“Shoes”, my haibun on the refugee tragedy unfolding before our eyes, has found its way to Whirlwind Magazine, the Fall 2015 issue.
Read it here, p. 4
Do you sometimes wonder what happens after the gravediggers return to their workstations and the grieving relatives go home? What is it of the self or soul that’s left inside the box or urn, or floating in the air? Do you think there may be life after death, a life after this life, an afterlife? Do you fret over reincarnation, heaven, or hell? Poets do.
resting in peace
her mobile phone
Robert Epstein, a licensed psychologist, and haiku poet, has just edited Beyond The Grave: Contemporary Afterlife Haiku (Middle Island Press, 2015), an anthology of poets’ haiku on the life beyond. Thoughtful, sensitive, measured and moving, as well as studded with moments of humour, and brilliance, the anthology proves an invaluable companion for thinking about the limits (and beyond) of existence.
lilies the meaning of life after death
Leafing through poems on life after death, I let myself be led along lines of uncertainty, of hope, as well as humour, of the ineffable, of mysteries, without the certainties that dispose of thought.
that turn of phrase
in her haiku
(Poems included in the anthology)
Roberta Beary, award-winning poet and haibun editor of Modern Haiku, the judge of this contest, wrote:
Stella Pierides’ haibun shows how time, which is also the title, turned the narrator’s expectations of her life’s autumn upside-down. The haiku at the haibun’s end effectively juxtaposes the images and original word choice in lines 1 and 2, lulling the reader along until the surprise of line 3. At first glance the haiku does not seem relevant to the prose. A deeper reading shows that the haiku echoes and expands the feelings of surprise and mortality elicited by the prose, which is exactly what is supposed to happen in haibun.
You can find “Time” here
Thrilled to have had a poem of mine discussed at re: Virals, The Haiku Foundation’s poem commentary feature. The poem is from my book In the Garden of Absence (Fruit Dove Press, 2012):
pulling the darkness out
pin by pin
It was chosen by Irish poet Marion Clarke, the previous week’s commentary winner. And right on Halloween, All Saints Day… which added extra layers of depth to my haiku. Thank you, Marion! And thank you too, to Garry Eaton and Beth McFarland for their insightful comments.
I love the re:Virals series, and look forward to reading the poems chosen and the commentaries written on them.
Would you like to take part? Anyone can participate. There is a new poem each Friday on the site (chosen by the previous week’s winning commentator) for you to comment on. Simply put your take in the Contact box by the following Tuesday midnight. . .and there you have it, good luck! The best commentary will be reproduced in its entirety on the site and kept permanently in the THF Archives.
taking another look
at the moon
Frogpond, 38:3 2015
Good news! The German edition of Feeding the Doves, 31 Short Stories and Haibun, Taubenfüttern, is ready for the 56th Munich Book Show 2015. I have already delivered copies of my books to the organisers of the event, which will be taking place at the Gasteig, Munich, from the 19th of November to the 6th of December 2015. Drop by if you get the chance.
Pünktlich zur 56. Münchner Bücherschau (19. November – 6. Dezember 2015) erscheint die Kurzgeschichtensammlung „Taubenfüttern“ der in Athen geborenen und heute in Neusäß und in London lebenden Schriftstellerin und Dichterin Stella Pierides. Taubenfüttern ist die Übersetzung des englischen Originaltitels „Feeding the Doves“ (Fruit Dove Press, 2013), der international bestens rezensiert wurde.
