Category Archives: Other Writers

‘Of This World’ receives HSA Merit Book honorable mention

The Haiku Society of America has announced the names of winners of its Merit Book Awards for books published in 2017.

I am delighted and honored to see my book Of This World (Red Moon Press) included with a honourable mention in the Haibun category! Congratulations to all winners!

And heartfelt thanks to Michelle Elvy, Jim Kacian, Clare MacQueen and Johannes S. H. Bjerg for their help and support with bringing this book to life.

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So, excellent news! It becomes  64/100 #The100DayProject #100daysnewthings

HSA Merit Books Award

Book Cover 3 61/100 #100daysnewthings

I accepted the challenge from Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy to post covers of 7 books that I have read! No explanation, no reviews, just the covers (just my own photo arrangement!). This is book cover for day 3 of the challenge.

after image,book cover,haiku,

Each time I post a cover I’m expected to ask 3 of my friends to take up the challenge as well. I know that this is a difficult request, as not every friend likes challenges, and even those who do, find it difficult to finish all challenges…so to make it easier for everyone, I’m suggesting here if a friend likes the idea to take it up, and tag me, so that I follow their book covers…

This photo is also 61/100 #The100DayProject #100daysnewthings

The BHS Haibun Awards Commentary in Blithe Spirit

In March  2018 I judged the British Haiku Society’s Haibun Contest (and announced it here in a brief post ). The contest was reinstated this year, and honouring two outstanding members of the Society, was named The Ken and Noragh Jones Haibun Award.

Following is the report of my choices and commentaries published in the Society’s Journal, Blithe Spirit, 28:2, May 2018.

A PDF of the British Haiku Society’s announcement of the awards (haiku, tanka, haibun sections) as well as winning entries can be found here, as well as in the Society’s Journal Blithe Spirit.

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In reinstating the Haibun Awards, the BHS continues to encourage both, the creation of new work and the exploration of the possibilities offered by the form as it develops over time.

It was a great privilege to read the 50 haibun in a range of styles and lengths submitted to the British Haiku Society’s Ken and Noragh Jones Haibun Contest 2017. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the work, and wish to thank the poets for their submissions and the Society for entrusting me with this task.

British Haiku SocietyThe BHS Ken and Noragh Jones Haibun Awards 2017

The winner is David Bingham (UK): Sleight of Mind
The runner up is Jean James (UK): The Visit

Winner: Sleight of Mind, by David Bingham, UK

Sleight of Mind refreshingly starts with placing the reader in the magician’s audience. Our minds’ eyes are glued to the shining light bulbs coming out of his mouth, his miraculously escaping from the straightjacket. The title, and the opening main clause, have warned us: this is a trick! Yet, in focusing on the ‘what,’ rather than the ‘how’ posed in the question, in a momentary suspension of disbelief, we fall for it, allowing the magic world centre stage.

How is it done? How does magic work, and how does the magic of haibun work to enable us to re-experience the writer’s epiphany and emotional truth? There is no answer here, only a question well put. Hopefully, there won’t be an answer anyway soon – though the poet, as well as we, know that there are perfectly ‘mundane explanations’ for the magician’s conjuring tricks and, to some extent, the haibuneer’s craft!

This is the haibun that kept me going back to read and re-read, finding new things as I followed its vertical axis. From the child-like awe (‘switching off the rational mind’) in the beginning of the prose, to nature brought in by the snowdrops in the haiku at the end, it leads the reader from illusion and mystery (the stage) to questioning and reflection (snowdrops and pondering what is) putting flesh on the bones of an old question about reality, perception and the mind. From associations to the Allegory of the Cave to reference (in the title) to wizardry as well as a neuroscience book on magic and perception, this brief haibun affords a variety of possible readings and stretches the reach of the form.

In having the narrator directly address the reader in short, sparse sentences the piece achieves immediacy, reinforcing the illusion of involvement. Weaving skilfully together the constituent elements of haibun (title, prose, haiku, content), it engages this reader on so many levels, and wins!

