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!
dust devils: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2016, edited by Jim Kacian & the Red Moon Editorial Staff is now out and available to purchase.
From their website:
The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku enters its third decade of gathering the finest haiku and related forms published around the world in English into a single book, the longest run of any book dedicated to ELH. dust devils includes 173 poems (haiku & senryu), 8 linked forms (haibun, renku, rengay and sequences), and 5 critical pieces on the reading, writing and study of the genre.
Honoured to be included!
Don’t delay, order it and enjoy!
Serendipity! On the day I was informed that my haibun Touching —inspired by a scientific project carried out at LMU university Munich — would be featured on the LMU website, I came across an article in the New Statesman discussing the close relationship between poetry and science!
OK, may be not so much serendipity, as I often check out writings about the relationship between poetry and science, and have even contributed to a couple of papers on precisely this matter. The papers are forthcoming, watch this space …
Each year around the 15th of January, Greek Dinner Around The World Day, I am reminded of The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus (624 – 546 BC), who is credited with the saying,
A sound mind in a sound body
How true! Research from many scientific disciplines has been confirming Thales’ saying ever since. Encouraging us to take up exercise of all sorts to keep the blood moving, arteries in good nick, and prevent harmful tangles from forming in the brain, scientists have gone out of their way to emphasise prevention. In this endeavour, the Mediterranean diet has been a major pillar, oiling the wheels of the temple to the mind!
In the context of this close relationship between physical exercise, bodily well-being, mental equilibrium, and the ability to enjoy life, you can imagine the enthusiasm with which I am taking part in this global event.
Admittedly, the main goal is wider: to celebrate Greek culture, Greek cuisine as it is known in every part of the globe, and promote the people, authors, chefs, travel and other businesses connected to Greece. Partners to this initiative host a dinner using Greek products and Greek dishes, share experiences and photos of their event, and tweet using the hashtags #GreekDinner, #GreekDinnerAroundTheWorld, and #EatGreek.
This year I took part by sharing a delicious Greek meal with friends and family. And books, of course. We met at an old favourite restaurant and I brought my latest book, Of This World (Red Moon Press, 2017) — a collection of haibun (prose with poetry) with several poems on Greek themes / settings — to the table.
The food was exceptionally good – the company excellent. The only problem was the usual problem: we all ate a little too much. Like every year, we were reminded that after a point, the amount of food, and drink, interfere with both body and mind! Once again we resolved to follow another Greek saying: the Aristotelian
Παν μέτρον άριστον, i.e., Everything in moderation
Many thanks to Keri Douglas for her tireless efforts in promoting this event.
και του χρονου
and if you are interested in a copy of my new book:
Red Moon Press (USA)
Stella Pierides has cultivated a terse, idiosyncratic style in her haibun that is instantly recognizable, and as a consequence is one of the shining lights of this burgeoning genre. Of This World certainly is, but it also takes us out of the world at large and into private spaces we feel privileged to witness. A unique and satisfying read.
I am grateful for the generous comments:
This is how it’s done! Stella Pierides — in a hushed voice — takes me through what it is to be human — and part of the human history from the roots of Western culture in Diogenes’ tub to the ‘modern’ human — with all the questions and doubts, the uncertainties that come from that.
— Johannes S. H. Bjerg, Writer
Of This World’s marvelous, emotionally resonant haibun are steeped in the grace of the garden, rooted in a physical reality so sensuous that you can smell the fragrance of baking bread, of olives and garlic, of lemon and magnolia blossoms — and yet they also spiral on the updraft of metaphor as poet Stella Pierides ‘put[s] our hearts in the shoes of the hummingbird.’
— Clare MacQueen, Editor-in-Chief, KYSO Flash
A treasure trove of language and image. Pierides walks through dark streets of history, through alleyways of memory – emerging in shiny, unexpected places. Compact, urgent and closely observant, these minute offerings will captivate readers of both poetry and short fiction. An enormously engaging collection.
— Michelle Elvy, Writer and Editor
Of This World
Size: 6″ x 9″
Binding: perfect softbound
Great news! A poem of mine, ‘typos’, has been selected to be included in “Dust Devils”, The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2017, now on its 20th year.
The Red Moon Anthology of English Language Haiku, published annually in February, is “a collection of the best haiku published in English around the world”. The poems are voted in by an editorial panel. It’s an honour to be included in this anthology.
My poem was first published in Right Hand Painting, issue 95, 2016.
Dust Devils will be published on February 1st by Red Moon Press. I can’t wait! Can you?
I am delighted to share that my work will be included in A New Resonance 10: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku, along with the work of 16 other wonderful poets.
A New Resonance is a much valued and award-winning series, sensitively appreciating each featured poet’s work. The New Resonance Poets community, numbering more than a hundred-fifty poets, is a virtual who’s who of English-language haiku poets. I am honoured to be included in this group.
Thank you to the editors Jim Kacian and Dee Evetts and also a big thank you to the New Resonance community for nominating me!
The book (by Red Moon Press) will be available in May 2017.
first frost distilling silence
Pleased to share that my monoku:
sleepless night formatting loneliness
is now in the Haiku Society of America anthology 2016, edited by David Grayson.
(First appeared in Bones – journal for contemporary haiku no. 9 March 15th 2016 p.22 and elsewhere).
