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, February 28, 2017

Strange Bed - this is an ekphrastic blend of haibun [prose+haiku] and Tanka Story [prose+tanka] also called "tanka prose", published by The British Haiku Society

Strange Bed 

Pulling clothes off each other
            we crawl up the stairs of your parents’ home.
bed, vt:
to have sexual intercourse with somebody (informal). 
A transitive verb is an action that requires one or more objects

our clouds of breath
the river bank reveals
its water vole

Already the final act is begun, squared up, and oblonged.
This small rectangle of a room in a room; we play our dance card.

this waiting room
of ladders
I run to the sky
so every bell rings out
with your musk

bed, noun:
a rectangular state of sexual intimacy associated with being in bed with somebody. 
noun (from Latin nōmen, literally meaning “name”)

the bee hotel
a solitary walk inside
my numbered cells

Linguistically, a noun is a member of a large, open part of speech whose members can occur as the main word in the object of a verb, or object of a proposition.

sticker book…
I peel away your edge
of the galaxy

We begin our syllabary of death and sex on this raised platform,
a simple structure that serves as a base for keeping things simple and above ground.

the rain opening
                and closing its proboscis

bed, early, meaning:
important development lifting straw piles off the ground to avoid drafts, dirt, and certain pests. 

the greenness
of new songs into blue
streaming out of clouds
I see the way ahead
is a yellow brick road

Strange Bed © Alan Summers 2017

Haibun/Tanka Story 

Ekphrastic treatment of ’Strange Bed’ by David Cobley
oil on linen 12x12in (30.5 x 30.5cm)

Publication Credit:
Blithe Spirit (Journal of the British Haiku Society)

Vol. 27 no. 1 (February 2017)

Deliberate typos and dodgy definitions by Alan Summers

Strange Bed by David Cobley:
David Cobley:

If you are intrigued by haibun check out our forthcoming online course called The Passion of Haibun:

For further information please do contact Karen at:


Monday, February 27, 2017

The Passion of Haibun online course - combining prose and haiku poems into a unique and challenging new medium

We run haibun courses off and on throughout the year, here's one just starting (March 2018), and we are maintaining the early bird rate:

The Passion of Haibun - 
A Call of the Page  online course:
Haibun is an alchemy of combining prose with haiku poems to create a unique genre of writing: It’s equally at home in poetry; creative short fiction/flash fiction; and creative non-fiction; as well as journal writing; nature writing; diary writing; and in other forms of art. 

Answer the call of the page, the call of the wild!  It’s about rewriting/rewiring the world.
- Alan Summers, 
President, United Haiku and Tanka Society
co-founder of Call of the Page. 

“We're all there trying to make the story…as good as it can be. It's a constant struggle to get it down, get it clear, and understand that your intentions are the same, whether you're [a beginner] writing a short story or a writer with seven published novels. The continually reassuring thing is that we're all novices when we start a new work.”
Paraphrasing Alice McDermott (Inducted into the New York Writers Hall of Fame, 2013)

“You have to be passionate about your subject…to write a quality haibun…pieces that kept [you] awake at night… I want to be startled by all the elements of a haibun (title, prose, haiku, tanka). I want haibun that compel me to read them again and again as I strive to learn something new about what it is like to be a human being.”
Paraphrasing Glenn G. Coats, Some Thoughts about Haibun
Contemporary Haibun Online (January 2017, vol 12 no. 4)

We are poets always in interesting times, and the haibun mix of prose or even prose poetry combined with the short verses of haiku that are “pockets of now”, and cemented into the present, feels vitally appropriate, and in keeping with our evolving and changing societies. - Alan Summers

"Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. ... [Write] knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them." —Edwidge Danticat

Is this you? If so, you belong on this course. You don’t think this is you? Then you equally belong on this course. 
- Alan Summers


“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
—Sylvia Plath

As we have entered and gone beyond the second decade of the 21st Century, perhaps it is time to look back, look forward, and never moreso than looking uncritically at everything happening from family to work to social history.
- Alan Summers

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” —Maya Angelou

If the course is over-subscribed we will create a waiting list for you as it’s too important not to have you as part of The Passion of Haibun. You are too important to be left out. 
-Alan Summers

Do you realize that all great literature is all about what a bummer it is to be a human being? Isn’t it such a relief to have somebody say that? —Kurt Vonnegut


Breaking down the invisible (in haibun)
With a slight shift, a momentary aside, a shuffle of cards, legerdemain, the author leaves the main story to dive into side alleys. But how is the ‘real’ narrative still kept when we diverge from the main story? How we do we maintain the momentum, the blood flow? 

Blood vessels include arteries, capillaries, and veins which are responsible for transporting blood throughout the body.
Source: Boundless. “Arteries, Veins, and Capillaries.”  26 May. 2016.

