On its 50th anniversary, the Museum received a gift towards establishing a Collection of Lost Words. The three curators entrusted with this project, feeling an overwhelming sense of responsibility and apprehension, set about their work immediately. At their first meeting, the youngest of the three suggested they might place an ad in the national press, or even tweet about it asking for submissions. The oldest suggested they go on a retreat together with hand-picked etymologists, philosophers, and linguists, in other words experts, to brain-storm. The woman on the team suggested they search online catalogues for words no longer in use. Words written on tablets and papyri, words from extinct languages. For weeks they discussed the relationship between words and the worlds they described; words and the worlds they gave rise to. Forbidden words, or overused words that lost their meaning. As a result of intense deliberations, a special linguistic search engine was built capable of scouring for lost words. It didn’t take long for results to start coming in. The first word to be returned was ‘love’.
last year’s seedling
yet to sprout
Frogpond 40:3, p.63, 2017
small mercies of
the quiet life
My entry to the EUROPEAN QUARTERLY KUKAI #20 – Winter 2017 Edition received 9 pts.
Congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to the organizers!
Happy New Year 2018 everyone!
squares with circles –
listening to the colours
After the painting Color Study. Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913, by Wassily Kandinsky.
Poem appears on p. 51 of Ekphrasis, The British Haiku Society Members’ Anthology 2017.
One of Kandinsky’s favourite descriptions of his work had been ‘making the colours sing.’ It is said that Kandinsky’s synesthesia — a condition in which one sense such as vision, triggers another, for instance, hearing — allowed him to hear the colours he worked with and . . . make them sing. In this poem, I admit hearing them!
Photo: copied from FB image posted by Shrikaanth Murthy.
I feel the pumpkin
for soft spots
the process of becoming
besides poetry the weight of the now
In Blithe Spirit, vol 27, no 4
The handwritten letter is long, the paper creased, stained. The stamps on the envelope, though, are glued perfectly straight, indicating help with the posting. It takes me time to decipher the spidery handwriting infested with blank spaces, as if the sender had taken breaks in between. I stumble repeatedly, especially after the first couple of sentences, when the handwriting grows smaller.
What are you trying to say, I want to ask him. Why didn’t you phone me? I reach for the phone, then stop myself. He wanted me to read this letter. I take off my glasses and bring the paper close to my face. I see better now, and I can smell the paper. A sweet fragrance mixed with acetone.
at the hospice . . .
Once a year, The Haiku Foundation asks for our help to meet the financial challenges it faces to continue its work. It does so during the period from Thanksgiving through St. Nicholas Day, the time set aside by many to think about our blessings and give thanks. Each day between the 23rd of November and the 6th of December, a blog post on the Foundation site highlights one of its many features, presents a video, offers a sale item from the Gift Shop, and more!
Do visit the blog every day, find out what the Foundation offers, what the people involved with it do, celebrate the offerings, and help in whatever way you can to support the Foundation continue to promote the cause of haiku.
Looking back on 2017 I am very pleased with these two books: ‘Of This World: 48 Haibun’ (Red Moon Press, 2017), and ‘Ekphrasis: Between Image and Word’ in collaboration with Maria Pierides (Fruit Dove Press, 2017).
If you have liked any of the books please think of adding a review or a few stars on Amazon.
If you haven’t read them and you’d like to purchase a copy, please contact me via the contact form here, or Fruit Dove Press for ‘Ekphrasis’.
For copies ‘Of This World’: Amazon UK
USA: Red Moon Press
the last leaf now
on top of the pile
In NaHaiWriMo anthology Jumble Box (ed. Michael Dylan Welch, artwork Ron C. Moss, Press Here, 2017)
Thank you all for coming to the private view of ‘Ekphrasis: Between Image and Word,’ an exciting show of new paintings by Maria Pierides, with a response to each of those paintings with haiku by yours truly! We were delighted and grateful for your warm and appreciative presence at the show’s launch.
(Photos from the King Street Gallery Facebook post)
The exhibition runs in the Chate Room, King Street Gallery, Carmarthen for your viewing pleasure until 15th Nov – don’t miss it! Copies of the exhibition book, postcards, and of course, paintings, are available for purchase from the Gallery, and from email@example.com
her pearl earring–
memories of that moment
the fullness of the world
and its emptiness
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
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