Alan [Summers] Haiku Journey


Alan Summers is an extraordinary haiku poet and teacher of the haiku and halibun forms. I return to his bright, imaginative and free-ranging voice again and again in his haiku book, “Does Fish-God Know?”  I’m holding out for a collected volume of his haiku. One can dream . . .  – Donna Fleischer

  1. Thanks Donna! 🙂

    It was a great honour for Japan’s national television service (NHK) to approach me for this feature.

    It was an incredibly hot September back in 2015 (by most standards) and a 12 hour 5 day shoot, hence the sunburnt look at times. 🙂

    warm regards,


    • Dear Alan,
      A great honor bestowed, and so deserved, imo. Congratulations for the recognition of the work of “the haiku way” (to use your words because they remind us that haiku is a way of life and being in the moment, an eternal verb, like breathing). I was so intent on your every word that I didn’t notice the sunburn. I used to work a regular 12-hour, three-day week, sometimes a fourth day if required, in the offset printing industry. I would collapse at the end of each work week. I wrote the following haibun years ago to honor my work:


      Early morning wakes me from you, asleep in our bed, for twelve hour printing shift
      empty of craft. Bring with me to keep spirit watered: your Bach, Pergolesi tapes; a
      strand of your fine, blonde hair, which surprises, from somewhere and placed in my
      pocket, at work, for dreaming; beige fawn, still free, that loped across the road for
      Talcott Mountain pleases again my sleepy gaze; organic berries from the Cascades
      which you washed last night . . . bluish clouds float sweetly in my mouth; recent poems
      of Adrienne Rich, a loved prism for the difficult day. Noon radio news reports the murder of
      Phoolan Devi*, India’s Dasyu Sundari — awoman, illiterate, who once said, “I was born into violence
      . . . and I will die by violence. It is my fate.” My four-day ordeal ends. Mind and body hurt,
      forced apart to perform. Return home, clumsy with exhaustion, fumble to connect, and fail . . .
      anger burns, cauterizes tornplaces that were one, numbs with its dull bandages. Rest. Revisit
      another sighting while on my way home — a deer, lying on its side, near the verge where one had
      earlier crossed the strange surface of road, then onto the mountain plain trail guided by
      ancestral memory and car-struck trying to return, probably dead. A driver on foot hesitates
      towards it. I drive on – Donna Fleischer, from “indra’s net”

      *Dasyu Sundari, or Beautiful Bandit is what lower-caste Indians called Devi because she fought for
      the rights of women and the poor.

  2. Donna,

    I am working on a haiku collection, and a haibun collection, as well as Writing Poetry: the haiku way.

    It’s been so jam packed with non-creative issues that I am behind, but at least two books should be out by Christmas this year. 🙂

    warm regards,


    • Alan,
      Well, that’s a dream come true for me as you well know by now how very much I read and revel in your poetry. – Donna

  3. Reblogged this on Haikutec’s Weblog and commented:
    Delighted that Japan’s national television service (NHK) did a feature on me as a professional haiku poet.

  4. Great video, Alan, your approach to haiku most inspirational. How liberating it is that the seasonal word is no longer mandatory, with so much creative potential to be plumbed in that middle-ground between pure haiku and senryu.

    All power to your elbow in your splendid endeavours to promote haiku.

    My very best,


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