Season’s Greetings and a Happy, Healthy, and Peaceful New Year!
the soprano’s perfect
In ‘Beginning’ the British Haiku Society Anthology 2016
Salting is one of the oldest methods of preserving food. Fish, meats, cheeses, cabbage, olives have been cured, brined, pickled to protect them from fungi, bacteria, and other harmful organisms, and thus keep them fresh for longer. Still, it comes as a surprise to read of one more entity to be preserved in salt: memory.
A project titled Memory of Mankind aims to preserve humankind’s most precious milestones by engraving them on special ceramic tablets, and then storing them in salt-lined vaults deep in the Austrian mountains. Small tokens engraved with a map pointing to the archive’s location, and other information helping our descendants decipher the tablets, will be strategically buried around the globe. And what will future generations find to define us? The article suggests sacred texts, treatises, classics, scientific articles, images of buildings, paintings, musical scores. And individual histories, family albums, recipes.
My list would include my daughters’ photos and paintings, multiple drafts of a haibun, favorite poems, a pin cushion and thimble, an amber komboloi, an oil lamp, a pot of basil; my grandmother’s piece of the Holy Cross, the sound of the sea . . ..
the same joke for
the umpteenth time
In Haibun Today Volume 10, Number 4, December 2016
At the top of the stairway snaking up the hill, a white-washed chapel and an olive tree. Blinding sunlight. Some way to go yet. The stony stairs are narrow, a couple of hands-width before the cliff falls steeply into the sea.
Slow down, there’s no hurry. Take a deep breath. Feel the rough warmth of the rock. The wind beating against it raises the fragrance of sage, of thyme and marjoram to the skies, erases the silence.
in the distance
Feel the salt on your lips, the urgent wind tussling your hair.
This history book under your arm, so well-thumbed, leave it here, against that rock, someone coming after you might linger, take a look.
pillars of salt—
propping her foot
on a stone
And the pebble from Amorgos you kept in your pocket all those years, add it to the cairn over there, where the path widens. Let it go. The trail is moments like this, following the light, teetering on the edge of your desires, of your sorrows.
That bench at the top, see it now, under the olive tree? This is your goal. You can rest there. Wise, gentle Persephone will hold your hand.
embalming my tongue
I rest in the shadow
of the silver-leaved olive
Time has a different texture in and about Greece. Sculptures solidifying the past appear at every corner, at every museum: looming, teasing, reminding. Accompanying us into the future. There’s no escaping the sculptures, the poets know it:
“… I woke with this marble head in my hands;
it exhausts my elbow and I don’t know where to put it down.”
Ritsos approaches the sculptures from different, mythical angles, turning the people and landscape into eternal presences:
“…Nowadays, we don’t think much
about Theseus, the Minotaur, Ariadne on the beach
at Naxos, staring out at the coming years.
But people still dance that dance: just common folk,
those criss-cross steps that no one had to teach,
at weddings and wakes, in bars or parks,
as if hope and heart could meet, as if they might
even now, somehow, dance themselves out of the dark.”
Ritsos, The Crane Dance
In The Path, honoring these roots, I try to present this aspect of my Greek inheritance. I fail, of course, but proud to be trying.
Painting “Golden Light, Port Isaac” by Maria Pierides
In Blue Fifth Review, Broadside #44 Fall 2016
the shower head splutters Perseids
Bones: journal for contemporary haiku XI, 2016
In Failed Haiku, issue 1.11, p.152
Nights at the Opera
long after the laughter
the prima donna throws
and the stars were shining
and what if
all the world’s a stage—
Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu, issue 1.11, p.152
crossing the road
for no reason
Failed Haiku, issue 1.11, p.152
Walking around Augsburg, I came across this intricate, mysterious scales: beautifully balanced, surrounded by watches, clocks, wall clocks, jewellery, it took me to another dimension. Waiting for my watch-strap to be changed, the words “on balance” came to mind, life as a balancing act, time weighing on all of us…
When I asked for permission to take a photo, the kind owners related the scales to the ancient Egyptian Goddess of Ma’at, responsible for weighing the souls of the departed against a feather. If the soul was found to be heavier than the feather, it was denied access to the underworld.
I left the shop lighter, and full of ideas.
washing his hands backstage
Presence #56, p.16, 2016
Excursions into the unknown: attempts at sci-fiku/sci-faiku
all wars fought
reaching for a cup
On a flying visit to the Tate Modern extension, I took this picture of the concrete walls of the underground Tanks that used to hold the oil in the building’s previous life as power station. I saw the oil marks on the concrete become tree rings, marking the age of the structure. The Tanks, kept in their rough state, turned into gallery spaces, now hold the present and enable the future. What a powerhouse of art!
to where olives
A tanka of mine on the theme ‘Portrait’ appears on issue 103 of Right Hand Pointing: short poetry, fiction & art since 2004 A.D.
And what an issue it is! Alive!
I will post my poem here too in a few days – but why wait, take a look (scroll down by clicking on the hand image for the next poem): http://www.righthandpointing.net/issue-103
seascape with horizon
of our walk…
Photo: Japanese Garden, in the Botanic Gardens Augsburg. It was the Gardens’ 80th Birthday recently, and there was a lovely and lively day long celebration last Sunday, the 11th of September. The whole city was there, including Yours truly.
Happy Birthday, Augsburg Botanic Gardens!
points of view—
as the sun moves across