Runner up: The Visit, by Jean James, UK

The haiku at the beginning of the poem, through the ‘hare’s cry,’ warns us of painful content, getting the heart pounding. Yet in the prose the subject is handled delicately, drawing a picture of a family visiting the grandparents’ grave. The mother fetches water for the flowers she brought and is arranging in a jug, the children lark about, the father waits outside in the car. Then the children come across the grave of a baby, with violets in a jam jar under the inscription: ‘Mary Millicent, only a year in this world.’ The idyll is interrupted. Here lies the mystery of the poem. What happened, why? In the reader’s mind, the associations branch out: an unlived life, illness, suffering, poverty, the famine… From the individual to the social to the political dimension…

In the middle of what may be seen as a family idyll lies the dead baby, forever open to our interpretation. Yet life continues for the living. Hearing the crows’ caws, the children ‘come alive again’ and start cawing back. Life, learning and death in a nutshell.

I enjoyed the consistent voice of the child narrator in the prose, and the parallels in the poem: the beech and the violets, the hare’s cry and the soft murmur of voices, the bronze jug and the jam jar, the haiku in the beginning and the end – though the end haiku could have been stronger. I also liked the way the text, sandwiched between the haiku, moved the healing process between the beginning and end haiku: from the hare’s cry to the soft voices murmuring to each other, we glimpse a real family in its encounters with death as it becomes a fact of life, part of the life cycle.

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Honourable Mentions:

1. Games People Play, Gautam Nadkarni, India

Games People Play, by Gautam Nadkami, India, describes a childhood memory of playing cricket without knowing anything about the game. The haibun works well in a light-hearted, good-humoured way, with local children attempting to make sense of unfamiliar objects, cricket stumps, by inventing a use for them based on their environment: keeping cattle from straying onto the pitch. At the same time, the choice of game in this haibun, cricket, connects to colonial themes. The title too points to layers of meaning.

2. Fake News, by Marietta McGregor, Australia

Fake News, by Marietta McGregor, Australia, inserts a surprisingly modern take into the form, whisking the reader on a whirlwind journey of tracing how it all came to pass. The haiku at the end adds an interesting change of tone that helps contain the energy and drive in the prose. I liked the contrast between the ‘mechanical’ sounds in the beginning of the prose and the ‘ethereal’ song in the haiku at the end.

3. Last Autumn Apples, by Marietta McGregor, Australia

Last Autumn Apples, by Marietta McGregor, Australia, relates the story of a lonely ten-year old’s memories of living in a house on an apple orchard where her mother worked, their moving to the city and eventually hearing about the place years later. This haibun – about place, belonging, and loss – has a sensuous, cinematic quality to it. I enjoying reading the monoku in this piece: two monoku in the middle read as if dividing the prose into ‘chapters,’ while a third, at the end, punctuates the theme of a lost childhood.

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Book Cover 1 53/100 #100daysnewthings

I accepted the challenge from Shrikaanth K. Murthy to post covers of 7 books that I have read on Facebook! No explanation, no reviews, just the covers. Each time I post a cover I’ll ask 3 of my friends to take up the challenge as well.
This is my book cover for day 1.
I invited Angie WerrenPat Nelson and Marion Clarke to take up the challenge.
Thank you for nominating me Shrikaanth! I’ll be posting over the next few weeks.
And as I am still reading this book, it is also something ‘new’ to me, so: 53/100 #100daysnewthings and #the100dayproject.
#books #amreading

book cover,brush,

In ‘Echoes 2’ 37/100 #100daysnewthings

Grateful to be included in ‘Echoes 2,’ the yearbook of the New Resonance Community and its 170 poets, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the New Resonance series!

37/100 #The100DayProject #100daysnewthings

Echoes 2, Stella Pierides,

You can read the whole PDF in The Haiku Foundation Digital Library   

or you may wish to order print copies of the book (for $8 a copy) from createspace

Enjoy!

 

‘Last Stop Before Salvation’ 33/100 #100daysnewthings

Today I came across a beautiful meditation on death and dying: Debiprasad Mukherjee & Gabriel Rosenstock’s lyrical and soulful collaboration: Last Stop Before Salvation
This is how their work is presented by the Culturium:

In this week’s guest post for The Culturium, Debiprasad offers us a window on the private world of those in the final days of their life ensconced in a hospice on the banks of the Ganges river. Coupled with Gabriel’s beautiful haiku, their collaborative offering is a moving and deeply profound meditation on the soul’s journey from this life to the next.

death, Ganghes,
Debiprasad Mukherjee, Last Stop Before Salvation – The Culturium

33/100 #The100DayProject #100daysnewthings

 

The British Haiku Society Awards 2017

Congratulations to the winners! The results of the British Haiku Society Awards 2017 are out!

