Category Archives: In the Garden of Absence

In the Garden of Absence

In the Garden of Absence

by Stella Pierides

with an Afterword  by Michael Dylan Welch

Awarded the Haiku Society of America Mildred Kanterman Memorial Merit Book Awards 2013 (3rd place, for books published in 2012). 

From the judges’ commentary in Frogpond, the journal of the Haiku Society of America:

“A charming collection… This intersection of the past and present is within all of us, and Pierides mines it well. A very satisfying read” (Vol. 37:1, p. 170).

In the Garden of Absence takes you on a journey echoing the author’s childhood. Yet it does so in the context of adult concerns, uncertainties, and anxieties—as well as pleasures. This book explores the existential fear of loneliness, the many facets of absence, and glimpses a path towards bearing absence and being creatively alone.From the back cover:

“Readers of any book of poetry can assume that each poem has substantial personal meaning for the writer. The poems in this collection go one step further, offering personal meaning to the reader. Stella Pierides pays attention in simple ways (and sometimes vast ways) to her surrounding world, noticing the warmth of a hen’s eggs on Mother’s Day, that only a dog makes eye contact on a crowded train, or in observing the tiny dark holes in a pin cushion as she extracts its pins.”

Michael Dylan Welch, from the Afterword, “Presence in Absence

Cover: from “Welsh Hill,” a painting by Maria Pierides Cover design: Maria Pierides and Rubin Eynon.

How to obtain a copy:

Print edition:

From Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de

The print edition can be ordered from your local bookshop: ISBN: 978-3-944155-00-5  (Germany) Fruit Dove Press, Paperback, 76 pages.

e-editions:

e-editions are now available from Smashwords

(Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others), PDF and kindle

Publication information: – ISBN: 9783944155012 e-book

– Published by Fruit Dove Press at Smashwords. Price: USD 5.99

Honours, Reviews, Essays:

Awarded third prize in the Haiku Society of America Mildred Kanterman Memorial Merit Book Awards 2013

Previous praise for the Book:

— “In Pierides’s meditations, imagination takes center stage, as do imaginary gardens, real toads, and their negative space… The result is a welcome debut in which the reader will find much to admire.”

In Briefly ReviewedFrogpond, 36-1, Spring 2013 (Click here, please scroll down).

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— “This is an engaging collection…”

Modern Haiku 44.2, 2013 (in the “Briefly Noted” section).
*

— “A Poetic Gem… In the Garden of Absence is a lovely little book that sparkles with a quiet brilliance – every word shines.”

Debbie Strange on Amazon.co.uk

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— “In the Garden of Absence is a stunning book. From homely to somewhat obscure, Pierides touches a chord. Her poetry is the essence of haiku and an inspiration for many of us. In the Garden of Absence A must-read book of poetry.”

Sondra Byrnes on Amazon.co.uk

*

–“… everything, from cover to cover, the cover image, the design, the graphical presentation, the empty space around the haiku, also the introduction… all very aesthetically (one more Greek word) appealing and pleasing! Thank you for taking me on this Magical Journey!”

Freddy Ben-Arroyo, Haifa, Israel*

*

–“… I really enjoy reading it, and already have some favorites…”

Annie Juhl, Svendborg, Denmark.

*

–“I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading your book this afternoon while sipping on a chai latte. A few that I particularly like are: “between my ego and yours”, “the horses neighing”, “your vacant stare”, “moment of stillness” and “shooting stars”. The whole book is really lovely… the beautiful cover, the feel of the paper and the afterword by Michael Dylan Welch. Thank you for sharing your beautiful poems with me!”

Lauren Mayhew, Boston, USA

*

–“Stella Pierides pays attention in simple ways (and sometimes vast ways) to her surrounding world, noticing the warmth of a hen’s eggs on Mother’s Day, that only a dog makes eye contact on a crowded train, or in observing the tiny dark holes in a pin cushion as she extracts its pins.”

Michael Dylan Welch, Sammamish, Washington, USA

*

–“I cannot recommend ‘In the Garden of Absence‘ by Stella Pierides highly enough. A great Afterword too by Michael Dylan Welch. … The book is entrancing.”

Sheila Windsor, Worcester, UK

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An informative, literary, and well-written essay, “Presence in Absence” by Michael Dylan Welch, first written in October 2012 and included in In the Garden of Absence as an afterword, can be read at Graceguts, by clicking here

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“In the Garden of Absence” wins prize!

In the Garden of Absence

Awarded the Haiku Society of America Mildred Kanterman Memorial Merit Book Awards 2013 (3rd place, for books published in 2012). 

From the judges’ commentary in Frogpond, the journal of the Haiku Society of America:

“A charming collection… This intersection of the past and present is within all of us, and Pierides mines it well. A very satisfying read” (Vol. 37:1, p. 170).

Previous praise for the Book:

— “In Pierides’s meditations, imagination takes center stage, as do imaginary gardens, real toads, and their negative space… The result is a welcome debut in which the reader will find much to admire.”
In Briefly Reviewed, Frogpond, 36-1, Spring 2013 (Click here, please scroll down).

— “This is an engaging collection…”
Modern Haiku 44.2, 2013 (in the “Briefly Noted” section).
*
— “A Poetic Gem… In the Garden of Absence is a lovely little book that sparkles with a quiet brilliance – every word shines.”
Debbie Strange on Amazon.co.uk

— “In the Garden of Absence is a stunning book. From homely to somewhat obscure, Pierides touches a chord. Her poetry is the essence of haiku and an inspiration for many of us. In the Garden of Absence A must-read book of poetry.”
Sondra Byrnes on Amazon.co.uk

–“… everything, from cover to cover, the cover image, the design, the graphical presentation, the empty space around the haiku, also the introduction… all very aesthetically (one more Greek word) appealing and pleasing! Thank you for taking me on this Magical Journey!”
Freddy Ben-Arroyo, Haifa, Israel*

–“… I really enjoy reading it, and already have some favorites…”
Annie Juhl, Svendborg, Denmark.

