Tag Archives: haibun

‘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

Kader Attia, Whitechapel Gallery

Near Brick Lane and Spitalfields Markets, and amidst the hustle and bustle of a Saturday afternoon crowd, I discovered Kader Attia’s (b. 1970, Paris) new work of art at the Whitechapel Gallery, “Continuum of Repair: The Light of Jacob’s Ladder.” No photographs were allowed, but I took a picture of his taped interview that was shown at the Gallery, which gives you a good idea of the installation visible in the background.

Said to be inspired by the religious story of Jacob’s ladder (specifically Jacob’s vision of angels ascending to heaven), as well as by the history of the room of the installation itself (it was the reading room of a former library), it is a work that engages, questions, moves and, well, speaks volumes!

The leaflet of the exhibit describes,

“a warmly lit cabinet of curiosities above which a vast mirror reflects a beam of light, transforming it into rungs of a ladder to infinity. A series of marble busts of wounded soldiers from World War I and repaired North African wooden learning boards (ketab) observe this towering structure of bookshelves filled with centuries of accumulated human knowledge.”

It is in this context of knowledge overseen and underlined by war and destruction, that Attia’s concept of repair acquires extra layers of meaning, adding depth to our quest for ever increasing heights of aspiration. This work is a detailed and serious reflection on our Faustian search for knowledge and certainty, for ever new ideas and creativity to define our identity, and the illusions, and disillusionment this effort entails. Our ‘new’ creations, placed within the context of history of science, of art, of humanity, are shown to be, on some level, ‘appropriations’, or ‘partial repairs’ of what has come before, what has been previously discovered, then forgotten/destroyed, and lost; on another level, this rediscovery serves as a prompt to humility: our ideas, our achievements are but a part of a greater whole and not so much new, as rediscoveries, archaeological specimens in the cabinet of a wider, richer, and vast cosmos.

It is in this sense that Attia sees himself not as an artist, but as a researcher, looking into the meeting points as well as shifts of meaning between ideas and cultures, appropriation and reappropriation, and repair between East and West. Attracted by the fragility, malleability, and ultimate instability of meaning, understanding, and materials, Attia builds his castles out of all sorts of objects, including plastic bags, foil, couscous. We are all part of this process, he says:

“I like the way it (material) gradually loses its substance. The artist is the shadow of the art work.”

inspiring
the sands of time
in a bottle
.

This post is part of a series written for Blog Action Day, to be held on the 16th of October 2014, on the theme of Inequality.

Attia contributes to a body of work that reflects on the effects of human ambition — First and Second World Wars, and their aftermath, of colonial and imperial ambitions — and the attempts to rebuild, repair, and re-appropriate its objects.

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The Guardian review

Independent review

 

‘internet of things’

Bringing technology to life,” the scientists of today create a mechanical, Frankestein-like world, where, everything that can take a “mobile-connected chip” becomes “alive”, and part of the internet of things! Actions, reactions, and interactions in this world are automated and devoid of meaning.
.
internet of things
my toothbrush orders
its own replacement

.

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?

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.

.

‘another country’ a haiku taken from its haibun!

Over at the The Haiku foundation site, there is talk of naked haiku! Haiku, that is, taken away from a haibun, standing out on its own without the prose it was meant to accompany.

I shared one of my own  as a comment on the THF November Per Diem blog post. Here it is:
.
another country
the snowflakes taste
of salt
.

(This haiku was originally part of the haibun “Parcels”, published this year in Frogpond, 2013, 36:2)

‘Human Rights and Wrongs’ in Amnesty’s Livewire blog

Amnesty International’s Livewire blog features the blog post I wrote for Blog Action Day 2013, “Human Rights and Wrongs”. One of their three favourite blogs, it can be seen by clicking here

Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 3 million supporters, members and activists in over 150 countries and territories who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights.” Read more about Amnesty’s work here

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!

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

“Feeding the Doves” is now a Goodreads Giveaway!