British Haiku Society

I am honoured to have been asked to serve as a judge in the ‘Ken and Noragh Jones Haibun Awards.’ And very much enjoyed reading all the wonderful  entries.

The results and reports by all sections’ judges  can be viewed at the Society’s website (for haibun, please scroll down), and will also be published in Blithe Spirit, the Society’s Journal.

A big thank you to the Society for entrusting me with this task, and to all those who sent in their entries.

In ‘old song’ The Red Moon Anthology of ELH 2017

Honoured to be included in ‘old song,’ The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2017, edited by Jim Kacian and the Red Moon Press Editorial Staff:

old song, red moon anthology,The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku assembles each year the finest haiku and related forms published around the world in English into a single book. old song, the twenty-second volume in the most honored series in the history of English-Language haiku, includes 151 poems (haiku & senryu), 17 linked forms (haibun, renku, rengay and sequences), and 5 critical pieces on the reading, writing and study of the genre.

refugee child—
folding and unfolding
his paper boat

p.54

(This poem had received First Prize in the Sharpening The Green Pencil Haiku Contest 2017)

International Women’s Haiku Festival 2018

Delighted to have two poems featured on Jennifer Hambrick’s  blog Inner Voices, for a second year hosting the International Women’s Haiku Festival 2018! This is how Jennifer introduces them in her blog:

Two laser-sharp senryu by poet Stella Pierides explore women’s age dynamics and the eternal question of women’s dress and sexuality.

dressed to kill
she asks
if I’m retired

Jennifer says:

Well. Why not just ask about her final wishes? The picture is this senryu is crystal clear: a younger woman, in full heat of professional and/or personal ambition and wearing the clothes to prove it, asks the poetic speaker, whom I read to be an older woman, if she’s retired – read: no longer competition, no longer someone to be concerned with. To be charitable, maybe it’s just an observation: the older woman looks older, looks perhaps comfortable in her own skin, and the younger woman just doesn’t get a) that retired doesn’t equal out to pasture, and b) that remarking, even obliquely, on someone’s age is at best insensitive. And what if the poetic speaker actually is retired? Picasso said it best: “It takes a very long time to become young.”

International Haiku Women's Festivaland:

 

knee-length skirt
the extent
of her rebellion

.

Jennifer writes:

This little senryu is situated perfectly between the rock and the hard place that, eventually, every woman encounters. Look sexy, be sexy, the world instructs. But not too sexy. In this poem, rebellion against the social expectations that a girl or woman be prim and proper results in a shorter skirt. But rebellion against social expectations doesn’t necessarily eliminate the expectations. There is potentially a price to pay – the demise of one’s reputation – for breaking the rules, hence the “extent of her rebellion” is defined by the knees. It could be fear from social pressure that keeps everything north of the knees covered, or it could just be the poem subject’s authentic assessment of her own comfort.

Many thanks to Jennifer Hambrick for including my poems!

I am very much looking forward to reading and enjoying the rest of the month’s contributions with Jennifer’s insightful commentaries.

The British Haiku Society Awards 2017

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.

In ‘New Resonance 10’

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

EarthRise Rolling Collaborative Haiku 2017

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:
melting snow…
a pressing need
to confess
.
and who would hear
the sound of the sea…
reed ears
.
Passion Week—
letting the wild garlic
grow
.
daily grind
a stork pair picking
worms
.
revving up the engine
despite the rain
because of it
.
First appeared in Haibun Today Volume 11, Number 1, March 2017
.
refugee child–
folding and unfolding
his paper boat
.
First prize, Sharpening the Green Pencil, 2017
.
juggling
a pen and a feeding spoon –
the baby’s laughter
.
First appeared in Inner Voices, International Women’s Festival, 2017

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“refugee child” wins prize!

Delighted to learn that my poem “refugee child” received first prize in the Romanian contest “Sharpening the Green Pencil, 2017.”

sharpening the green pencil,contest,Romania,

Thank you to the judges, and especially Cezar Florin Ciobiza for his thoughtful commentary. And congrats to all participants!

refugee child–

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

Fight on! (in re:Virals 80)

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.”

“Haiku and the Brain” in Juxtapositions

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.

Juxtapositions
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.

