Tag Archives: Greece

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

Pandora’s Box

Pandora’s Box

I step inside a second-hand store in downtown Athens. A musty odor envelops me. A yellow handbag, by the entrance, has pride of place. Plastic dolls of varying sizes, unclothed but for the price tag, line a shelf. Rows of scaffed shoes, and shoes never worn, line the skirting board. Shirts, trousers, blouses, and skirts hang from circular rails. Moths dance in the sunlight. I run my hand across the clothes and continue to the back of the shop, to the books: Fiction, Poetry, Classics, Biography, Bibles. I duck to avoid a doll in military dress.
A glass-topped drawer catches my eye. Sparkling pair after pair of earrings: pearl, gemstone, silver, gold, diamond. I didn’t expect such quality.
The owner, dressed in a beige cotton tunic, approaches. “The Junta General’s wife,” she tells me. “After the trials she could not wear them. Brought them here. In all these years, nobody will touch them, although they come and look.”
A shadow of suspicion crosses her face. She looks me up and down, then relaxes. “Pity. She loved poetry,” she says, fanning herself.

bitter olives . . .
sound of a key turning
in the lock
.

In Haibun Today vol.9, 4, 2015

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

‘Shut-eye’

Have you ever tried to fall asleep in Athens? I have, and I can tell you it is no mean feat. Car horns, car alarms, arguments, laughter, jovial “yia mas,” clinking glasses, people speaking in colourful accents and languages, young men selling flickering toys, women begging, babies crying, restless figures talking to themselves, dogs fighting; ambulances, police on motorcycles revving their engines… the Athenians never stop. There should be prizes for those managing to fall asleep in Athens.

So, when I read a story about disturbed sleep in Athens, I immediately sympathised. The character in the story could not sleep because neighbours had been digging in the pavement outside his window, chatting late into the night. No other sounds seemed to disturb his sleep. In the morning he found out what they had been up to. They had been planting a tree! Unfortunately, the author doesn’t tell us what kind of a tree. Was it an olive? A lemon? Or is he – for he must be a he, don’t you agree – withholding the information in case we start looking into symbols? Never mind, let’s not start obsessing.

on the pillow the night and its shadows

I can provide the tree for our purposes, no problem. But where is the story in the story? Several unspecified neighbours are planting an olive tree in the middle of the night, while as far as the story goes, teeming millions of people in this big city are asleep (how does the author account for the lack of noise in Athens? I don’t know). I can imagine people emerging bleary-eyed from their beds trying to make out what is going on. Asking questions, shaking their heads, crossing themselves, complaining; then what? Going back to sleep in a city that is at its loudest at night? Something does not fit, or rather is well-hidden in this story.

Unless, of course, it is a metaphorical sleep that is meant here. Sleeping as in keeping the peace, turning a blind eye. Wink, wink. Worse, someone turning a blind eye to the hope (planting of the tree, see?) that is being taking root.

Impossible? Let’s consider it. After the worst famine since World War II, after a huge increase in suicide rates, after the vicious psychological attacks on the country, against which, as a nation as well as an individual, it was difficult to defend oneself, the people of Athens, in their global origins and skin colours, in their Babelesque languages, are turning a corner. Things are being said. Planting is being done. The story writer, by ignoring the usual nocturnal noise, and foregrounding instead the hushed, whispering voices in the night, is drawing our attention to something inconspicuous: the barely audible voices of those just starting to communicate a desire to plant something that grows; a belief in survival, in continuity, in building once more a better life…

Planting trees in the dead of night: allusions to hope, to the future, putting down roots, seeds of hope in the dust of despair… see, even hope has to be dispensed in dribs and drabs. Still, whatever you do, don’t close your eyes; or ears.

silver leaves
the olive tree dripping
light
***
Blog Action Day 2015.
This haibun was written in response to the theme #RaiseYourVoice – in support of those who can’t.
Inspired by “Workers Disturb My Sleep in Beijing”
by Salvatore Attardo, published in Cha 
.
#BAD2015 #Oct16 #blogactionday

‘Dear Yannis’ in poetsonline.org

Dear Yannis

In our hands, you said, we hold
the shadow of our hands. I know
the cold absence of the marbles,
olives sprouting from the cracks.

The coffee grinder turns
slowly, gently. The moon
still kind, bathes our wrinkled
hearts in light. In silver. In sorrow.