Dear Friends,

I’ve listed my book “Feeding the Doves” in Goodreads Book Giveaways! There are 12 free copies (print) available to win. Giveaway dates for entering: Aug 25-Sep 25, 2013.

This is how it works:
1: The easy way: See the Goodreads badge on the right side of this Homepage, click to enter!
2: The slightly less convenient way: Find the book in Goodreads (here) and click the enter to win button there.

Either way, Goodreads will do the rest! After the 25th of September they will notify me the list of winners and I will post the books to them!

Good luck to all who enter!

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

***

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.

***

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.

.

Feeding the Doves

Forthcoming

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

Greece has been in the headlines for a very long time. Since ancient times, her  philosophers, historians, mathematicians, shipbuilders, traders, and artisans have been making the news – and, indeed, history. So, amidst the country’s most difficult  years in recent times, many people believe that they know Greece and the Greeks.

.
Against this backdrop, the stories – short and very short – collected in “Feeding the  Doves” explore recurrent elements of the Greek psyche, tracing them back to challenges posed by the country’s history and environment. The widow, the old loner,  the refugee, the immigrant, the writer, the expatriate tell us their stories, touching  upon themes at the heart of Greek being, as well as our common humanity: love and l  loss, war, civil war, immigration and diaspora, emigration, poverty, religion, history,  and above all, the will to survive.

 

Cover Design:
Rob Ward, Freelance Animator

Fruit Dove Press
Email: admin@fruitdovepress.com
.
[The title story “Feeding the Doves” and the cover image were inspired by a photo taken by Robert Geiss, titled “Feeding Doves” and posted on his (sadly, no longer active) blog “Daily Athens Photo.”]

‘The Price of Youth’ in Contemporary Haibun Online, April 2013

‘The Price of Youth’ appears in Contemporary Haibun Online, April 2013, vol 9, no 1 and can be read by clicking here

The text is also copied below:

The Price of Youth

The hairdresser swirls and swings her ample hips to the music, her flesh quivering. I catch my reflection in the mirror, lips hanging downwards, and shocked, I make a conscious effort to lift the corners of my mouth. She swipes a hand-held mirror like a credit card behind my head, beaming, proud of her work. I smile back spontaneously, pleased with her work too.

young again
this old seed-head approaches
a new year

‘Seasons’ in Contemporary Haibun Online, April 2013

‘Seasons’ appears in Contemporary Haibun Online, April 2013, vol 9, no 1 and can be read by clicking here 

It can also be read below:

Seasons

His eyes sweep the coffee table, taking in the piles of books, the envelopes, the dust. For a moment, I regret I didn’t put them away earlier, didn’t polish the surfaces.

His gaze returns to rest on me calmly, as if he hadn’t been collecting information for our younger colleagues to talk about. I recall one of the others telling me he’d noticed I kept an atlas on my desk for seven years. What of it? What else could I do before Google maps?

We, the older generation, have become something to be observed, monitored, talked about. She writes haiku, they say, raising their eyebrows knowingly, exchanging glances. She’s aged…

I remember how we watched our children and our friends’ children, amused ourselves with their quirkiness, their funny ways, we mimicked their manner of speech; we wondered at the milk teeth, marvelled at their rate of growth. Now they amuse themselves observing us. We meant well, and so do they, I am sure.

the Earth revolves
round its axis –
rhododendrons again

‘Homewards’ in Haibun Today, March 2013 (the text)

My haibun “Homewards” appears in Haibun Today and can be read by clicking here 

Vol.7, No. 1, March 2013

It can also be found below:

Magnolia
Magnolia Exmouth

Homewards

The garden at the back of the Edwardian terrace which is my London home is small but compact. A Magnolia Grandiflora Exmouth grows in its middle, a variety that keeps its glossy, oblong leaves in winter and blossoms in summer. White, deliciously fragrant flowers grace the tree unfailingly, giving me hours of pleasure upon my return from my European excursions. But the neighbor complains about the tree shading her garden. Each year I chop off branches to keep her happy. Each year I dread hearing from her.

sunlight
a dove crosses
the border

.

