Over the past few months, I have been collaborating with artist and painter Maria Pierides on an ekphrastic project. The result is Ekphrasis, the forthcoming exhibition at King Street Gallery, featuring 24 of Maria’s marvellous paintings together with my haiku responses to each of her paintings. A book of the exhibition will be available at the show.
King Street Gallery, Carmarthen, Wales, announced the forthcoming event in Welsh Country Magazine:
M Pierides & S Pierides exhibition of paintings & poetry
A new exhibition which opens on 27th October in the Chate Room, King Street Gallery, showcases a dynamic new collaboration between painter Maria Pierides and poet Stella Pierides.
Delighted! So much looking forward to it! I copy below the full notice:
“Ekphrasis: Between image and word” presents new paintings by Maria Pierides – and a response to each of those paintings by Stella Pierides with haiku, the shortest of poetic forms. Maria Pierides’work is inspired by her surrounding landscape, cultural identity, history, myth, time – and poetry. Maria’s visual abstractions are the outcome of conversations with the artist’s being in a particular place at a given time, shortcuts of her lived experience in colour, in texture, in paint. The collaboration with Stella Pierides, who responds to the paintings with haiku, adds layers of meaning that expand in ever widening circles and offer new and unexpected inroads to the paintings. Between image and word; between substance, imagination, and reflection; and between the past and the present, a world resonates, inviting us to engage with the whole of our being. To coincide with her solo show at King Street Gallery, Maria is working on a book featuring a selection of paintings with the haiku written in response to them. King Street Gallery artist Matt Pearce said:
“Despite having been showing at KSG for less than a year, Maria’s work already has an extraordinary following at the Gallery because of its unique emotional impact.
We are very excited about Maria’s forthcoming exhibition which adds to her paintings a response – in poetry – by Stella Pierides,
which will inspire a new dialogue around the paintings.”
A private view takes place at King Street Gallery on Friday, the 27th of October from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Maria and I would be pleased to see you there. The exhibition runs until 16th Nov.
For more information about King Street Gallery please visit: http://www.kingstreetgallery.co.uk
The British Haiku Society has just announced the opening of their annual Haiku, Tanka and Haibun Awards 2017! And with this, the judges for the different categories. I am honoured and excited to be invited to judge the Haibun category.
This year, the award for this category is named the “Ken and Noragh Jones Haibun Award”, honouring the two great poets and long-standing members of the BHS.
The competition is open to both members of the Society and non-members, from all over the world. Please click here for details. Deadline for submissions 31st January 2018.
I’d stopped writing haibun for a while. It was that moment thing. Every time I tried to write in the moment I found it difficult—nay, impossible—to stay in it. All sorts of ideas bubbled up: memories, associations, judgments; my need to appear clever. I wrote about the past, about objects, about regrets that sat in the heart like stones. Too much luggage, too much heaviness, too much of this world. Weighed down I stopped. I hoped for a prompt, a muse who would give me the push I needed.
Then one day, in Finsbury Park, sharing a bench with a woman talking to herself, my wish was granted. Dishevelled, wild-eyed, looking at all directions at once, thin as if she never ate, muscle fibers moving all at once, mumbling continuously. She turned and took a quick look at me, fell silent for what must have been a whole minute, and then started again. I tried to make out what she was saying. I realized she was reciting Homer’s Odyssey. In ancient Greek! I tried to follow. I could not make out whole passages, got lost in translation then caught up with her again. The holes in the recitation made by my absences did not matter. I sat with her for a long time. Darkness fell without me realising. A chill crept up from the soil. The sounds of the city surrounding the Park changed to an indeterminate, persistent buzz. Dark figures approached and slank away. Every now and then she wiped her nose, rubbed her forehead, played with her earring. I followed her recital long into the night. Long after the guards locked the Park gates and the full moon bathed us in silver.