Aus dem Vorwort: Die Kurzgeschichten in Taubenfüttern „erkunden wiederkehrende Motive der griechischen Psyche und verfolgen diese zurück auf die besondere Geschichte und Position des Landes. Die Witwe, der alte Einzelgänger, der Immigrant, der Schriftsteller, der Grieche in der Diaspora: Sie alle erzählen uns ihre Geschichte. Die Geschichte des Griechischseins, des Menschseins. Sie sprechen von Liebe und Verlust, Krieg und Bürgerkrieg, Immigration und Diaspora, Emigration, Armut, Religion und Geschichte und vor allem vom Willen zum Überleben. Eins ist ihnen dabei allen gemeinsam: Sie suchen einen Weg aus der Ausweglosigkeit, aus dem Konflikt eines Volkes an der außergewöhnlichen Wegkreuzung dreier Kontinente und verschiedenster Kulturen, aus einer Vergangenheit, die ihren Schultern eine gewaltige Last aufbürdet.“
Neben Taubenfüttern und Feeding the Doves wird der Neusässer Verlag Fruit Dove Press wird mit folgenden weiteren Titeln von Stella Pierides auf der 56. Münchner Bücherschau vertreten sein: In the Garden of Absence (Mikropoesie und Haiku, 2012; ausgezeichnet mit dem Mildred Kanterman Memorial Award 2013, 3. Preis, der Haiku Society of America für 2012 erschienene Bücher) und The Heart and Its Reasons (Kurzgeschichten, 2014).
an imperceptible smile
nine circles of hell
Chrysanthemum 2015, Nr. 18. p. 34
Have you ever tried to fall asleep in Athens? I have, and I can tell you it is no mean feat. Car horns, car alarms, arguments, laughter, jovial “yia mas,” clinking glasses, people speaking in colourful accents and languages, young men selling flickering toys, women begging, babies crying, restless figures talking to themselves, dogs fighting; ambulances, police on motorcycles revving their engines… the Athenians never stop. There should be prizes for those managing to fall asleep in Athens.
So, when I read a story about disturbed sleep in Athens, I immediately sympathised. The character in the story could not sleep because neighbours had been digging in the pavement outside his window, chatting late into the night. No other sounds seemed to disturb his sleep. In the morning he found out what they had been up to. They had been planting a tree! Unfortunately, the author doesn’t tell us what kind of a tree. Was it an olive? A lemon? Or is he – for he must be a he, don’t you agree – withholding the information in case we start looking into symbols? Never mind, let’s not start obsessing.
on the pillow the night and its shadows
I can provide the tree for our purposes, no problem. But where is the story in the story? Several unspecified neighbours are planting an olive tree in the middle of the night, while as far as the story goes, teeming millions of people in this big city are asleep (how does the author account for the lack of noise in Athens? I don’t know). I can imagine people emerging bleary-eyed from their beds trying to make out what is going on. Asking questions, shaking their heads, crossing themselves, complaining; then what? Going back to sleep in a city that is at its loudest at night? Something does not fit, or rather is well-hidden in this story.
Unless, of course, it is a metaphorical sleep that is meant here. Sleeping as in keeping the peace, turning a blind eye. Wink, wink. Worse, someone turning a blind eye to the hope (planting of the tree, see?) that is being taking root.
Impossible? Let’s consider it. After the worst famine since World War II, after a huge increase in suicide rates, after the vicious psychological attacks on the country, against which, as a nation as well as an individual, it was difficult to defend oneself, the people of Athens, in their global origins and skin colours, in their Babelesque languages, are turning a corner. Things are being said. Planting is being done. The story writer, by ignoring the usual nocturnal noise, and foregrounding instead the hushed, whispering voices in the night, is drawing our attention to something inconspicuous: the barely audible voices of those just starting to communicate a desire to plant something that grows; a belief in survival, in continuity, in building once more a better life…
Planting trees in the dead of night: allusions to hope, to the future, putting down roots, seeds of hope in the dust of despair… see, even hope has to be dispensed in dribs and drabs. Still, whatever you do, don’t close your eyes; or ears.
the olive tree dripping
Blog Action Day 2015.
This haibun was written in response to the theme #RaiseYourVoice – in support of those who can’t.
Inspired by “Workers Disturb My Sleep in Beijing”
by Salvatore Attardo, published in Cha
#BAD2015 #Oct16 #blogactionday
It’s this time of the year again: October 16, Blog Action Day approaching fast….
What is Blog Action Day? I’t’s a global event involving bloggers commenting on an issue that matters. The organisers say:
‘Every year since 2007, thousands of bloggers have come together for one day to talk about one important issue, like Poverty, Climate Change and Human Rights amongst others.’
I took part the last two years and thoroughly enjoyed the event.