Old souls sitting by the river
listening to the boat engine
starting, coughing, spitting,
dying. Starting again.

(to Yiannis Ritsos, in response to his poem “Absence”)
.
Poem written to the poetsonline prompt: Dear Poet: Epistles to the Poets. For the other poems on the poetsonline.org blog, please see Archive, ‘Dear Poet’ on their site.

Please note English spelling of the original Greek name varies (Yiannis [e.g. Wikipedia], Yannis [e.g. Poetry Foundation]). Wikipedia lists a number of variants: ‘Yannis or Yiannis or Giannis (Γιάννης) is a common Greek name, a variant of John (Hebrew) meaning “God is generous.” Variants include Ioannis (Ιωάννης), YanniIannisYannakis; and the rare “Yannos”, usually found in the Peloponnese and Cyprus.’

Daniel Klein’s ‘Travels with Epicurus’

Travels with Epicurus,Daniel Klein,Greece,Hydra,I’ve been reading Daniel Klein’s ‘Travels with Epicurus, and reflecting on the concept of play in relation to the life stages we all go through.

Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher and the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism. Born on Samos, he lived in Athens and Asia-Minor. Epicurus is known for teaching that the purpose of philosophy is to attain a happy, tranquil life.

Answering the question “How does one make the most of one’s life?” Epicurus’s answer, according to Klein, was that

the best possible life one could live is a happy one, a life filled with pleasure. At first look, this conclusion seems like a no-brainer, the sort of wisdom found in a horoscope. But Epicurus knew this was only a starting point because it raised the more troublesome and perplexing questions of what constitutes a happy life, which pleasures are truly gratifying and enduring, and which are fleeting and lead to pain, plus the monumental questions of why and how we often thwart ourselves from attaining happiness.

I have to admit that I experienced a pang of disillusionment when I first realized that Epicurus was not an epicurean… i.e. a sensualist with gourmet appetites. Let me put it this way: Epicurus preferred a bowl of plain boiled lentils to a plate of roasted pheasant infused with mastiha (a reduction painstakingly made from the sap of a nut tree), a delicacy slaves prepared for noblemen in ancient Greece. This was … Epicurus’s hankering for personal comfort, which clearly included comfort foods. The pheasant dish titillated the taste buds, but Epicurus was not a sensualist in that sense: he was not looking for dazzling sensory excitement. No, bring on those boiled lentils! For one thing, he took great pleasure in food he had grown himself—that was part of the gratification of eating the lentils. For another, he had a Zen-like attitude about his senses: if he fully engaged in tasting the lentils, he would experience all the subtle delights of their flavor, delights that rival those of more extravagantly spiced fare. And another of this dish’s virtues was that it was a snap to prepare.

(From Waterstones, Non-Fiction Book of the Month)

The defining concepts of such a happy life, according to Epicurus, are ataraxia — i.e. peace and freedom from the disturbances of anxiety and greed — and aponia — the absence of pain — achieved through living a non-demanding, humble life surrounded by friends.

Klein’s book, taking its cue from this philosophy, is asking how best to think about growing into old age, and how best to live through this stage of life. The tendency nowadays, Klein points out, is to escape ageing, by spending our lives trying to remain forever young: sport, transplants and implants, botox, diets, all means to prolong and promote youthful looks. But are we missing out on an important stage of our lives, Klein asks.

Hydra, Greece

 

To look into this question, the author packed a number of books, and staying on Hydra, Greece — where travel is restricted to going on foot, cycling, or riding a donkey — meditated on the issue. The answer he came up with in this book is playful, but I have no intention of reproducing it here. Suffice to say that with all the turmoil of this week’s Greek elections and heated debates, a calm book on growing older, set on a Greek island, juxtaposing the old with the new, matching island life with world-renowned philosophers, provides a much needed good, as well as romantic, counter-balance.

In his unhurried pace, watching a group of friends playing a game of cards, walking the hilly paths of the island, discussing beauty and youth, Klein takes us on his Epicurean journey, savouring the moments of insight, the juxtapositions of beautiful descriptions of nature and human nature with philosophical descriptions of ‘lived time’.

I enjoyed this quirky book, slowed down, looked up references to this and that… thought of acquaintances in Greece who, troubled by their country’s misfortunes, contrary to the Hydriotes observed by Klein, have all but forgotten their ‘ataraxia’; have meditated on the notions of austerity vs growth, and their effects on the mind, long enough.