‘dust devils’

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.

dust devils,haiku,anthology,
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!

 

Revisiting re:Virals 49

Here is my contribution to re:Virals 49 (re:Virals is the weekly haiku commentary over at The Haiku Foundation).

Robert Mainone’s poem originally published in Modern Haiku 40.3 (2009)

my haplogroup
shows the sponge gene —
distant lightning

was featured and commented upon by a number of poets, yours truly included. Take a look here for the whole post.
Here I reproduce my own contribution, with a couple of minor clarifications/amendments.
Haplogroup, I understand, is the term, in genetics, describing the exact common ancestry of a group of humans, the genetic family tree down to its roots. In this poem’s case, the sponge.

At first, identifying with the narrator, I felt hurt to be classified as a sponge; then I reconsidered. After all, I’d read that sponges share a remarkable amount of genetic material with humans — so not to be taken personally. But did I want to be reminded on a Sunday morning, over coffee, that I have a lot in common with sponges?

It is of course science that gives me this information. Is science the bringer of uncomfortable news? Is it the culprit that clips the angel’s wings (Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings,/ Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,/; Poe, “To Science”)? Or am I shooting the messenger? After all, Dawkins and others before him have argued that, rather than “Unweaving the Rainbow”, science reveals the worlds’s hidden beauty.

But here, in this context, it is the poet who reminds me of my humble beginnings. Of course, to their credit, sponges thrived for over 600 million years while I have struggled with fewer than 100. And recent research uncovered clues pointing to sponges descending from a more advanced ancestor than previously thought.

Still, how far am I reducible to bits of genetic information translated into proteins, labellable, traceable, ultimately replaceable? A mere cog in the cosmic machine? I, Stella, poet, writer, and sponge.

Be that as it may, what I find interesting, and welcome, is that the poet feels at ease with bringing a scientific fact into the poem. After all, objective scientific facts are as much part of our world as subjective experiences.

In earlier centuries (as far back as the ancient Greek thinkers), it had been common practice for poets to describe scientific discoveries in their poems; poets popularised scientific ideas – think of Charles Darwin’s theories on evolution and how they resonated with many poets and novelists – and scientists popularised poetry. In the nineteenth century, Dickens, and others, went further than mutual facilitation, exploring poetically, for instance, ideas of energy conservation and dissipation (cf. Barri J. Gold, “ThermoPoetics”). Literature and science have been inspiring and influencing each other in Victorian times, before, and since, as well as competing for access to truth.

In this poem, Robert Mainone’s narrator sounds both surprised and humbled at being reminded that he, we, are all branches of the same evolutionary tree, part of the same cosmos. The penny drops. The distant comes closer and light is thrown on the matter — aha! How humbling! How reassuring! We are all one.

re:Virals 49

A haiku is worth a thousand words: paraphrasing this well-known English idiom, I wish to point to this week’s re:Virals, the weekly haiku commentary over at The Haiku Foundation.
Robert Mainone’s poem

my haplogroup
shows the sponge gene —
distant lightning

(Modern Haiku 40.3, 2009)

was featured on re:Virals 49 and commented upon by a number of poets, yours truly included. So interesting to see how much is packed in this haiku! Take a look here

Machine Phenomena and Light Bulbs

A few years ago, in a paper titled ‘Machine Phenomena’, I explored situations in which the metaphor of the machine is understood and used concretely to express positive or negative, idealised or denigrated experiences — ranging from, for example, the use of innocuous expressions like ‘I need to charge my batteries’ to experiencing being controlled by an influencing machine. This article became a chapter in the book ‘Even Paranoids Have Enemies: New Perspectives on Paranoia and Persecution’  (ed. Berke, Pierides, Sabbadini, Schneider), published in 1998 initially by what was then Routledge.
even paranoids have enemies,machine phenomena,Since then, from time to time, I check whether, and where the concept of ‘machine phenomena’ is being used and to what effect. So it was with pleasure I came across an interesting article, by Grace Halden, titled ‘Incandescent: Light Bulbs and Conspiracies’, in Dandelion: postgraduate arts journal and research network, v.5, no 2, Spring 2015.

In my reading, Grace Halden (2015) illustrates how light, in the form of a lightbulb, became what can be seen as a machine phenomenon (Pierides, 1998), becoming entrenched in concrete fantasies of benevolence and evil. She points out

through examining general technology (such as machines), anxieties surrounding ‘modification, transformation and replacement’ emerge despite the technology being traditionally associated with protection and assistance.