deeper than the wine-dark sea urchins
Haibun Today, Volume 11, Number 3, September 2017
Pleased to see a very positive review of my latest book of haibun Of This World appear in Frogpond, the Journal of The Haiku Society of America (Spring/Summer 2017, v. 40:2, pp. 115-116). Grateful to Randy Brooks for his review and generous comments:
Stella Pierides is an accomplished fiction writer as well as poet, which is evident from the careful crafting of narrators’ voices throughout Of This World: 48 Haibun. Some haibun writers load their prose with dense imagery such that it resembles a prose poem, followed by a prosaic haiku. However, in Pierides’ haibun, each haiku extends, not merely repeats, what has already been expressed in the prose. I also like the layout of this collection, with all haibun presented in the recto pages, and the verso pages blank.This layout gives the reader space and time to settle in with one haibun at time. With a variety of approaches and topics, it is clear that Of This World is not a collection of haibun “about me” but rather a collection that asks us to consider, ponder, reflect, and see things in a new light. It is a collection of narrator voices, positioning us to see the human condition, and allowing us to enter into each perspective. Her varyous narrators let us establish a relationship with each unique voice, and depending on the voice and topic, this allows us to construct our own imaginary closeness and distance. One of my favorite haibun is “Replacement Child,” which starts with the refrain, “If you are a replacement child, you are born to parents hoping to heal the loss of a child who died earlier” and ends with the haiku old photos / the dust / never settles. This is an outstanding collection of haibun worthy of study and imitation by those seeking to better understand this literary art.
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2iSwXA2
Amazon DE: http://amzn.to/2iT7PJx
Red Moon Press, USA: http://bit.ly/2jebbD7
searching for the key
My poem ‘refugee child’ (paper boat) on ‘Neverending Story: Butterfly Dream,’ the First English-Chinese Bilingual Haiku and Tanka Blog, today, translated into Chinese! Honoured and grateful to the editor Chen-ou Liu.
Please visit the site to read the comments: Butterfly Dream
fading of the portable conscience
In Bones: a Journal for Contemporary Haiku 2017, 13, p. 79
My monoku from New Resonance 10
it happens to the best of us ocean wave
featured in My Haiku Pond: ‘a peaceful community dedicated to the appreciation of English language haiku, haiku related Poetry and Art.’
Many thanks to My Haiku Pond editors Michael Smeer and Steve Smolak for featuring my work!
A New Resonance: Emerging Voices In English-Language Haiku, edited by Jim Kacian and Dee Evetts, now in its 10th edition
how blossom turns
my long way home
the knotted branch
in the shredder
Blithe Spirit, 2017, vol. 27:2
It’s been a few months since I shared the good news about New Resonance 10. Well, now it is out and I am in it!
Volume 10 of “A New Resonance 10: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku,” edited by Jim Kacian and Dee Evetts, a much-awarded series, is out and it includes my poems. along with those of 16 other contemporary poets!
It is truly an honour to be a part of this wonderful collection!
I received 25 copies of the anthology, and have several available to order.
Price per copy is $17, including shipping, as well as a postcard with a reproduction of a painting by Maria Pierides (www.mariapierides.co.uk). Please email me for your copy: stella (at)stellapierides.com
the many colours
Incense Dreams journal issue 1, May 2017, p.49
Weitmannsee, near Augsburg. Where clouds go to admire themselves
on earth as it is in heaven
Sad news. A week today, Florian passed away. Heart failure. He was only six years old. He had lived the first few years of his life outside, in a garden; then he came to us. I’d like to think his last years were good years. Loving, intelligent, cuddly, stoic, playful, good companion, good friend to Emile. He inspired several of my poems. Sorely missed, he is now buried in a sheltered spot in our garden.
Rest in Peace, Florian.
The EarthRise Rolling Collaborative Haiku 2017, the world’s longest poem, on the theme of Reconciliation, is now collated and ready to treasure! You can find it in The Haiku Foundation site by clicking here
Many, many wonderful haiku.
