Category Archives: Short stories

‘Out of This World’ in Haibun Today

Out of This World

Haibun Today

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

‘Touching’ bringing poetry & science together

Touching

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.

Of This WorldSurprised? 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.

infinity
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

‘Touching’

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!

Take a look: the haibun Touching, included in my new book Of This World (Red Moon Press, 2017), at the LMU here and here and the New Statesman article here

LMU, MSense lab,psychology,

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 …

‘Of This World,’ just released by Red Moon Press!

Delighted to announce that Red Moon Press just released my haibun collection, Of This World

Of This World

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.

 

Red Moon Press
Amazon Europe
Amazon UK

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
ISBN: 978-1-936848-80-5
Pages: 124
Size: 6″ x 9″
Binding: perfect softbound

‘Being Remembered’ in Haibun Today

Being Remembered

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 . . ..

family supper
the same joke for
the umpteenth time

.

In Haibun Today Volume 10, Number 4, December 2016

Memory of Mankind website

 

 

 

 

The Path

The Path

Painting,The Path,haibun,Maria Pierides,haiku,Port Isaac,Amorgos,

 

 

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.

marble wings—
in the distance
windmill ruins

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

Author’s commentary:

stella-pieridesHaving left Greece in my youth, I keep returning to it in my writing, visiting and revisiting the landmarks and landscapes of the country.

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.”

Seferis, Mythistorema 

and

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

KYSO Flash Anthology of Haibun and Tanka Forms 2015

Clare MacQueen just announced the publication of the KYSO Flash Anthology, featuring prize-winning haibun and tanka. My own haibun “Time,” which received an Honorable Mention (in November 2015), is included.

KYSO Flash 2015

This is how KYSO Flash describes the release:

We’re pleased to announce the release of a little book with a mouthful of a name: the KYSO Flash Anthology of Haibun and Tanka Forms 2015. Contributor copies are now on their way to folks.

This is an international collection of 25 poetic hybrid works by 14 authors (plus images by three artists). Works were judged by Roberta Beary, award-winning poet and haibun editor of Modern Haiku, for the first annual KYSO Flash “Best Of” contest. Cash prizes were awarded to seven artists for First, Second, and Third Place, and Honorable Mentions. The judge also selected 19 finalists to appear in this anthology.

The book is available from Amazon.com

‘Intertextuality’ in Sonic Boom 4

Pleased to see my ‘Intertextuality,’ a haibun diptych, in issue 4 of Sonic Boom, published under ‘Fiction.’

Issue 4, is an anniversary issue. Happy Birthday to Sonic Boom, many happy returns!

Intertexuality
(a diptych)
I
A reader asks for help with a patch of garlic plants forgotten and left to overgrow in their garden. Well, I say, dear reader, we are caught between a rock and a hard place. Garlic doesn’t like to be transplanted. And this text is not the right place to ask, or answer such a question. But I can’t resist. It is spring, after all, and I am stuck for ideas. So, to your garlic clump: Let it be. Let it grow, and when it is ripe and ready, when the tips of the green shoots start to brown, dig the plants out. They will be pungent, crisp, and juicy, the plant oils moistening your tongue. Then plant a few individual cloves for next year’s crop. Enjoy the rest.

writer’s block
the school of life
full of lessons

II

Spelt flour, baking powder, butter, milk, and salt. Mix, pat down, shape into rolls, and bake. Serve with olive oil, and garlic from another haibun to dip the bread into. Enjoy!

a frog jumps in—
intertextuality
for beginners

diptych, haibun,

“Time” receives Hon. Mention in the “Best of Haibun and Tanka Forms” 2015, for the KF Anthology

I must be on a roll! Delighted to learn that my haibun “Time” received third honourable mention in the “Best of Haibun and Tanka Forms” 2015, for the KYSO Flash Anthology due out in December 2015.

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 findTimehere

Taubenfüttern at the 56. Münchner Bücherschau (19. November – 6. Dezember 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.
Taubenfuettern,Feeding the Doves,book,haibun,short stories,
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).