Halden uses the texts of The Light Bulb Conspiracy (2010), The X-Files (1993-2002), and Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) to explore how this innocuous, commonplace object, with an enormous beneficial impact in the modern world,

has been used to symbolise the malevolence of individuals and groups, and the very essence of technological development itself.

Interesting stuff. Check it out!

What a Day! International Haiku Poetry Day 2016

April 17, International Haiku Poetry Day, IHPD for short, is the day of celebration of all things haiku.  The Haiku Foundation encourages public events on local, national and global levels, including readings, exhibitions, excursions, collaborative projects and competitions. Since 2015, the event is listed in the World Kigo Database,  a great source of advice and information. (see Kigo Calendar).

pottery,jug, While waiting for next April 17 to come round, don’t miss the opportunity to watch the wonderful haiku films that were presented at this year’s HaikuLife, the Foundation’s Film Festival 2016.   And scroll through the longest haiku collaborative poem, EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2016. This year, in acknowledgement of the United Nations Year of Pulses, the theme of the project was Foodcrop Haiku.

Here are my own offerings to EarthRise:

earthquake
the seed in the child’s
open palm
.
picking over lentils—
quiet
of the evening hour
.
mice-nibbled sack—
edging closer to
the real
.
at the back
of the late night bus
whiff of wild garlic
.
all seeds accounted for dawn chorus

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The Haiku Foundation re:Virals 31 and my Commentary

This week, a terrific haiku by Melissa Allen was up for discussion at The Haiku Foundation  re:Virals. Interesting commentaries looking at the poem from different perspectives. You can read the whole post with the poem and all the commentaries  here. I am pleased to say mine was this week’s winner. I copy it below:
.
Melissa’s poem:

radiation leak moonlight on the fuel rods

          — Melissa Allen, Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (2013)

And my take:

In current usage, the word leak refers to a variety of situations: from leaking a document and bringing into the light a secret, to taking a leak, to a wasteful dripping of water, to seepage of radiation. This poem, with its radiation leak, immediately opens up a danger zone. Step in at your peril into an image that gives rise to paralyzing fears, to the dead zones of Chernobyl, Fukushima; to the forbidden zones. Anything could happen here.

From a leak to a fireball, from the atom to the apocalyptic mushroom cloud, you could be walking into a minefield of the results of unbridled ambition and unscrupulous greed, a Faustian deal . . . Whether the leak is from a technological or scientific project, where man sees himself tirelessly bent on expanding knowledge and power over nature, finding solutions to the human problems of illness, poverty, and environmental degradation; whether hubris or dedication to the common good, here is a consequence: the spewing of poisonous material, the fall into a dark, man-made Hell.

But now the poet brings moonlight on the scene. Like a benevolent, all-seeing Eye of God, moonlight bathes the fuel rods in light we associate with understanding, with cool logic, in forgiveness. I am reminded of the Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos’ Moonlight Sonata, where moonlight hides smaller-scale follies such as showing white hair as golden, at the same time relentlessly intensifying shadows. In Allen’s poem too, moonlight is both kind and cooling, as well as relentless and permanent, not allowing the fuel rods to hide in the shadows. An image burned into the mind.

Note that the fuel rods are not spent. The young man in Ritsos’ poem too, is present all through the poem, at the end leaving full of energy, bursting into laughter as he walks away. Life continues in its boundless energy, in its perpetual flow, beyond leaks, beyond the night, beyond our human follies, beyond life itself.

 

‘typos’ in RHP 95

typos
in the book of the dead—-
water lilies

In Right Hand Pointing 95, the special, and wonderful, Haiku issue  guest-edited by Eric Burke

RHP, Right Hand Pointing Interesting introduction by Dale Wisely, founder and editor of RHP, who refused to include haiku in the journal for twelve whole years! Well, at long last, Dale!

Read Dale Wisely’s introduction here

‘Dear Yannis’ in poetsonline.org

Dear Yannis

In our hands, you said, we hold
the shadow of our hands. I know
the cold absence of the marbles,
olives sprouting from the cracks.

The coffee grinder turns
slowly, gently. The moon
still kind, bathes our wrinkled
hearts in light. In silver. In sorrow.