–“I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading your book this afternoon while sipping on a chai latte. A few that I particularly like are: “between my ego and yours”, “the horses neighing”, “your vacant stare”, “moment of stillness” and “shooting stars”. The whole book is really lovely… the beautiful cover, the feel of the paper and the afterword by Michael Dylan Welch. Thank you for sharing your beautiful poems with me!”
.Lauren Mayhew, Boston, USA

–“Stella Pierides pays attention in simple ways (and sometimes vast ways) to her surrounding world, noticing the warmth of a hen’s eggs on Mother’s Day, that only a dog makes eye contact on a crowded train, or in observing the tiny dark holes in a pin cushion as she extracts its pins.”
Michael Dylan Welch, Sammamish, Washington, USA

–“I cannot recommend ‘In the Garden of Absence‘ by Stella Pierides highly enough. A great Afterword too by Michael Dylan Welch. … The book is entrancing.”
Sheila Windsor, Worcester, UK

Smashwords e-book promotion

 

In the Garden of Absence
In the Garden of Absence

 

 

I’m taking part in the summer/winter 2013 Smashwords e-book promotion. For the whole month of July, In the Garden of Absence, will be available as an e-book from the Smashwords site at the reduced price of $1.50 USD, that is 75% off!

To download a copy, please visit Smashwords by clicking here and use coupon SSW75 at checkout.

The offer is good through to the 31st of July 2013.

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“In Pierides’s meditations, imagination takes center stage, as do imaginary gardens, real toads, and their negative space… The result is a welcome debut in which the reader will find much to admire.”

“Briefly Reviewed,” Frogpond, 36-1, Spring 2013″

“Presence in Absence” is now online!

I am very pleased to let you know that the afterword to my book, written by poet and writer Michael Dylan Welch, titled “Presence in Absence,” is now online on Graceguts: Something authentic and delirious. It is a wonderful essay on haiku and the experience of appreciating and sharing the haiku moment by both writer and reader. I am honored that Michael contributed this  generous essay to my book “In the Garden of Absence.” Michael’s essay “Presence in Absence” can be read by clicking here

And while you are visiting Michael’s site, Graceguts, take a look around this amazing resource: essays, books, book reviews, fun, haiku, haibun, photo-haiga, poetry, thinking, photography, micropoetry — an Aladdin’s cave!

 

The Wall

spring morning

she presses her palm against

the wall

.

The Wall (Die Wand), is a film directed by Julian Roman Pölsler (Austria/Germany, 2011)

and based on Marlen Haushofer’s (1963) best-selling eponymous novel. I have not read the

novel, though now that I saw the film, I am going to.

.

I mention it here, not only because it is a great film I just watched, but also because it connects

with my own interests and forthcoming collection “In the Garden of Absence.”

It is on the same theme of loneliness and the development(or not) of the capacity to be creatively

alone.

.

In the story, right from the beginning, a woman on a trip to the Alps and shortly after she is

separated from the couple she is travelling with, is mysteriously trapped inside a transparent

wall surrounding her hunter’s lodge. While there is a big and beautiful area inside this wall –

including mountain peaks, meadows, a lake, forests – there is no contact  with the outside

world and no way of knowing whether it still exists.

 .

Without human companionship and with only her own resources to survive, her will to live

is tested. Through her sense of responsibility and, I would say, inner strength, she is able to

move towards a realization of the nature of her predicament and acceptance of loneliness,

to an understanding of the human condition in general and the role love plays in it.

.

A Robinson Crusoe without happy endings, but with an insight that goes to the heart

of the human condition. I look forward to the book.

 .

The film’s slow-moving, original and atmospheric cinematography enhances the story

and provides the right background for the perfect performance by Martina Gedeck.

A thought-provoking, emotionally demanding as well as rewarding film.

.

For a summary of the book see here

and film review here

.

spring morning

she presses her palm against

the wall

.

Solitude and aloneness

Do you ever wonder about the difference between loneliness and the capacity to be alone? Between the soul-destroying feeling of utter despondency, emptiness and despair, on the one hand, and on the other, the capacity to be creatively alone, to enjoy the space and freedom aloneness gives and to be productive? I do, often. I have been putting together a small collection of micropoetry, haiku, and senryu on this theme. Titled “In the Garden of Absence,” the collection aims to  reflect on this difference, without, I hope, rushing to answer any questions. Even if I had the answers…

Interested? D. W. Winnicott, the British psychoanalyst and paediatrician originally introduced this concept. If you have access to his work, fine. If not, Jean-Bertrand Pontalis provides the best explanatory note of Winnicott’s concept  (on this capacity to be alone) in the online Gale Dictionary of Psychoanalysis.

Risking oversimplification, I would say here that the capacity to be alone is not the capacity to simply bear being alone until the other person returns, but a capacity to feel and creatively use the space and freedom which being separate from the other person offers. In terms of the child, Winnicott argues, it is the capacity to disentangle herself from ‘mother’s madness’ or the most primitive needs of the mother’s attachment to her own offspring. It is in this sense, I believe, that this capacity, paradoxically, is compatible with the other’s or, in that case, mother’s presence.

I quote from Pontalis here:
“To be able to tell oneself  “I am alone” without feeling forsaken—such is the prerequisite for what Winnicott considers an essential achievement: to be assured of a sense of continuity as between oneself and the other person, or, better still, to perceive discontinuity in a permanent bond, or even its rupture, as the very precondition of that’s bond’s survival.”

Buffling? Visit the whole Pontalis entry when you have a moment… of solitude! Click here