase by Alan Summers at Cornell University USA

A month of haiku poems by Alan Summers at Cornell University, Mann Library, USA

Cornell University, Mann Library
Supporting learning and research in the life sciences, agriculture, human ecology and applied social sciences:

morning star
a can of cherry cola
starts to fizz

Alan Summers

Publications credits:
see haiku here (Japan 2012)


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

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

To see the Monet art that inspired the haiku:       

Donna Fleischer's excellent word pond
hokku, haiku, haibun, free form poetry, music, photography, & other arts (Aprll 2012)


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day of Crows: Tenth Day - Haiku poetry showcase by Alan Summers at Cornell University USA

A month of haiku poems by Alan Summers at Cornell University, Mann Library, USA

Cornell University, Mann Library
Supporting learning and research in the life sciences, agriculture, human ecology and applied social sciences:

another hot day
a leaking water pipe stopped
by the jackdaw’s beak

Alan Summers

The haiku came about during a heatwave, and I noticed a jackdaw taking advantage of a flowing overflow pipe at the front of the block of apartments where I live, in Bradford on Avon, England.
The crow family are amazing.   They have strong memories and can pass on both good deeds and ill deeds from humans to fellow crows outside their flock.  Always be kind to a crow and they'll spread the good word that we are not all bad.

As I hadn't taken an image myself at the time, this photo gives you an idea:

A jackdaw (Corvus monedula) observes the water source and drinks from the tap—Deshakalyan Chowdhury—AFP/Getty Images.

Haiku Award credit:
Honourable Mention, 14th Mainichi Haiku Contest (Japan 2010)


Saturday, March 09, 2013

Ninth Day: Haiku poetry showcase by Alan Summers at Cornell University USA

A month of haiku poems by Alan Summers at Cornell University USA
Cornell University, Mann Library

Supporting learning and research in the life sciences, agriculture, human ecology and applied social sciences:

As a poet and writer I often frequent libraries for workshops I'm running or being asked as a guest poet at a reading series.  During one such event I got talking to the library run café manager who had lost her official work keys.   It didn't go down well as you can imagine with the City Council, but I knew she'd need to relax for the rest of the day, and we did manage to have a few laughs about a very stressful situation.

library café–
we swap lost key stories
as my coffee cools

Alan Summers

My wife and myself are roughly equal on misplacing or losing things, but after losing my keys twice in my younger days, I never put my keys anyway but my trouser pocket.  There is something incredibly discomforting about being  less than an inch away from being able to enter your home but for the lack of a bit of metal designed to open up that inch or so of wood that makes for a front door to your home.

Description A leather keychain
Source Own work
Author TheEgyptian

How well do you fare in losing things?

Poem publication credits:
Presence 32  (2007);  (2007); The O’Keefe Brief, O’Keefe Library at SAU, St Ambrose University, Iowa, U.S.A. (2007)

Friday, March 08, 2013

Eighth Day: Haiku poetry showcase by Alan Summers at Cornell University USA

A month of haiku poems by Alan Summers at Cornell University USA
Cornell University, Mann Library

Supporting learning and research in the life sciences, agriculture, human ecology and applied social sciences:

ill all day...
a crime novel
in both rooms

Alan Summers

Publications credits:
Blithe Spirit vol. 17 no.1 (British Haiku Society journal 2007); Haiku Friends Vol 2 ed. Masaharu Hirata (Japan 2007); Disclaimer, (Bath Spa University 2008); haijinx vol. III issue 1 (2010); Day’s End: Poetry and Photography about aging (2011)


Thursday, March 07, 2013

Rose Hip Curry and the Sound of Poets Cooking now on Kindle

Click for review:
"The first step in Alan Summers' Rosehip Curry recipe (yum!) is to write for several hours in a walled garden in direct sunlight."

The Sound of Poets Cooking
editor Richard Krawiec
Jacar Press, 2010, 172 pages
ISBN: 9780984574001

Featuring work by five dozen poets, including NC Poet Laureates Fred Chappell and Kathryn Stripling Byer, and dozens of other nationally celebrated writers. The poems alternate with recipes written by the poets, their family members, lovers and friends. The writing is at turns sensuous, hilarious, elegant, and playful. The recipes range from Asian, through European, to Middle Eastern dishes, as well as regional favorites from across the U.S.--tiramisu, homemade curry, vegetarian meals, exotic seafood, some simple, some complex. There is something here for every palate, literary and culinary. 


Seventh Day: Haiku poetry showcase by Alan Summers at Cornell University USA

A month of haiku poems by Alan Summers at Cornell University USA
Cornell University, Mann Library

Supporting learning and research in the life sciences, agriculture, human ecology and applied social sciences:

Toshugu shrine pines
I try to stay as still -
mist and dew

東照宮の 松静か 霧と露

haiku by Alan Summers

Japanese translation: Hidenori Hiruta (Akita, Japan)

Toshugu Shrine:
I visited in 2001 following in the footsteps of Basho.   Toshugu Shrine is the resting place of Togukawa Ieyasu, founder of the Togukawa Shogunate. Basho and Sora visited on the First Day of the Fourth Month (the first day of summer). Mist and dew are kigo for Spring and Autumn, which I use as a metaphor for our beginnings and endings, and our lives inbetween. An allusion is made to Basho’s famous saying about learning from the pine.

Tablet on torii at Toshogu, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tablet bears the inscription ''Tōsh&#333 Gongen'' (the posthumous name of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Calligraphy by Emperor Go-Mizunoo

Public domain I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide.
In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so:

I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.


How One Writes in the Haiku Moment: Mythos vs. Logos
William M. Ramsey
Roadrunner (Issue IX:2 2009)

Toshugu shrine pines Publications credits:
World Haiku Review, Japan Article - Vending machines and cicadas (March 2003); Hermitage (Romania 2005); Travelogue on World Haiku Festival 2002 Part 1 (Akita International Haiku Network 2010); We Are All Japan (Karakia Press  2012); The In-Between Season (With Words Pamphlet Series 2012)