This year, Blog Action Day is slightly different. Due to the fact that the theme is ‘Raise Your Voice’ — i.e. each individual blogger will be deciding for themselves which issue to write about — there will be a plethora of themes . . . and voices . . . let’s see how this plays out.
In 2013 I wrote about refugees crossing the Mediterranean – my post was one of three to be featured by Amnesty International. I am giving the link here because it is even more topical this year than it was in 2013. But repeating a blog post is not enough. I will have to make a choice. I could write a new post about refugees, about growing old, the treatment of old people by our society (a sort of ‘society refugees’), or about war and envy. Maybe there is a way of bringing all these topics together. We’ll see…
Meanwhile, these are the three tags for sharing information about the event:
#BAD2015 , #RaiseYourVoice #Oct16
the sound of dove’s wings
I’m walking around the world without leaving home… How? By using a pedometer: it tracks my steps and lets me know weekly the distance I’ve covered. Occasionally, it congratulates me on earning a badge for achieving high step counts (per day) and distance milestones. The exuberant software emoticon that comes with the email makes my day. Earlier on this year, I celebrated walking the length of New Zealand: 1593 km long. A couple of weeks ago, I received a badge for walking the distance covered by the Great Barrier Reef, all 2574 km of it! Now of course I wish I had really been there. On the other hand . . . what is reality?
missing from the rainbow burnt umber
Delighted that my epistolary poem ‘Dear Yannis’ (Ritsos) is given another airing on RE / VERSE, the online journal.
‘Little Eagle Press presents poems previously published. Well worth another look, we think,’ they say. Thank you to Ralph Murre for giving my poem a second chance, and for the photo art image he created that accompanies the poem. Take a look by clicking here
hearing the news…
A sunny Saturday afternoon in Augsburg. In Ohmstrasse 5, crowds are queuing patiently with their donations for the refugees, while numerous volunteers sort through bag after bag of shoes, jackets, scarfs and hats, toys, cardboard boxes… It felt good to witness this, and to be part of this crowd.
The group organising this collection is called Uebergepaeck eines Fluechtlings Check them out on Facebook, and if you live nearby, please note they will be accepting donations every Saturday 13:00-16:00 pm till the end of October.
This afternoon, I visited the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. I went to see an exhibition juxtaposing what had been termed by the National Socialists ‘Degenerate Art” with their own notion of Art. It turned out to be interesting, though small-scale. For me, the best piece was work that would have been considered ‘degenerate’, but that was created later: Bacon’s triptych Crucifixion (1965).
I had seen this before, but never sat long enough in front of it to feel the enormity of its significance for modern art, as well as its power to see through and comment on the violence of totalitarian regimes and the destructive forces of the human psyche. Click here for a photo of this work.
Large pillars of basalt with circular cuts bored into them at one end, filled with smaller conical pieces. A puzzling, powerful piece of art, allowing the viewer to walk around it and explore perspectives. I saw toppled pillars, columns, bones, decay, in the installation. Given the state of the world today, with the violence and destruction reigning in so many war-torn countries, I wonder how Beuys would have depicted the end of the 21st century.
In case you’ve noticed my absence from my blog, I’ve been working on a book of haibun stories and I am thrilled to report that I am near completing the first draft. Like my previous fiction books, this one is spun around the three poles of self, society, and politics. The emphasis though is different. More about this later. Unusually, for me, the title for this one has been elusive. In the past, I used to have the title before I wrote the book. Not so with this book.
I may be asking for your help to pick a title, though how this could be done without prior knowledge of the book is a good question.
And another thing! A translation into German of my book of short stories and haibun titled ‘Feeding the Doves’ (Fruit Dove Press, 2013) is being readied for printing as we speak. So that you know, dear reader, I haven’t been skiving!
echoes from the island belfry
reach the mainland
Please don’t read beyond the title. This is not a poem, nor is it a haibun, short story, or flash.
It has no beginning, middle or end. No development of any sort. It is here as a no thing, and by reading it you gain nothing. Unless you make it into something.
petals or thorns
a scratch on the surface
Published at ‘the other bunny‘ August 3, 2015
a bar regular vents
the where, when, and how
in Sonic Boom