the many colours
Incense Dreams journal issue 1, May 2017, p.49
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
Delighted to learn that my poem “refugee child” received first prize in the Romanian contest “Sharpening the Green Pencil, 2017.”
Thank you to the judges, and especially Cezar Florin Ciobiza for his thoughtful commentary. And congrats to all participants!
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
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)
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.”
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.
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.
Delighted to have two of my haiku: “juggling” and “hermit crab,” appear on Jennifer Hambrick‘s Inner Voices as part of the International Women’s Haiku Festival. And I love Jennifer’s commentary! Check it out here
Photo from the piece: Vanessa Pike-Russell/Creative Commons/Flickr
the Home visitors
letting go of
In Blithe Spirit, Journal of The British Haiku Society, vol. 27, n.1, Feb. 2017
The relationship between poetry and science has been a long-standing fascination of mine. I am happy to report that for the last couple of years I have been involved in a study spanning the two, using haiku to understand how the brain receives, analyses, and constructs meaning. The first exploratory study has been written up and discussed in 3 papers, one of which can be found in the Journal of Eye Movement Research here
Mueller, H., Geyer, T., Günther, F., Kacian, J., & Pierides, S. (2017). Reading English-Language Haiku: Processes of Meaning Construction Revealed by Eye Movements. Journal Of Eye Movement Research, 10(1). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.16910/10.1.4
This paper is the more detailed, scientifically oriented description of the exploratory study.
A more compact version of the same work, addressing the poetry community, is included in the forthcoming JUXTA 3.1: Pierides, S., Müller, H., Kacian, J., Günther, F., Geyer, T. (2017). Haiku and the brain: an exploratory study. Juxtapositions: A Journal of Haiku Research and Scholarship 3(1). Due out mid March 2017!
Out of This World
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
returning to earth sunburnt
In right hand pointing winter haiku 2017
issue 107 low sky
dust devils: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2016, edited by Jim Kacian & the Red Moon Editorial Staff is now out and available to purchase.
From their website:
The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku enters its third decade of gathering the finest haiku and related forms published around the world in English into a single book, the longest run of any book dedicated to ELH. dust devils includes 173 poems (haiku & senryu), 8 linked forms (haibun, renku, rengay and sequences), and 5 critical pieces on the reading, writing and study of the genre.
Honoured to be included!
Don’t delay, order it and enjoy!
Stella Pierides has cultivated a terse, idiosyncratic style in her haibun that is instantly recognizable, and as a consequence is one of the shining lights of this burgeoning genre. Of This World certainly is, but it also takes us out of the world at large and into private spaces we feel privileged to witness. A unique and satisfying read.
I am grateful for the generous comments:
This is how it’s done! Stella Pierides — in a hushed voice — takes me through what it is to be human — and part of the human history from the roots of Western culture in Diogenes’ tub to the ‘modern’ human — with all the questions and doubts, the uncertainties that come from that.
— Johannes S. H. Bjerg, Writer
Of This World’s marvelous, emotionally resonant haibun are steeped in the grace of the garden, rooted in a physical reality so sensuous that you can smell the fragrance of baking bread, of olives and garlic, of lemon and magnolia blossoms — and yet they also spiral on the updraft of metaphor as poet Stella Pierides ‘put[s] our hearts in the shoes of the hummingbird.’
— Clare MacQueen, Editor-in-Chief, KYSO Flash
A treasure trove of language and image. Pierides walks through dark streets of history, through alleyways of memory – emerging in shiny, unexpected places. Compact, urgent and closely observant, these minute offerings will captivate readers of both poetry and short fiction. An enormously engaging collection.
— Michelle Elvy, Writer and Editor
Of This World
Size: 6″ x 9″
Binding: perfect softbound
I am delighted to share that my work will be included in A New Resonance 10: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku, along with the work of 16 other wonderful poets.
A New Resonance is a much valued and award-winning series, sensitively appreciating each featured poet’s work. The New Resonance Poets community, numbering more than a hundred-fifty poets, is a virtual who’s who of English-language haiku poets. I am honoured to be included in this group.
Thank you to the editors Jim Kacian and Dee Evetts and also a big thank you to the New Resonance community for nominating me!
The book (by Red Moon Press) will be available in May 2017.
first frost distilling silence
Pleased to share that my monoku:
sleepless night formatting loneliness
is now in the Haiku Society of America anthology 2016, edited by David Grayson.