I copy below my own contributions to the poem:
a pressing need
and who would hear
the sound of the sea…
letting the wild garlic
a stork pair picking
revving up the engine
despite the rain
because of it
First appeared in Haibun Today Volume 11, Number 1, March 2017
folding and unfolding
his paper boat
First prize, Sharpening the Green Pencil, 2017
a pen and a feeding spoon –
the baby’s laughter
First appeared in Inner Voices, International Women’s Festival, 2017
The simulation hypothesis is not new. The idea that we are being held inside a complete, self-sustaining simulated biosphere, observed, and made to believe it is real has precedents in earlier times. Tweaking the basic idea here and there, we can trace it to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave: chained prisoners presented with mere shadows of the real world take them to be the real thing and refuse to believe otherwise. Plato sowed the seed of doubt in the world of experience. Can we ever go beyond the chains of our existence and into the light of the sun? And at what price? Is our existence woven with elements of both, sun and shadows, reason and fantasy, fact and fiction?
Millennia later, we are still wondering. But here, now, with the Church tower bell ringing the hours, sunlight throwing the olives on the table into relief, and grilled sardines scenting the air, the question whether this is the real world can wait.
the ebb and flow
KYSO Flash Issue 7: Spring 2017
Good to see my haiku travelling to new and exciting places, accompanying Maria Pierides’s forthcoming exhibitions of her paintings in a number of venues in South Wales.
Maria has printed selected haiku responding to her paintings on cards for all occasions and will be taking them to her exhibitions of her paintings.
If you happen to be in Wales, you may wish to visit the marvellous exhibition ‘Art at the Hall’, Temperance Hall, Llangathen, South Wales, from the 14 to 23 of April; or Maria’s excellent forthcoming solo show at King Street Gallery, Carmarthen, 27 October to 16 November 2017.
In addition to these exhibitions, Maria’s cards are available from King Street Gallery in Carmarthen or you can email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Delighted to learn that my poem “refugee child” received first prize in the Romanian contest “Sharpening the Green Pencil, 2017.”
Thank you to the judges, and especially Cezar Florin Ciobiza for his thoughtful commentary. And congrats to all participants!
folding and unfolding
his paper boat
A print book with all the poems entered is available from the contest organizers..
Please find the poem and commentary included in the (online) book of the contest, p. 13, here
What does it mean to wake up facing a fist pressing hard against your window?
How does one cope with such a threat, day in, day out?
The morning presses
its hot fist against the window:
the fight starts.
— Bart Mesotten, Haikoe-boek (self-published, 1986; translation by Max Verhart)
Pleased to share that my take on Bart Mesotten’s excellent poem is featured in this week’s re:Virals, The Haiku Foundation’s haiku commentary feature.
Take a look here
And try your hand at writing a commentary on the poem I chose (as this week’s winner) to be discussed next: LeRoy Gorman’s “the good soldier.”
A week ago, I mentioned in this blog a second paper, addressing the haiku community, Haiku and the Brain: an Exploratory Study, in Juxtapositions: The Journal of Haiku Research and Scholarship. Well, it is now online over at The Haiku Foundation. Do visit and check it out along with the other papers.
I am looking forward to reading the other contributions. And to receiving my own print copy of the Journal! Judging from the previous issues, it is a joy to hold and leaf through. And a collector’s item. You don’t want to miss it! More information on how to obtain a copy, see here
Meanwhile, here is the Abstract for this paper.
This paper presents the first results of an interdisciplinary project, bringing together haiku poets and neuro-/cognitive scientists, to investigate the reading of English-language haiku (ELH) as a potentially paradigmatic material for studying the reception of poetic texts. Our pilot study was based on the ‘eye-mind assumption’, that where and for how long we gaze at sections of text reflects processes of information harvesting for meaning construction. The results indicate that the interactive process between the poem and the reader gives rise to characteristic patterns of eye movements (saccades and fixations) across the text from which (i) the position of the cut (after line 1 vs. after line 2) and (ii) the type of haiku (context-action vs. juxtaposition) can be discerned. Finding (i) is of special importance: it provides evidence that the effect intended by the poet can indeed be traced in oculomotor behavior and that, thus, the cut is indeed a potent poetic/stylistic device with a specific effect in the reader. Moreover, readers’ recognition memory was found to be associated with more explicit, conscious-recollective experience of having read a particular haiku if the poem was self-rated to be understood. This suggests that the realization of the haiku’s ‘meaning gestalt’ in the reader’s mind, which may be associated with an ‘aha’ experience, is important for memory consolidation and remembering. Albeit tentative, these findings and conclusions open up interesting lines for future, interdisciplinary research.