Amazon.de: http://amzn.to/1WaqAWO

‘Reporting back’

Reporting back

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!

in tune
echoes from the island belfry
reach the mainland

‘Time’ in KYSO Flash

Whenever I thought of the ravages time would inflict on me, I thought of wrinkles. I imagined myself slightly plump, with a few strategically placed wrinkles and a very respectable grey sheen in my hair. I also considered liver spots, imagining myself smiling benevolently behind a seemingly sun-blessed veil of freckles. Now that I’ve reached a point when time weighs on me… let’s say, there have been surprises, indiscretions, indignities. Take the slight pearl that sometimes appears and glistens on the side of my mouth.

honeydew
a blush spreads over the edge
of the precipice
.
In KYSO Flash, May 2015

‘Loving’ in KYSO Flash

In her long life she owned six cats, each living at least ten years. As a child, she was afraid of her first cat, a street-wise tabby. Then she loved chasing her around the house, transferring her fear to the cat. As a teen, she helped a boyfriend taunt the poor thing. She ignored, tripped over, kicked, or spoiled subsequent cats, depending on her phase of life and her mood. Now resting in her recliner, she caresses and speaks to her latest, and only, companion, an ageing, placid ginger, with a gentleness she hasn’t known before.

pear blossom
the lifelong practice of
learning to love

.

KYSO Flash 3, May 2015

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

It’s over! The Muenchner Buecherschau 2014 is now closed.

Well, the Munich Buecherschau 2014 is now closed. I am very happy I took part and would like to thank the readers who visited, wrote, commented on the books, and wished me well. Not forgetting those who bought my books! A big thank you!

Did you miss this year’s Buecherschau? Don’t worry. It is on again next year. Same time, same place; same procedure!

Several people have commented on the lovely painting on the cover of my new book of short stories, The Heart and Its Reasons. It is from a painting by Maria Pierides: “Port Isaac: Golden Light.” Maria is a great artist. I am really greatful to her for allowing me to use this painting for my cover. You can make out the heart arteries in the image, as well as the blues of the Aegean sea.

For more details about The Heart and Its Reasons, where to get a copy, and for reviews and articles, please see here

If you like the book please consider leaving a review on Goodreads, or Amazon. Or even if you don’t like it, say so. Please say so on GoodreadsAmazon.co.uk, or Amazon.de. It will be very much appreciated.

Thank you for your interest in my work.

At the Muenchner Buecherschau (pics)

Münchner Bücherschau 2014,Sharing photos from the evening before the opening of the Muenchner Buecherschau 2014. Delighted to be taking part this year. Can you spot my books? (Tip: Look for the colour blue on the covers!)

Münchner Bücherschau 2014,Gasteig,The Heart and Its Reasons,In the Garden of Absence (Fruit Dove Press, 2012)

Feeding the Doves (Fruit Dove Press, 2013)

The Heart and Its Reasons (Fruit Dove Press, 2014).

Münchner Bücherschau 2014,Gasteig,

I’ll be taking more pics in the next few days, hopefully with people in them, so watch this space…

 

Congratulations to the three ‘giveaway’ winners

The Goodreads giveaway is now closed. Goodreads has announced the three lucky winners of three free, signed copies of my new book: The Heart and Its Reasons (Fruit Dove Press, 2014). I’m happy to say that the winners include two readers from the United States and one from Latvia. Congratulations to the three lucky winners. And many thanks to the 1102 readers who entered the giveaway for a copy of the book.

The names of the three winners can be seen by clicking here

But don’t worry if you missed out! I’ll be holding another Goodreads giveaway in the near future. Several autographed copies will be up to be won.

On the other hand, why wait? You can visit Amazon.de or Amazon.co.uk and place an order for your copy right now!

Enter to Win!

book cover,The Heart and Its reasons, Exciting news! I’ve listed my new book The Heart and Its Reasons in the Goodreads Book Giveaways programme! There are 3 copies (print) available. Giveaway dates for entering: Oct 23-Nov 18, 2014.

This is how it works: Find the book in Goodreads here. Scroll down the page, and click the enter to win button there. Goodreads will do the rest! After the 18th of November they will notify me the list of winners and I will post the books directly to the lucky three!

Good luck to all who enter!