For Journal publications in 2012 and earlier, please click in the drop-down menu.

.

Haibun Today, March 2013

My haibun “Homewards” appears in Haibun Today and can be read by clicking here 

Vol.7, No. 1, March 2013

It can also be read below:

Homewards

The garden at the back of the Edwardian terrace which is my London home is small but compact. A Magnolia Grandiflora Exmouth grows in its middle, a variety that keeps its glossy, oblong leaves in winter and blossoms in summer. White, deliciously fragrant flowers grace the tree unfailingly, giving me hours of pleasure upon my return from my European excursions. But the neighbor complains about the tree shading her garden. Each year I chop off branches to keep her happy. Each year I dread hearing from her.

sunlight
a dove crosses
the border

 

Other Worlds (haibun)

Other Worlds

I had been walking for hours. Hungry, thirsty, sweat dripping down my face, I was hardly capable of thinking, or imagining, my usual pastimes. Yet, here it was, in front of me, an impossible sight, a mirage. What else could this door-frame be in the middle of fields, in the center of the Peloponnese?

The air around me was hot, suffocating, as if half of the baked earth had floated upwards and was now swimming in it; it resonated thick with the sound of cicadas. The relentless sun had been plaguing me all morning. And it was the sun – more than anything else – that made me sit under that frame; on the thin band of shade it provided.

Resting my head on my knees, I lost consciousness. I don’t know how long I was out, but when I came to the frame was casting an elongated shadow.

Getting up, I felt my knees stiffen. I took a closer look. I could now see this ‘thing’ was not really a door frame. It was carved out of a kind of wood I had not seen before, of a tree I’d never encountered in my life.

Puzzled I touched it lightly. It moved! Alarmed, I jumped back. It stopped moving. I started feeling the frame for clues.

At the top right hand corner I traced something protruding, something like a splinter or a thin nail. I pulled gently. A slight breeze brushed my face, as if a door had been opened. I could smell jasmine, lemon and tar all mixed up; I could taste the salt of the Aegean sea! I heard the cries of sea-gulls and the flutter of their wings. A door had really been opened to another world.

doors –
butterflies
on wild thyme

.

A version of this haibun was published in Contemporary Haibun OnlineJan 1, 2012, vol 7 no 4

The Tree (Haibun)

The Tree

Sitting under a mulberry tree by the sea, in Alexandroupolis, Greece, near the border with Turkey, I stare across the sparkling water. A melancholy mood is sapping my energy. The ferry to Samothraki makes me wish to travel further on, but I know I’ve come far enough. This place, at the intersection of continents, symbolizes the crossroads in my own life, leaving behind my youth and entering middle age. I need a push, something to give me strength to take the next step.

I must have fallen asleep because when I come to dusk is falling like rain. I rub my eyes. The town lights flicker simultaneously with their reflections on the water. The notes of a flute pierce the air.

I muse about the times this town has passed between the Bulgarians, the Greeks, the Turks, the Russians; shudder at the thought of how much blood has been spilled. And yet humanity continues, the spirit survives whoever the ruler, whatever the belief. I realize the smallness of my own problem, the disease of vanity and self-preoccupation.

A crow lands next to me. We eye each other for a minute or two, then he flies away. Feeling a sense of acceptance wash over me, I walk to my Pension. The hostess noticing the lifting of my mood offers me a theory about what happened.

“It must have been the dervish, the Holy man of the fifteenth century,” she says. “He spent his days under a tree… he is buried there…”

“They buried him under his tree?”

“They say he still heals those who go to sit under it.”

“Is that the Mulberry tree…?” I start, trying to locate ‘my’ tree for her.

She shrugs, and then I know it does not matter.

.

in the salty air

a single leaf from his book –

dove with crow

In Contemporary Haibun Online, January 2012