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, December 31, 2019

End of the Year: The Comfort of Crows – a haiku collaborative!

The Comfort of Crows 
Hifsa Ashraf and Alan Summers 
(Velvet Dusk Publishing, December 2019)

Hifsa Ashraf 
The idea of a collaborative book came around at least as far back as September 2018 when Hifsa revealed a series of fantastic and startling illustrations that caught the spirit and energy of crows.

Hifsa is from Pakistan. She is a multilingual poet who writes poetry in English, Urdu, and Punjabi.

More crows and corvid relatives from Hifsa!

And do check out:

Many thanks to Chrissi Villa and Shloka Shankar of Velvet Dusk Publishing!

Thrilled to have blurb from:

Anna Maris 
Chair of the literary section of the Swedish Author’s Union, and a board member of the Swedish Haiku Society.

Anna Maris writes haiku in Swedish and English. She is the chair of the literary section of the Swedish Author’s Union and a board member of the Swedish Haiku Society. She teaches haiku in schools and has a haiku circle at the temple of Yangtorp in the South of Sweden. Anna has won many awards for haiku, senryu and renku. Her bilingual single collection Lifedeathetc (2016) is published by Red Moon Press. She has two earlier haiku books, published in Swedish. Her work has been included in numerous anthologies, including A New Resonance 11. She is currently employed as a journalist and media trainer in Sweden and Ukraine.

Kris Tsujikawa 
Delighted that the "crowtojournalist" gave us a great blurb as she really knows about crows, and her feedback as blurb was crucial.

John Stevenson
A former President of the Haiku Society of America, and former editor of the HSA journal, Frogpond, one of the oldest and most widely circulated journals of English-language haiku. He is the Managing Editor of Heron’s Nest, while his own haiku have won awards in innumerable competitions. He is co-founder of the Route 9 Haiku Group, which creates the Upstate Dim Sum journal. He is one of the most highly regarded living haiku poets in the world.

Alan Summers
And of course Alan Summers and the catalyst for the illustrations, and finally a collaborative collection around crows, and helped by crows!

Alan Summers is also co-founder of Call of the Page along with his wife Karen Hoy:

And if you want to know about monoku
the one line haiku:

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas and Winter Festivities around the world from Sam the Lurcher, honorary haiku dog and haiku god!

Karen, Alan, and Sam, honorary member of Call of the Page all wish you an incredible rest of the year, and into 2020!

Call of the Page poetry courses for 2020!

We'll see you all in 2020!!!

Friday, November 29, 2019

Van Gogh – painter, artist: a haibun by Alan Summers (incorporating a body of words with haiku)

photo©Alan Summers 2019

Van Gogh’s combat fatigues
The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain,Tate Britain 2019

the man who isn’t
with anyone
stops alongside
different people

choosing them
over the paintings

he has birds
in his arms

and loose locks
of hair made from thought

there are small lives 
within the frames of paintings
having candlelit dinners

and the last door 
out of the exhibition
will begin to sound 
like a trombone
taking leave 
of someone

we hear the chatter
between airlocks
it’s news of a hundred 
and two decades old

as the hours close
in on themselves
the trombone reflects 
on Louis Armstrong
talking to Vincent

backend rain…
a pair of canvas boots
framed by the door

haibun©Alan Summers

Publication credit: 
Weird Laburnum ed. Michael O’Brien (August 2019)

Published on the morning of the last day of the exhibition with thanks to editor Michael O'Brien

Exhibition:Tate Britain


About the Haiku:

backend rain…
a pair of canvas boots
framed by the door

Seasonal Note: backend = autumn rain (North of England)

If Vincent van Gogh could visit one of his exhibitions in modern times:

Vincent Van Gogh Visits the Gallery 
Vincent And The Doctor | Doctor Who

photo©Alan Summers 2019

Haibun came to the fore as literary writing, and as a new genre to some extent, by Matsuo Bashō, with in particular his masterpiece:

Oku no Hosomichi (奥の細道, originally おくのほそ道, meaning "Narrow road to/of the interior"), translated alternately as The Narrow Road to the Deep North and The Narrow Road to the Interior, is a major work of haibun by the Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō, considered one of the major texts of Japanese literature of the Edo period. WIKIPEDIA

Haibun is now practiced in many ways, 
and derives from straight prose accounts interspersed by haiku that create either vignettes in their own right, or lateral narratives, or cut aways as we see in documentary interviews, or filming drama where the camera breaks away to a café scene etc…

photo©Alan Summers 2019

HAIBUN (prose+haiku genre)

Our haibun courses usually sell out, 
but we have an extra one!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Haiku: The one breath poetry – Bristol Museum and Art Gallery evening event

The photos are now up on the Call of the Page!

As you can see it was a fully booked packed event!