Delighted to have two of my haiku: “juggling” and “hermit crab,” appear on Jennifer Hambrick‘s Inner Voices as part of the International Women’s Haiku Festival. And I love Jennifer’s commentary! Check it out here
Photo from the piece: Vanessa Pike-Russell/Creative Commons/Flickr
the Home visitors
letting go of
In Blithe Spirit, Journal of The British Haiku Society, vol. 27, n.1, Feb. 2017
The relationship between poetry and science has been a long-standing fascination of mine. I am happy to report that for the last couple of years I have been involved in a study spanning the two, using haiku to understand how the brain receives, analyses, and constructs meaning. The first exploratory study has been written up and discussed in 3 papers, one of which can be found in the Journal of Eye Movement Research here
Mueller, H., Geyer, T., Günther, F., Kacian, J., & Pierides, S. (2017). Reading English-Language Haiku: Processes of Meaning Construction Revealed by Eye Movements. Journal Of Eye Movement Research, 10(1). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.16910/10.1.4
This paper is the more detailed, scientifically oriented description of the exploratory study.
A more compact version of the same work, addressing the poetry community, is included in the forthcoming JUXTA 3.1: Pierides, S., Müller, H., Kacian, J., Günther, F., Geyer, T. (2017). Haiku and the brain: an exploratory study. Juxtapositions: A Journal of Haiku Research and Scholarship 3(1). Due out mid March 2017!
Out of This World
In the deepest of dark nights, the idea that we may be living in a computer simulation created by a higher intelligence appeals to me. I muse over the possibility that we may be simulated beings living in a ghost world without realising it!
What if the simulation hypothesis were true? What if we really lived in a version of Plato’s Cave: unable to see beyond the projections on the wall of our senses, we became captives of our perceptions. How would we ever be free? Would there be a way out? Even if a wise philosopher, daring scientist, or escaped prisoner were to tell us of the real world outside our cave generating the projections, we wouldn’t believe them.
Assuming there’d be some way out of the simulation, in those sleepless nights I think of possible glitches in the system, devise tests. This is my latest: try watching pools fill with rain, the noon slide towards evening, the inexhaustible torment of the sea: if you can bear their beauty, be well. If you can’t, you are sure to be out of this world.
revving up the engine
despite the rain
because of it
In Haibun Today Volume 11, Number 1, March 2017
returning to earth sunburnt
In right hand pointing winter haiku 2017
issue 107 low sky
Imagine your left hand is being made to feel a brief vibration and you’re being asked to estimate how long this vibration lasts. In one version of this scenario, you are holding a small ball in both hands; in another, your right hand is free. And in both versions, you see a safely suspended, potentially catchable ball moving towards you.
Would your estimate of the vibration duration be the same in both versions, or would it be different? Scientists tell us that we overestimate the duration of the vibration when our right hand is free.
Surprised? The scenario may sound unlikely, but all for a good reason: the investigation of the experience of tactile time. Perhaps unlike other bodily times, touch time appears as if time slowed. Your hand is free and ready to interact with the possibilities of a touchable object. The present moment gathers momentum: memories, anticipations, balance, co-ordination, visual cues… the time your father threw you a ball to catch, your sister’s expert throw, your playful nature entertaining the idea to catch the ball and surprise the scientists… Time slows for the possibilities; time slows with possibilities. The ‘touch’ body and the ‘touch’ mind ready themselves for the game.
a deer appears at the edge
of the woods
Bringing poetry and science together!
This haibun is from my new book Of This World (Red Moon Press, 2017) and appears on the LMU site MSense .
Of This World is also available @ Amazon Germany and the UK