The poetry dynamic within haibun is as much about what we think is the main story; it’s those nano-stories or even “broken narratives” that haiku can be, hiding on the sidelines, that just require the torch and touch of prose to bring them alive, and equally in turn they tend to light up the prose in other ways perhaps not possible with a straight linear narrative of prose. 
— Breaking down the invisible (in haibun) by Alan Summers


“Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow.” —Margaret Atwood

"Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence." —Alice Walker

"I do what I do, and write what I write, without calculating what is worth what and so on. Fortunately, I am not a banker or an accountant. I feel that there is a time when a political statement needs to be made and I make it."
—Arundhati Roy

Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. 
-Franz Kafka

“Know what you write more than write what you know.” Paraphrased from Annie Proulx


Carolyn See said: 
“Every word a woman writes changes the story of the world, revises the official version.”
Emma Cueto adds:
Because let's face it, the "official version" of the world could do with some revising. (Plus, the world could always do with more good books, whether they're by men or women).


“A word after a word after a word is power.”
—Margaret Atwood

Do you have the call of the page in your blood, and a passion? Join us on this new online course; haibun needs you, even if you don’t know it yet. - Alan Summers

For more information please contact Karen:

Journeys 2015: 

Journeys 2017:

Other links:

The Thoughtful Raven - haibun (haiku+prose) - after Ted Hughes and The Thought Fox - Kurt Jackson and The Thoughtful Raven (Charcoal and ink sketch 2007) - ekphrastic poem | haiku | haibun:

Including a short history of haibun:

Alan's haibun that appears in Journeys 2015:

A week of daily haiku by Alan Summers starting with ducks

Each day through to Sunday, March 5, one haiku written by Alan will appear. 

those who stop—
ducks t
aking colour
from the river

by Alan Summers
brass bell: a haiku journal, February 2017
ducks on the River Avon, England photo©Alan Summers

‘From troubles of the world I turn to ducks’
F.W. Harvey
Ducks (1919)

Please search the archives for other selections by Alan:


Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Thoughtful Raven - haibun (haiku+prose) - after Ted Hughes and The Thought Fox - Kurt Jackson and The Thoughtful Raven (Charcoal and ink sketch 2007) - ekphrastic poem | haiku | haibun

The Thoughtful Raven
after Ted Hughes, and Kurt Jackson

The raven grows out of swift strokes in a moment of midnight: 

Corvid, sublingual, 
in sixty-five vocalisations of its kind, 

from worms to whales; battlefield and gibbet; 
to an excarnation platform; 
the raven’s thought of food is foremost.

The requiem bird is a shark of the wind.

the fox’s bark
for a moment
after echoes

There are stars and stars and stars
and the raven thoughtful in its field.

The bird is glossed in purple, green and blue,
its call blunt with primary colour; 
wind and rain; and hourglass grains 
cemetary stone
digger bees emerge
from letters

as stars lose focus in morning light 
God is in the detail of ripples of silence
inside the caw

a knuckle in blue jeans ripped
while a smell of white forms
    out of granular dark

the writer is chugging ink
from a forearm to fingers to nib, 
the raven is done for the night.

rabbit dusk
goldfinches vibrate
across teasels

The haibun is influenced by:

Ted Hughes
The Thought-Fox
From The Hawk in the Rain 1957


Kurt Jackson RWA
Thoughtful Raven, November 2006
Pencil and ink (25cm x 24cm)

The Thoughtful Raven©Alan Summers

Publication Credit: Blithe Spirit 26.4 winter issue haibun 
Anthology Credit:   The New English Verse: An International Anthology of Poetry
ed. Suzie Palmer ISBN: 9789385945694 Cyberwit 2017

More about halibun:

Details about Call of the Page's courses:
To ask about forthcoming online courses please do contact Karen at:

The Passion of Haibun Online Course

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Competition for Grades 7-12

Deadline: In hand by March 25, 2017. Entries received after that date will not be accepted.

Eligibility: Any student in grades 7 through 12 enrolled in school as of September 2016 may enter.

Regulations: Submit up to three haiku per student. 
All haiku or senryu must be previously unpublished, original work, and not entered in any other contest or submitted elsewhere for publication. Please follow the guidelines carefully. Publication is defined as an appearance in a printed book, magazine, or journal (sold or given away), or in any online journal that presents edited periodic content. The appearance of poems in online discussion lists or personal websites is not considered publication. Judges will be asked to disqualify any haiku that they have seen before.
By entering the contest, you are granting permission for the Nicholas A. Virgilio Haiku Association and Haiku Society of America to print the award haiku and/or senryu on the Web.
ALSO, by entering the contest you are granting permission for the Nicholas A. Virgilio Haiku Association to print your poem in any possible future haiku anthologies sponsored by NVHA. Contestants may opt out of publication by emailing <>. 
New Online Submissions:
The NVHA & HSA have implemented a new online web submission process to simplify entries in the Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition. We STRONGLY encourage all submissions online but will still accept paper submissions this year during the transition. 
Go to online entry form:
Contest page: 

History and Purpose of the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association

Mission Statement

To promote the creative and spiritual exercise of writing haiku and other poetry by all - and especially by young people- as a way to encourage literacy, appreciation of nature and human nature, and the value of connected community. Also, to further the work and poetry of Camden's son, Nick Virgilio on our own and in partnership with academic, civic, cultural and other institutions and their resources.