The Heart and Its Reasons

 The Heart and Its Reasons  — 

Available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de

Steering a path around islands of the past and the present, mythology and history, locals and expatriates, refugees and emigrants, loneliness and aloneness, the fragrance of herbs and the stink of prejudices, the stories in this book traverse the multifarious landscapes of the heart. Setting course by Greece – a country filled with the light and darkness of its past, with wounds still oozing from its wars – the stories explore a space that is both familiar, unfamiliar, and uncannily universal: the haunted, multilayered, enticing, and bewitching chambers of the heart. The sutures keeping it together are pride and longing: for mother, for father, for home; for recognition, for acceptance, for love, for truth; for a better world.

From the Back Cover

“Pierides reads and renders our soul with the spectacular clarity of the Greek classics and the depth of the world’s greatest introspective writers. Masterfully portrayed characters, whether they find themselves at crossroads or in seemingly everyday situations, wrestle the often Procrustean tendencies of time, traditions, and heartaches, to ultimately glimpse surprising answers to riddles old and new. These eloquent, hypnotic stories translate the experience of Greek expatriates, contemporary hermits, war veterans, daughters, mothers, and many others, into the universal language of a perpetually searching, truth-thirsty humanity. At once actual and mythic, they blend individual memory and the memory of history, to generate a distinct portrait of the European spirit…”

—Mia Avramut, writer, Essen, Germany

*

“Wistful and bittersweet: a collection of engaging stories. Stella Pierides does not shy away from depicting suffering and loss, but a distinctive feature of her work is how she shows her clearly-drawn characters gradually making sense of even the most chaotic of lives. She calls upon her Greek heritage and pan-European outlook to tackle themes of youth and age, the burdens of history, and the irrepressibility of hope.”

Katie Low, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

.

Available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de

Cover painting: ‘Port Isaac: Golden Light’ by Maria Pierides
.
Fruit Dove Press / http://www.fruitdovepress.com
Email: admin@fruitdovepress.com
.
Perfect softbound / 104 pages, 90gm cream interior paper / Full-color laminated cover / 129 mm x 198 mm trim size / ISBN: 978-3-944155-04-3

Feeding the Doves

Feeding the Doves: 31 short and very short stories, and haibun
Available through Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de and Kindle
Patty Apostolides on Amazon.com:

“Lyrical and Concise”: “…well written and full of beautiful, touching, and sometimes haunting, melodic stories.”

Read the review by author of Greek Novels Patty Apostolides here 
*
Dr. Joseph Berke on Amazon.co.uk:

“Feedings the Doves = feeding the soul”: “This is a wonderful, evocative book, rich in imagery…”

The review by author and psychotherapist  Dr. Joseph Berke on Amazon.co.uk
*
Katie Low in Sabotage Reviews:

“…characters recall how that sad event shaped their own histories, but the tone is one of hopefulness, of looking to the future and making the best of situations that will always be imperfect.”
“This sparseness extends to the stories individually, which do not waste their limited word-count on scene-setting or extraneous characterisation; each one evokes a mood, makes a point, or charts a phase in an individual’s development without telling us anything more than we need to know.“

Read the whole of what Katie Low has to say here
*
Marjory McGinn on Amazon.co.uk:

“Stunning insight into the Greek experience”
“… each story is poet gem, offering … moments of revelation and introspection”

Read the whole of Marjory McGinn’s review here
Marjory McGinn is the author of “Things Can only Get Feta
*
Blogcritics: Daniel Burton:

“Unique and surprising, tight and passionate language”
“Every once in a while, I get a book in the mail that is unique from anything else I’ve ever read. As a collection of short stories, Stella Pieride’s Feeding the Doves has given me a new definition of what short means, not to mention how quickly a story can be told… ”
“…references to Greece and its geography and culture, ancient and modern, pepper Pieride’s stories. It’s a wonderful setting for her flash fiction, and I found her writing a refreshing and unique collection.
“Each feels like an intimate glimpse into someone’s life, a brief moment in time. And given that each is so quick, so fast, and yet so personal, it’s saying something that Pieride is able to levy language to create this impact in such sort space.”

*
Neos Kosmos Review (Australia’s leading Greek community news source) by Helen Velissaris:

“These stories manage to show universal themes entwined with the Greek psyche to give a new perspective on the Greece in the media’s headlines.
Above all, these stories show Greece isn’t defined by its current bank account, but rather the people that inhabit it.”

