Category Archives: Blog

‘match countdown’ on Per Diem: Daily Haiku

Thrilled to have my poem featured on Per Diem: Daily Haiku, The Haiku Foundation site. The poem will be up all day today the 23rd of September 2018 here
Many thanks to editor Rob Scott for selecting it!

This poem was written for the AFL Grand Final Kukai 2017 and included in The Tigers’ Almanac 2017, p. 187 (Malarky Publications)

haiku,poem,

Clover and Cows

clover,

clover in flower
the Holsteins come
with four stomachs

This week’s poem by Dan Schwerin (Modern Haiku 49:2, Summer 2018), discussed at The Haiku Foundation feature Re:Virals, attracted delightful responses that illuminated the poem from different and serendipitously complementary angles.

The week’s winner, Garry Eaton, provided an interesting and robust commentary seeing the poem’s environmental concerns, alluding to 19th century farming changes by

… highlighting the mindless, mower-like and digester-like efficiency of cows as in massive numbers they convert landscapes into milk and excrement in an endless search for more green.

The other commentators too, in their own way, provided fascinating inroads to the ku.

One paragraph from Julie Warther’s commentary caught my eye:

We each have our empty places looking to be filled. We hold common yearnings for love, acceptance, safety, sustenance and purpose. The natural world and those in it have much to offer. Do we come ready to receive? Do we return hungry for more? Do we have the capacity (four stomachs worth?) to take in the goodness, beauty and bounty surrounding us?

In the commentaries, desire, pleasure and insatiable hunger come together through the poem’s image of cows with multiple stomachs, mowing down environmental resources. Perfect metaphors for humans for whom – on individual and societal levels – the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and who will employ all means necessary to consume, to obtain the next piece of land, the next oil field… The effects on nature, climate, resources are all around us to see. As Warther asks, do we have the capacity to process and digest what we receive, to ‘stomach’ it, to experience ful/fillment? To contain our desires? To create a sustainable environment, where the milk we receive is both sufficient and good enough to nourish us?

In Schwerin’s poem, c/love/r is in flower. It is not the first time, and it won’t be the last. In the optimist’s reading, the ‘clover in flower’ in this rural idyll has survived previous years, and it sounds that, with care, it is going to survive the next ones.

Refreshing to see clover — considered an invasive weed in the context of gardening — standing for ‘milk’ in its use as animal fodder, and the cows — whose milk is usually associated with nourishment — standing for ruthless, destructive urges. But that’s another poem, and another story.

You can find the full re:Virals post here.

If, like me, you enjoy thinking about these matters, make sure you receive The Haiku Foundation posts. Re:Virals, managed by Danny Blackwell, appears Fridays.

Philoxenia

Philoxenia

Yesterday I attended an event at the Elixirion Greek restaurant in Augsburg, where, in a kind of experiment, a number of strangers had been invited to sample Greek Cuisine. Extending over three hours, the meal featured an amazing array of perfectly cooked dishes, drinks, and desserts, with the invitees paying at the end whatever they thought appropriate.

Our hosts — Angelos Gkantzos and his team — opened their doors and hearts to a sizeable group of Grecophile and hungry strangers and through their friendly and generous welcome made us all feel immediately at ease.

The word Philoxenia came to mind. Love and friendship towards strangers, towards visitors, generosity combined with eagerness to show hospitality. Here, this evening, the concept became reality through the experience of togetherness and being received in a generous and good-natured spirit.

Elixirion restaurant, The food was perfectly cooked and delicious, the drinks cool and flowing, and the ouzo something that Odysseus himself would have stayed for and enjoyed!

Many heartfelt thanks to the owner Angelos Gkantzos and all the staff who created this wonderful event and helped us remember the concept of Philoxenia. And to the fellow invitees who helped make the evening a most enjoyable event.

Photo altered to protect privacy.

‘World Cup Final’ 1st Place in CKK

Football,Africa,
Handmade Football

Thrilled to place 1st in the 125th Caribbean Kigo Kukai on the theme ‘World Cup Final!’ Congratulations to Mark Gilbert, Martha Magenta and all participants for such a good game! Many thanks to the organiser Gillena Cox!

world cup final
the old couple holding
hands

Many thanks to the anonymous commentators:

COMMENT 1: A warm, touching haiku
COMMENT 2: In a crowded stadium this haiku focuses in on one couple – the word ‘final’ suggests it might be their last match
COMMENT 3: A modern fairy-tale ending, with they lived ever after. The old couple has won.
COMMENT 4: Sporting tournaments bring people together and you imagine this old couple have been watching their team play for many years. Maybe this is the first time they have attended the actual final.
COMMENT 5: Though this world cup final has not yet been played, I find the poet’s imagination is very vivid. A moment of anxiety has been captured vividly.
COMMENT 6: Like #2 (lullaby) in reminding us that there is more in the world than the World Cup (Full disclosure: I’m one half of an old couple myself).

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Photo from ‘Whatever you think about football

99/100 #The100DayProject #100daysnewthings

“Ammersee Symposium” in honor of VSSA (IV)

Last weekend, VSSA IV, the fourth international quadrennial symposium on Visual Search and Selective Attention, took place in the Bavarian School of Public administration, Holzhausen, nr. Utting, on the shores of the beautiful Lake Ammersee. I wrote a haiku sequence in honor of the symposium using themes and terms from the talks and social life of the meeting. I understand this haiku sequence was briefly projected on screen before the concluding session of the symposium.Ammersee Symposium haiku

98/100 #The100DayProject #100daysnewthings

‘Of This World,’ receives HSA Merit Book Award (books published 2017)

Delighted to announce that my book Of This World (Red Moon Press) was awarded a merit book honorable mention in the Haibun category by the Haiku Society of America! 

HSA Merit Books Award

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.

While waiting for the judges comments and public announcement by the Society, here is more information and praise for the book:

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

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