haikaiTALKS | Q #18

Updated: Jan 23

haikaiTALKS Q #18 | a saturday gathering _under the banyan tree host: Kala Ramesh *** Q #18***


haikaiTALKS Q #18: a saturday gathering_under the banyan tree

host: Kala Ramesh

Hearty Congratulations, Alan!

Shalini has picked your answer as the best reply to her Q!

She says: Dear Kala,

Alan's contribution is as always full of interesting bits and pieces that one can always go back to. Arvinder's response was one that resonated a lot. I loved Tish's tanka. It's a deeply moving piece. Needless to say, each and everyone brought life to my question by sharing generously. I'm unable to choose anyone because in my view these were all winners.

I request Alan to give us the next question.





Okay, that's fantastic, please thank Shalini!

I guess this goes straight to the "craft" question and our process or processes as writers.

warm regards,



(statement, challenge, question, examples}

by Alan Summers

Writing, at least to me, is a two fold or two part process. Each 'fold' is incredibly complex, of course.

Alongside the emotional drive, full of drama, sentiment, guilt, anguish, and subjectivity, is the other part, which is control. As it's been said that the brain is two parts, that of creativity and the analytical side.

We need both parts as poets, and one side should not dominate the other side otherwise our poems are either:

too sloppy, emotional, sentimental (full of sugary content aka saccharine or overly kawaii [culture of cuteness in Japan])


too "linear logic" a-to-b-to-c or 2x2=4, too dry, simply descriptive, a statement, leaving the reader with just a dictation from the writer, and we risk driving opinion into others who may accept or reject, but stops the reader growing as themselves, and becomes some mere embodiment or tool or puppet of the writer.

A fun test (it told me on the first attempt that I was 75% Right Brain 25% Left Brain)

I have no idea how deeply scientific this test is, it's just fun. There are other more scientific ones, but let's keep it light and fun for the moment!


Whatever brain we are in work or home or social life, do we or can we leave that behind and become another combination so that we can operative or exist as a poet, in partnership with 'control' so that our poems are sharp, focused/in focus, penetrating, precise/concise/distilled, to the point and direct, sometimes visceral, but composed and have composure.

My question:

a) How do you control your creative writing to maintain a consistent standard of delivery i.e. make the poem the best final version, as if your life counted on it!

b) How do you manage or harness the wildfire of creativity without it being watered down by too emotion that impairs our writing craft.

c) What methods work best for you, what methods work best to benefit the reader.

d) Consider giving an example or two of early drafts of poems (tanka, haiku, senryu, kyoka) where your emotions got the better of you and overrode the crafting and process of the poem.

e) Give us the final published version what successfully passed the 'peer review' of a tough editor or editors of a journal

Alan's own examples:

Early draft (version)

the trickle that is a rill the greenfinch moves its green around

Too 'linear logic' too left brain!

Final (draft) version (there were many many versions, including rejections!):

the rill’s trick a greenfinch moves its green around

Alan Summers

~ Third Place ~ 2018 Harold G. Henderson Memorial Haiku Award Judges: Lee Gurga & Lorin Ford


Early draft (version)

light rain sharing the evening with blackbird song

A single clause, too descriptive, and weak verb choice.

Final (draft) version (there were many many versions, including rejections!):

the names of rain a blackbird’s subsong into dusk

Alan Summers

Publication credit: Haiku News Vol. 1 No. 35 (September 2012) ed.Laurence Stacey & Dick Whyte

Featured Poet:

Cornell University USA (Cornell University, Mann Library haiku showcase March 2013) curated by Tom Clausen

Brass Bell: Alan Summers curated by Zee Zahava (July 2015)

A Common Blackbird (thrush family) subsong: http://tinyurl.com/blackbirdsubsong

Oh, and I have far worse early draft versions, but they are all important, and all invaluable, so save them. I wish I had!

Enjoy the challenge! I think you will learn a lot more about yourself as a person and as a poet and how or where you continue with your own artistic craft and journey.

warmest regards, Alan

Alan Summers founder, Call of the Page editor, The Haiku Reader


Trivenians are given time until the midnight of 26th January (IST) to share your views and reviews!

Waiting to read your responses!

your host, _ kala


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