*
Mia Avramut‘s review on Amazon.co.uk:

“From a symbol of the divine (“A Life-Changing Story), to an object of meditation and near-worship in Syntagma Square (as in the title story), to their possible end in a soup kitchen destined to feed hungry children (“Pigeons”), doves’ journey functions as a counterpoint to the human sacrifice and quest for nourishing truths. Several glimpses into silent, sometimes tortured lives, end in haiku. It serves to deepen the reader’s understanding, and add new dimensions to the prose. And it’s a treat, as Pierides is both an archeologist of experiences, and a mistress of haibun.
Since Yourcenar and Kazantzakis, nobody has illuminated with such wisdom and compassion the often unseen lives that make the humanity what it is: a traveling, travailing organism with feet of myth.”
.

Mia Avramut is a Romanian-born writer, physician, researcher, and poetry editor at Connotation Press.
***
About
Having left Greece in her youth, Stella Pierides, the author of “Feeding the Doves”, returns to the country of her birth through a collection of stories that lie at the heart of Greek identity.
About the Book:
Greece has been in the headlines for a very long time. Recently, the headlines have been gloomy and negative, the country facing some of its most difficult years. Against this background, “Feeding the Doves” explores recurrent elements of the Greek psyche, tracing them back to challenges posed by the country’s history, culture, and environment.
The widow, the old loner, the refugee, the immigrant, the young, the writer, the expatriate, tell us their stories, touching upon themes at the heart of Greek being: Love and loss, civil war, immigration and diaspora, emigration, poverty, religion, history and catastrophe, and above all, the will to survive.

“What I admire here are the shining moments of revelation, of truths large and small bursting through the lives and memories of these characters. So many characters, and so rich!”
—John Wentworth Chapin
Founding Editor, 52|250 and A Baker’s Dozen

“Stories to surprise and entertain, to wake and calm, to wrench and elate, to tell the Greek story, past and present, and everyone’s story.”
-—Michael Dylan Welch, poet, writer,
and editor/publisher of Press Here books
*
Fruit Dove Press
Email: admin@fruitdovepress.com
http://www.fruitdovepress.com
Perfect softbound
87 pages, 90gm cream interior paper
Full-color laminated cover
129 mm x 198 mm trim size

ISBN: 978-3-944155-03-6

Price: £8.00 UK and EUR 9,00

Available through Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de

Review of “Feeding the Doves” by Daniel Burton on “Attack of the Books!”

 

Feeding the Doves
Feeding the Doves

 

 

“Unique and surprising, tight and passionate language”

“Every once in a while, I get a book in the mail that is unique from anything else I’ve ever read. As a collection of short stories, Stella Pieride’s Feeding the Doves has given me a new definition of what short means, not to mention how quickly a story can be told… ”

“… I found her writing a refreshing and unique collection.”

Read the whole review here: Attack of the Books! 

The review is also available on Amazon.com 

 

Article about “Feeding the Doves” in Neos Kosmos

An article about my book of short stories “Feeding the Doves“ appeared today in the Australian newspaper “Neos Kosmos,” Australia’s leading Greek community news source. I am thrilled, as many of its readers are of Greek descent, and know, remember, or wish to know about the themes of this book.

Helen Velissaris writes: “These stories manage to show universal themes entwined with the Greek psyche to give a new perspective on the Greece in the media’s headlines.

Above all, these stories show Greece isn’t defined by its current bank account, but rather the people that inhabit it.”

Read the whole article here. A very interesting take on my book.

.

Human Rights and Wrongs (Blog Action Day 2013)

Every year, thousands of people try to enter Europe without permission. The last two years the numbers have increased. War, civil war, terrorism, famine, drought make their livelihoods untenable, their lives precarious. One of the major routes to the continent used to be via Evros, the river boundary between Greece and Turkey. Since 2012, however, when a fence was erected to block this entry point and after Frontex police increased their presence, new routes were followed: sea routes to Italy and Spain that are even more dangerous and deadly.

BeFunky_keeping out.jpgThe rickety boats these refugees use to come in often sink; the borders they try to cross get more hazardous than the journeys. The European countries they enter, ignore or criminalize them, and often send them to holding centers where they are subjected to demeaning, abusive situations, torture, or worse; or sent back to the countries they fled from. And yet, they keep coming.