(First appeared in Bones – journal for contemporary haiku no. 9 March 15th 2016 p.22 and elsewhere).
the soprano’s perfect
In ‘Beginning’ the British Haiku Society Anthology 2016
Salting is one of the oldest methods of preserving food. Fish, meats, cheeses, cabbage, olives have been cured, brined, pickled to protect them from fungi, bacteria, and other harmful organisms, and thus keep them fresh for longer. Still, it comes as a surprise to read of one more entity to be preserved in salt: memory.
A project titled Memory of Mankind aims to preserve humankind’s most precious milestones by engraving them on special ceramic tablets, and then storing them in salt-lined vaults deep in the Austrian mountains. Small tokens engraved with a map pointing to the archive’s location, and other information helping our descendants decipher the tablets, will be strategically buried around the globe. And what will future generations find to define us? The article suggests sacred texts, treatises, classics, scientific articles, images of buildings, paintings, musical scores. And individual histories, family albums, recipes.
My list would include my daughters’ photos and paintings, multiple drafts of a haibun, favorite poems, a pin cushion and thimble, an amber komboloi, an oil lamp, a pot of basil; my grandmother’s piece of the Holy Cross, the sound of the sea . . ..
the same joke for
the umpteenth time
In Haibun Today Volume 10, Number 4, December 2016
At the top of the stairway snaking up the hill, a white-washed chapel and an olive tree. Blinding sunlight. Some way to go yet. The stony stairs are narrow, a couple of hands-width before the cliff falls steeply into the sea.
Slow down, there’s no hurry. Take a deep breath. Feel the rough warmth of the rock. The wind beating against it raises the fragrance of sage, of thyme and marjoram to the skies, erases the silence.
in the distance
Feel the salt on your lips, the urgent wind tussling your hair.
This history book under your arm, so well-thumbed, leave it here, against that rock, someone coming after you might linger, take a look.
pillars of salt—
propping her foot
on a stone
And the pebble from Amorgos you kept in your pocket all those years, add it to the cairn over there, where the path widens. Let it go. The trail is moments like this, following the light, teetering on the edge of your desires, of your sorrows.
That bench at the top, see it now, under the olive tree? This is your goal. You can rest there. Wise, gentle Persephone will hold your hand.
embalming my tongue
I rest in the shadow
of the silver-leaved olive
Time has a different texture in and about Greece. Sculptures solidifying the past appear at every corner, at every museum: looming, teasing, reminding. Accompanying us into the future. There’s no escaping the sculptures, the poets know it:
“… I woke with this marble head in my hands;
it exhausts my elbow and I don’t know where to put it down.”
Ritsos approaches the sculptures from different, mythical angles, turning the people and landscape into eternal presences:
“…Nowadays, we don’t think much
about Theseus, the Minotaur, Ariadne on the beach
at Naxos, staring out at the coming years.
But people still dance that dance: just common folk,
those criss-cross steps that no one had to teach,
at weddings and wakes, in bars or parks,
as if hope and heart could meet, as if they might
even now, somehow, dance themselves out of the dark.”
Ritsos, The Crane Dance
In The Path, honoring these roots, I try to present this aspect of my Greek inheritance. I fail, of course, but proud to be trying.
Painting “Golden Light, Port Isaac” by Maria Pierides
In Blue Fifth Review, Broadside #44 Fall 2016
the shower head splutters Perseids
Bones: journal for contemporary haiku XI, 2016
In Failed Haiku, issue 1.11, p.152
Nights at the Opera
long after the laughter
the prima donna throws
and the stars were shining
and what if
all the world’s a stage—
Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu, issue 1.11, p.152
crossing the road
for no reason
Failed Haiku, issue 1.11, p.152
washing his hands backstage
Presence #56, p.16, 2016
A tanka of mine on the theme ‘Portrait’ appears on issue 103 of Right Hand Pointing: short poetry, fiction & art since 2004 A.D.
And what an issue it is! Alive!
I will post my poem here too in a few days – but why wait, take a look (scroll down by clicking on the hand image for the next poem): http://www.righthandpointing.net/issue-103
Modern Haiku 47.2, Summer 2016
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.
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!
the old house yields
moongarlic E-zine, issue 6, 2016
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:
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.
The book of the Fifth Haiku Contest, Sharpening the Green Pencil, is out. An awe-inspiring two hundred and fifty poets from forty five countries took part. Great contributions. Congratulations to the winners!
I am honoured that my own haiku, translated into Romanian by Ana Drobot, was featured in the book (p.191).
reed ears —
not hearing what the doctor