Old souls sitting by the river
listening to the boat engine
starting, coughing, spitting,
dying. Starting again.

(to Yiannis Ritsos, in response to his poem “Absence”)
.
Poem written to the poetsonline prompt: Dear Poet: Epistles to the Poets. For the other poems on the poetsonline.org blog, please see Archive, ‘Dear Poet’ on their site.

Please note English spelling of the original Greek name varies (Yiannis [e.g. Wikipedia], Yannis [e.g. Poetry Foundation]). Wikipedia lists a number of variants: ‘Yannis or Yiannis or Giannis (Γιάννης) is a common Greek name, a variant of John (Hebrew) meaning “God is generous.” Variants include Ioannis (Ιωάννης), YanniIannisYannakis; and the rare “Yannos”, usually found in the Peloponnese and Cyprus.’

Reading and Haibun ‘Shoes’

I enjoyed my reading last night, jointly with other writers, at the Open Reading for Writers event, Munich Readery. Many thanks to the writers for the company, camaraderie, their insightful comments and discussion; and special thanks to Lisa Yarger for so wonderfully, and calmly, hosting the event. I read eight haibun, all work in progress. Here is one of them:

Migrant ship sinking

 

Shoes

With warmer days, newspapers are filling with news of migrant boats from Africa and the Middle East increasing in their numbers, sinking in droves. Hundreds of deaths each week.

We poets, who put our hearts in the shoes of the hummingbird and the beggar poet, the little frog and the mighty spring thunder, the cat and the star-studded sky, are confronted with a reality hard to fathom. I find myself at a loss for words. Reading about other people’s misfortunes, of their fleeing deserts, war, of their placing their lives and their childrens’ lives in the hands of fate, of their washing up on European shores lifeless, I stop writing.

My mind fills with questions: did they leave books behind? A favourite thimble, a tin soldier, a straw dolly? A mug they liked to drink from, a shady spot they loved to sit in, an icon they lit candles in front of? A carpet they knelt to pray on? Did they leave behind many beliefs, nourishing relationships, did they lose their innocence before or during the journey? What happened to their shoes?

snowmelt
wall cracks filling
with shadows
.

Image found in Mashable: Migrant Ship Sinking. Photo: Michalis Loizos, Associated Press
See an interesting article on The Migrant Crisis on Greece’s Islands in The New Yorker

International Haiku Poetry Day 2015

In 2015, The Haiku Foundation celebrates haiku on a global scale, encompassing the work and achievements of haiku poets from around the world. From this year on, International Haiku Poetry Day (IHPD), replacing the THF’s National Haiku Poetry Day, becomes the biggest celebration of haiku poetry word wide. On April 17 each year, haiku poets, haiku poetry fans, and organisations will be getting together under the auspices of the THF in order to honour the depth, reach, creativity, and joy of the genre we have come to love.

For this year, the Foundation has organised a series of events, from local haiku readings and celebrations, over HaikuLife, a FilmFest showcasing work submitted by individuals and organisations, to EarthRise, a rolling collaborative poem.

On April 17th, 2015, from 12:01 A.M. at the International Date Line, a wave of haiku contributions begins and rolls throughout the day, with poets offering their haiku at dawn their local time. The finished collaboration, on the theme of Light, will be permanently archived on the THF site.

I am very much looking forward to the day, and the many exciting contributions from poets around the globe. I will be setting my alarm, and posting my own haiku to the inaugural EarthRise.

I am also delighted that the FilmFest, HaikuLife, features a short film of my haiku together with paintings by Alfred Wallis (from the excellent Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge, collection). I created this film with the (much appreciated) support of Rob Ward, After-Effects Artist and Animator. Besides my presentation, there are at least 12 other contributions by haiku poets and organisations, amounting to almost 90 minutes of film.

I hope you will be able to join in the fun on IHPD.

For times, url, and other information about HaikuLife and EarthRise, as well as the local (to the US) readings, please visit the Troutswirl blog at The Haiku Foundation site.

Update April17, 2015

Happy International Haiku Poetry Day, folks! Contribute your poems to EarthRise, watch the HaikuLife films, go to the readings, enjoy the day!

My short film, Haiku Journey, is shown today — together with a number of other films — and will be permanently archived on the Haiku Foundation site. Please see here

For an introduction to the Foundation HaikuLife project, and the list of all projects shown, please click