I saw some of those who made it. In Venice, Italy, without support, they bend down hiding their faces, and beg.

city of masks
the beggar hides
her face
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They hide and live in fear, yet they find this preferable to staying in countries where torture or death awaits them. Unlike those chosen to enter in one of the rare legal, though miniscule, programs of some European countries, these people exist in dire and life-threatening circumstances.

promising the earth
lone star
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This odyssey is acted out all over the world, sometimes by people seeking work to improve their situation in places where they would not normally be entitled to work; most often by people fleeing conflict and persecution. In the Mediterranean countries, the recent conflicts have multiplied the magnitude of this problem.

Lately, hundreds of people arrived in Lampedusa and the Italian shores:* alive or dead, they reached this other country where those who survived the journey would have at least the opportunity to fight for a chance of a better life. Wouldn’t you too, in their position?
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Wouldn’t you? If chance or circumstance placed you in such a predicament? The European Union, though, would not look favorably on your efforts to enter its borders with need and despair as the only passport. For instance, while the talk of new urgent measures is all about increasing funding towards detection of people in flight, as well as (allegedly) improved rescue at sea,* there is also the urge to repatriate and keep the refugees in the place they come from. An out of sight out of mind approach. Except that the situation in their home countries is so desperate that repatriated people try crossing the sea again, and again.
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promising sign?
clouds part
for hunter’s moon
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A lot more is needed for the nations that make up Europe to acknowledge and accept the plight of the people affected by extreme poverty and poverty-driven wars, often the result of our aggressive policies, economic exploitation, and environmental abuse.

Out of this awareness, the Europeans themselves would be able to develop better policies than this drive to isolate, separate, and remove the perceived problem: a concerted European asylum seeker and immigration policy, grounded on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (and the full United Nations Charter), with a budget and facilities for care and integration (rather than just border control) to back it up.

BeFunky_flower colours.jpgThe first models to help us think and plan are already here: A tiny Italian village opened its doors to migrants who braved the sea offering them jobs and homes, creating in the process jobs for the entire village. Even though there is no ideal solution, and new problems arise in new situations, the will, the means, the examples, the aspiration are already here.

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– This post is written for Blog Action Day, 2013 on 16 October 2013. Bloggers from different countries, languages, and interests will have a global conversation about Human Rights. I have published elsewhere a number of stories featuring refugees and their plight – including stories from refugees crossing the Aegean in 1922 – some of which are included in my short story collection: Feeding the Doves, Neusaess, Fruit Dove Press, 2013.

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*Gazmend Kapplani, Albanian-born journalist, poet, and writer, in one of his FB posts suggests the least the EU could do would be to erect a Monument of the Unknown Refugee. Kapplani’s excellent book, A Short Border Handbook, relates the experiences of Albanian people crossing the border to Greece.

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**Frontex, the European Agency for external border control, according to a statement of its site, “promotes, coordinates and develops European border management in line with the EU fundamental rights charter applying the concept of Integrated Border Management.” Unfortunately, what this comes down to is that the management of borders takes precedence over human rights.

Frontex has expanded the number of countries where it can send the people it ‘rescues’. “Nobody, however, is monitoring what exactly Frontex is doing in these countries of transit and origin with the goal of “stemming migration”. There is a serious risk of human rights simply being breached or refugees dying in places that are farther away from our attention.”

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See also Spiegel online
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GoodReads winners!

The GoodReads giveaway has ended. I’m delighted that 608 readers entered to win a copy of my short story book “Feeding the Doves”! Thank you so much to everyone who entered!

My heartfelt congratulations to the 12 winners! You can see the winners here. I will be posting copies of the book on the 26th of September.

And to everyone else: Thank you so much for participating in the giveaway. If you did not win this time, please know there will be another giveaway in a couple of months’ time. I hope you will try again.

I will keep you posted on other giveaways, discounts, and fun stuff. Meanwhile, if you are interested in Greece, its people and history, the economic and existential crisis it is going through, my Pinterest board “Feeding the Doves” is updated regularly with news, articles, photos, and other related material: click here

Human Rights: Blog Action Day 2013

October 16th is Blog Action Day, an annual online day of action when bloggers (actually anyone with a public platform) from all over the world blog on one particular theme: This year, on Human Rights

Human Rights Day, commemorating the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is observed by the international community every year on 10 December. This year, the blogging lot contributes from its own unique angle, its multitude of voices, and perspectives, an additional opportunity for observance of this most sacred of human achievements on the 16th of October.