A timely reminder of Epicurean notions then, a needed breath of fresh air? A New Year’s resolution? Even for those who may not be lacking in material resources, but may be short of (perceived) time?

The language in the book is simple, the images memorable, the light clear… So, keep calm, keep thinking, experiencing… it’s not that difficult to be authentically old… one day… eventually! Alternatively, one can always become a Stoic!

full snow moon
the tightrope bathed
in light

.

You can read the first chapter of this book here

Greek Dinner Around the World, 2015

#GreekDinner, Stella Pierides,The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus (624 – 546 BC), is credited with the saying,

A sound mind in a sound body,’

pointing to the close relationship between physical exercise, mental equilibrium and the ability to enjoy life. It seems a good incentive to incorporate in the New Year’s resolution to improve our health, whatever the state we are in.

So, partly in the spirit of this, on the 15th of January each year, a global event takes place: Greek Dinner Around the World. The main goal is to celebrate Greek culinary culture, Greek cuisine as it is known in every part of the globe, and promote the people, authors, chefs, businesses who are connected to Greece. Everyone is invited for a Greek dinner with friends and family. Partners to this initiative host a dinner using Greek products and Greek dishes. Afterwards, they share a photo of their endeavors and experiences, and tweet using the hashtags #GreekDinner and #EatGreek.

This year, for the second time, I took part in the global celebration of Greek culinary culture, by sharing a delicious Greek meal with friends and family. And books, of course. We met at Lemonia, the old favourite in Primrose Hill. The food was good – especially the fish, which was a ‘miracle,’ to use a Greek expression – the company excellent, and well, the evening a treat. Only problem: we all ate a little too much. We discovered the limits to Thales’ saying. After a point, the amount of food, and drink, interfere with both mind and body! Which led us to resolve next year to follow another Greek saying: the Aristotelian

Παν μέτρον άριστον, i.e., Everything in moderation

Many thanks to Keri Douglas for her tireless efforts in promoting this event.

There was also food for thought. I brought two of my books –collections of short stories on Greek themes — to the table: Feeding the Doves, and The Heart and Its Reasons

και του χρονου

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

‘effortless’

stories
emerging from their cocoons…
effortless

 Rebetiko is the urban blues of the old port areas of the Eastern Mediterranean – Smyrna/Izmir, Istanbul, Syros, Piraeus, and Thessaloniki. If you happen to be in London, you can listen to this soulful music most Monday evenings at the JCR of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, lovingly performed by members of the SOAS Rebetiko Band. SOAS Rebetiko emerged out of  music seminars organized by Ed Emery. It is a free event, you only need to sign-in as a visitor at the School entrance/Porter’s desk.

This year, a new event is being organzed by the rebet lovers: The Rebetiko Carnival.

Check it out, and if you can go, go!

.

NaHaiWriMo prompt: Effort

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).

*

— “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*

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–“… 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

*

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

—–

Two more reviews of “Feeding the Doves”

Two more reviews of my book “Feeding the Doves“: one on Amazon.com, the other on Amazon.co.uk.

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 can be read on Amazon.co.uk
*

I am putting together quotes from all reviews with links here. Have you read them all?

My first #GreekDinner Day

The #GreekDinner Day has come and gone. At the Greek restaurant, lots of meze, lamb (poor lamb!), wine, and baklava. Great food and great company. There should be more days like this.

BeFunky_eatgreekweb.jpgMany thanks to Keri Douglas for organizing this event. Many thanks too, to all the people who took part and spread the message. I got to know a few wonderful bloggers and hope to keep in touch.

I’m already looking forward to next year! Wait, come to think of it, why wait? I could have Greek food every day. So could you! #EatGreek!

 

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.”

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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.”

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

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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?
BeFunky_Ve Chains.jpg
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.

……………………………………………………………………………………………

– 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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Feeding the Doves: First Goodreads reviews!

Good news first: Three reviews of my “Feeding the Doves” are now up on Goodreads! They can be viewed by clicking and scrolling down here (though you need to sign in to see them all).  A big thank you to the readers who took the time to read and comment.

Pigeons on the bridgesmall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bad news? I tried configuring the Goodreads Reviews button for my website and failed! The button would show the latest reviews as they appear on the right of this page. Instead, in that space, I only managed to include the Goodreads URL!