Thursday 5 September 2019

Booking information

£5 adult
£4 concession
Doors open at 6.15pm.
A rare opportunity to discover the sensory nature of haiku in the beautiful surroundings of the museum. A haiku is a form of short Japanese poetry that evokes images and feelings.
Discover how to write your own haiku inspired by a visit to our Masters of Japanese Prints: Nature and Seasons exhibition which features the iconic Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai.
The event will be facilitated by poetry experts Bertel Martin, Alan Summers and Karen Hoy, and a selection of participants’ haiku will be read aloud on the night.
Booking information:


Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Queens Rd

Opportunity for those overseas or otherwise unable to physically attend!
You can also submit haiku, tanka, senryu online

The poets at the event!

Emcee: Bertel Martin!

Alan Summers
Lead Tutor, Call of the Page
Karen Hoy
Course Director/Tutor,
Call of the Page

Saturday, July 27, 2019

monobun haibun prose+haiku hybrid poems


is somewhere between violet and green—if the colour doesn’t lie—that connects us; we are really not infinity, but you left me, you destroyed my pale heart, and a coffee, left unsaid, and unanswered.
rambling journey
I become a trifold
of my past

after Claude Monet, 
from a letter to Paul Cézanne

fairygrowth©Alan Summers

It's the small things...

that count, and I read that they too will die, the unknown and unseen insects who befriend roses, on the window ledges of prisons.
mosaic rain:
the cul de sac
of shadow

after Sylvia Plath

perspective©Alan Summers

The uncertainity principle...

is something that haunts so many of us just starting out on life, hovering just beyond the periphery of parental constraints, where we fly or fall on a single smile, and…

blustering wind 
does she really love me 

after Heisenberg

3 monobun©Alan Summers
monobun term created by Alan Summers

Three monobun (over two issues) of Human/Kind journal:

Please do leave a comment, we love them!

Haibun - From one-bun to monobun to longer pieces of prose with haiku writing and Journeys 2015 in at no. 7 in Amazon Hot New Releases

Friday, June 21, 2019

new haiku and tanka Summer online courses for 2019!

For those who have written haiku for a while now, these online courses might assist with a useful 2019 revisit:

Intermediate Haiku (Shorter)

Intermediate Haiku Course (Longer Course)

If you have never written haiku before, or want to push yourself to get to another stage of writing:

Introducing... Haiku

We also have an exciting advanced tanka course if you've been writing them for a while:

Tanka - Shape and Sound

We also have regular email one-to-one sessions as well as our popular Skype feedback conversations!

Lead tutor/mentor Alan Summers is a Japan Times award-winning writer, and a Pushcart Prize nominated poet:

For further information or questions please don't hesitate to contact Karen at:

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The layering of meaning beyond the immediate: The "now" in monoku

caged clouds photo©Alan Summers 2019

The layering of meaning beyond the immediate 

Underlay has two meanings, the second one being:
“In music, underlay refers to text intended for vocalization – positioned either directly or indirectly under notes on a musical staff.”

Here is my meaning as to haiku:
Underlayment: The layering of meaning beyond the immediate, noticeable meaning.

So although they appear quirky, which is part intended, there are ‘under-meanings’ too: Many poems can have a serious “underlay” alongside the device(s) of humour. 

One line haiku (in English) often carry a number of devices or techniques or approaches, which include aspects of other ways of writing in one line, including a wry sense of humour to deliver another type of message.

eye of the song a blackbird touching the void

Alan Summers
Award credit: Winning haiku
The British Haiku Society Awards 2018/19 (Haiku Section) Judge: Scott Mason

Judge's commentary by Scott Mason:
“A good haiku can contain and convey a telling moment in just a kernel. A great haiku can implant that kernel in the reader’s or listener’s consciousness, making its moment live on. 
This year’s competition produced many haiku that I would consider “good” by the standard suggested above. A dozen or so approached greatness in my estimation. I am honored to share my five favorites here. As diverse as these poems are, they have one thing in common: they each tantalize. They do not aspire to teach or resolve; instead they leave room to intrigue and involve. In this way they gain our attention, sustain our interest and make the moment last. 
A Rubik’s ku of perception and intuition held together with synaesthesia, the winning one-liner beguiles and haunts me. What and where is the “eye” of a blackbird’s song? How does that eye “touch” the void? What void are we talking about here anyway – some nexus of negative color (blackness), sound (silence) and capability? ... the focus of Emerson’s “transparent eyeball” turned inward? These questions and others draw me into a state of dreamlike reverie, impelled by a creature in equal parts totem and flesh. (The last “literary” bird to transport me like this was a thrush, in Burnt Norton.) 

There are many different ways of looking at this magical blackbird haiku (easily thirteen, if not four and twenty), each with its own rewards.”