 

Thanks to the adoption of the Declaration of Human Rights, whatever our nationality, place of residence, gender, origin, colour, religion, language, or other status, we can ‘rely’ on the international community to uphold dignity and justice for us.

Despite many accomplishments in the field of human rights, sadly, there are still huge challenges lying ahead. In the words of the UN,

“The world is still plagued with incidents of ethnic hatred and acts of genocide. People are still victims of xenophobic attitudes, are subjected to discrimination because of religion or gender and suffer from exclusion. Around the world, millions of people are still denied food, shelter, access to medical care, education and work, and too many live in extreme poverty. Their inherent humanity and dignity are not recognized.”

The way forward: “The future of human rights lies in our hands.”

I committed to posting a blog post on the day. It may or may not be a short story on one of the articles of the Declaration of Human Rights. We’ll see.

Starting to think about what my post/story could be about, I asked myself, and Google, my constant companion, the obvious question: How many articles does the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights contain?

How many do I actually know of? Here is the Declaration if you are interested in checking this out yourself. It includes a simplified, plain English version. See how many you know, and weep!

There is a video about the Blog Action Day theme

as well as a Home page 

a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/blogactionday

and a Twitter account @blogactionday12

The United Nations Home Page for Human Rights here

Feeding the Doves: 31 Short and Very Short Stories, and Haibun

Feeding the Doves  Now available to order from amazon.co.uk, amazon.de and Kindle

FeedingtheDoves.jpg

“Unique and surprising, tight and passionate language”

“Every once in a while, I get a book in the mail that is unique from anything else I’ve ever read. As a collection of short stories, Stella Pieride’s Feeding the Doves has given me a new definition of what short means, not to mention how quickly a story can be told… ”

“… I found her writing a refreshing and unique collection.”

Read Daniel Burton’s review here: Attack of the Books!

The review is also available on Amazon.com

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Extract from Mia Avramut’s review on Amazon.co.uk:

“From a symbol of the divine (“A Life-Changing Story), to an object of meditation and near-worship in Syntagma Square (as in the title story), to their possible end in a soup kitchen destined to feed hungry children (“Pigeons”), doves’ journey functions as a counterpoint to the human sacrifice and quest for nourishing truths. Several glimpses into silent, sometimes tortured lives, end in haiku. It serves to deepen the reader’s understanding, and add new dimensions to the prose. And it’s a treat, as Pierides is both an archeologist of experiences, and a mistress of haibun.
Since Yourcenar and Kazantzakis, nobody has illuminated with such wisdom and compassion the often unseen lives that make the humanity what it is: a traveling, travailing organism with feet of myth.”

Mia Avramut is a Romanian- born writer, physician, researcher, and poetry editor at Connotation Press.

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Having left Greece in her youth, the author of “Feeding the Doves” returns to the country of her birth through a collection of stories that lie at the heart of Greek identity.

About the Book: Greece has been in the headlines for a very long time. Recently, the headlines have been gloomy and negative, the country facing some of its most difficult years. Against this background, “Feeding the Doves” explores recurrent elements of the Greek psyche, tracing them back to challenges posed by the country’s history, culture, and environment.

The widow, the old loner, the refugee, the immigrant, the young, the writer, the expatriate, tell us their stories, touching upon themes at the heart of Greek being: Love and loss, civil war, immigration and diaspora, emigration, poverty, religion, history and catastrophe, and above all, the will to survive.

 “What I admire here are the shining moments of revelation, of truths large and small bursting through the lives and memories of these characters. So many characters, and so rich!”

—John Wentworth Chapin
Founding Editor, 52|250 and A Baker’s Dozen

“Stories to surprise and entertain, to wake and calm, to wrench and elate, to tell the Greek story, past and present, and everyone’s story.”

-—Michael Dylan Welch, poet, writer,
and editor/publisher of Press Here books

Fruit Dove Press

Email: admin@fruitdovepress.com
http://www.fruitdovepress.com
Perfect softbound
87 pages, 90gm cream interior paper
Full-color laminated cover
129 mm x 198 mm trim size

ISBN: 978-3-944155-03-6

Price: £8.00 UK

Available from August 2013 through Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de.

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