Scott Mason: 

coffee refills reminiscing "what if" scenarios

Alan Summers

Publication credit: 
proletaria  politics philosophy phenomena (04 July 2019) 
ed. Elancharan Gunasekaran
proletaria is a journal dedicated to the art of literary one-liners. 

I called this a monostich (a single line  poem) but it could also be a one-line haiku (monoku) and is part of an ongoing Edward Hopper series, mostly but not exclusively around Edward Hopper’s groundbreaking painting ‘Nighthawks’ (1942):

Many writers, and others, enjoy occupying cafés for a long while. Everyone has their reasons.

What are the layers beyond the immediate in this one line ‘prose/poem’?  For a writer it might be what if the plot to the novel I’m writing on develops this way, or another way? A poet, of any kind of genre, might be applying a poetic version to that of the novelist.

But what of another kind of person? Is it simply a day off, or a holiday for one somewhere anonymous? Is the ‘home’ environment too uncomfortable or chaotic? Is this someone laid off, or attempting to work out why a relationship went so disasterously wrong. Perhaps they had too much alcohol to drink, and ended up somewhere else, and barely escaped, crept out of an apartment at 6am in the morning?

The wording and order of those words is straightforward from ‘coffee refills’ which suggests a certain type of coffee house, rather than buying a fresh cup each time, it’s cheap coffee and either a server does the refilling, or there’s a machine. It could be a chain hotel, and waiting for the breakfast room to open up, and there’s thoughtfully a machine or two already prepped. Someone might be on some kind of course or conference, and simply going through the most important pitch of their lives. 

The verb used is reminiscing which usually means going over past experiences that you remember with pleasure. But is that always the case? Or if it is, perhaps a guilty holiday romance, usefully short, and with someone from a different town or city or country?

The concrete image of ‘coffee’ and ‘refills’ has its abstract partner of “scenarios” where we can really launch ourselves in different ideas of what that could mean!

plural noun: scenarios
  1. a written outline of a film, novel, or stage work giving details of the plot and individual scenes.

Definitely a writer here!


"A series or development of events which could be anyone this time."
Even though the word feels closely related to those in the writing or creating drama/documentary occupations  (a written plan of the characters and events in a play or film) aren’t we all, if observed by someone else, looking like a character from a television/streaming video/movie scene, and more likely a soap opera?

In Japanese the term (noun or verb) of reminiscing is:


Translated into “Made to remember.” That brings a whole new ‘nuance’ to everything, in my book! 

Enjoy your own versions, don’t feel guilty though. I like to feel it’s a time to be ourselves, enjoying a good coffee and wrapped into its steam, as we go back in time. Perhaps to ‘what if’ but hopefully in a good and enjoyable manner.

a dreaming forest busy as Hitchcock

Alan Summers
weird laburnum ed. Michael O’Brien (May 2019)

This is both a play on Hitchcock’s film Birds, and for of course where Alma Reville was often responsible for the edginess in Alfred Hitchcock films, most famously and allegedly creating the shower scene in Psycho that still makes some of us nervous when alone in our home or elsewhere with a shower curtain obscuring our view, if we hear a noise in the next room, or at the entrance door. A forest is both a dreamlike place, but it is a business for natural residents from birds to four legged animals undertaking what they have to do to survive each day. We are not only destroying forests, and woodlands, but each property development, where with existing buildings or not, have trees unnecessarily destroyed. We don’t seem to respect the homes of other animals, and after all we are but another animal species, aren’t we?

when yellow is round I miss your apostrophe

Alan Summers
weird laburnum ed. Michael O’Brien (May 2019)

Perhaps just for fun and mystery. It’s also part of ongoing giallo/yellow series of haiku and haibun/tanka stories around various themes, including violence in the saffron trade.

trucks in the violin mimicries of D-sharp minor

Alan Summers
Otoliths ed. Mark Young (Feburary 2017)
From “Not when she’s in Kansas” haiku sequence haibun hybrid

The violins piece is about a very dark part of 20th Century history, although it’s been repeated in this one too, but by different people.

each window its own night train

Alan Summers
Award credit:
Honourable mention, 
The British Haiku Society Awards 2018/19 (Haiku Section) judge: Scott Mason

This is from my experience on the Caledonian Sleeper to Scotland. Also watching my wife set off or arriving by train from various meetings etc… each window is a story, each person is a story, each glance is a story. Are we are our own window…on a night train to somewhere?

And I’d like to end on a commentary by highly regarded Scott Mason (author/editor of The Wonder Code) who was the judge for the haiku section.

See also:
Travelling the single line of haiku


travelling the monorail - one line haiku:

We regularly run courses, and one-to-one email feedback and Skype sessions:


One-Line Haiku Online Course

For further information please don't hesitate to contact Karen!