Tag Archives: In the Garden of Absence

Light on a dark poem

Thrilled to have had a poem of mine discussed at re: Virals, The Haiku Foundation’s poem commentary feature. The poem is from my book In the Garden of Absence (Fruit Dove Press, 2012):

granny’s cushion
pulling the darkness out
pin by pin

It was chosen by Irish poet Marion Clarke, the previous week’s commentary winner. And right on Halloween, All Saints Day… which added extra layers of depth to my haiku. Thank you, Marion! And thank you too, to Garry Eaton and Beth McFarland for their insightful comments.

I love the re:Virals series, and look forward to reading the poems chosen and the commentaries written on them.

Would you like to take part? Anyone can participate. There is a new poem each Friday on the site (chosen by the previous week’s winning commentator) for you to comment on. Simply put your take in the Contact box by the following Tuesday midnight. . .and there you have it, good luck! The best commentary will be reproduced in its entirety on the site and kept permanently in the THF Archives.

‘swaying branch’ and ‘moment of stillness’

swaying branch
the hummingbird here
and not here
.
moment of stillness
just before the light
changes
haiku,poetry,International Haiku Poetry Day 2015, From In the Garden of Absence (Fruit Dove Press, 2012), my book of haiku and micro poetry.

The ‘hummingbird’ poem is also included in my film presentation for HaikuLife ‘Haiku Journey‘ organised by The Haiku Foundation and shown together with several other entries to the event on International Haiku Poetry Day, April 17, 2015. The event was an enormous heart-warming, global literary celebration of haiku, and if you missed it, you can catch up through the blog posts on the THF site and the links here

Munich Book Fair, Muenchner Buechershau

Muenchner BücherschauGood news! I am delighted to report that Fruit Dove Press is taking part in the 55th Munich Book Show, at the Gasteig, in Munich, which takes place from the 20 November – 7 December 2014. Various interesting events are planned: authors’ readings, interviews, talks, and above all the opportunity to leaf through wonderful books. Look for Fruit Dove Press here

If you are around, drop in and take a look. I am very much looking forward to the events, especially listening to authors talk about their work.

Auf der Muenchner Buecherschau

Wir von Fruit Dove Press, Neusaess, freuen uns sehr, an der 55. Muenchner Buecherschau 2014 (20. November – 07. Dezember) teilzunehmen. Von uns ausgestellt werden folgende englischsprachigen Titel von Stella Pierides:

  1. In the Garden of Absence (Haiku; Fruit Dove Press, 2012), ausgezeichnet mit dem Memorial Merit Award der Haiku Society of America 2013, fuer 2012 erschienene Buecher (3. Preis)
  2. Feeding the Doves (Kurzgeschichten; Fruit Dove Press, 2013)
  3. The Heart and Its Reasons (Kurzgeschichten; Fruit Dove Press, November 2014)

Die Kurzgeschichtensammlung Feeding the Doves wurde exzellent rezensiert. Die neue Sammlung The Heart and Its Reasons erscheint rechtzeitig zur Muenchner Buecherschau. Wir freuen uns auf Ihren Besuch.

Results! BIG POETRY GIVEAWAY Winners!

So that was it! Inter-/National April Poetry Month 2014 is now over and done with! I hope you all had a great month of reading and writing poetry! I did, and I am particularly pleased to have completed the Writer’s Digest PAD Challenge. I wrote a poem a day (and more)! Now time to wind down (by writing a poem a day, of course!).

I am also pleased to have taken part in the BIG POETRY GIVEAWAY. This was the fifth year it was organized, but the first one in which I participated.
Four people’s names were taken out of my hat – and here they are:

24: Lissa Clouser won Parallels
14: Margo Roby won In the Garden of Absence
20: Linda won The Haiku Apprentice: Memoirs of Writing Poetry in Japan
13: Jennifer won Feeding the Doves

Congratulations to the winners.
Please email me giving your postal address, and full name at: stella(at)stellapierides(dot)com
and I will be posting the books to you in a few days.

A big thank you to all those who entered the draw.

A happy and productive, poetry-filled new month!

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

*

— “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

*

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

—–

‘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.

*

“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″

‘night flower’ (#3 March 2013) and ebook Week

night flower
crease of the pillow
on your cheek
.
NaHaiWriMo prompt: pressure

*

Note Special offer: I am taking part in the Smashwords ebook Week (site-wide promotion) – from midnight 3rd of March (Pacific Time) to 9th of March – offering the ebook version of my book “In the Garden of Absence” for free. You can get the book using the  coupon RW100 (at the checkout), valid only through my Smashwords  page here:

For more information about the book, please click here

For praise for the book here

Season’s Greetings and book voucher

Season’s Greetings to all my friends. May your coming year be filled with beautiful moments!
Thank you all for the inspiration, company, and support through 2012.

Season's Greetings
Season’s Greetings

 

 

 

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In case you have time over the holidays, here is a coupon (code: FB59R — valid from 25–29 December 2012) for a free e-book version of my “In the Garden of Absence” from Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/263461

Thanking Sheila Windsor

I would like to give special thanks today to UK poet Sheila Windsor for her warm recommendation of my book! I am honored and thrilled to read her wonderful comment on “In the Garden of Absence,” as well as her permission to include it here! In case you missed it, Sheila wrote:

“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.”

Thank you so much, Sheila!

(* The highlighting of titles and names was done by me!)

“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!

 

Small Kindnesses #27 November 2012

First a confession! I haven’t read Fiona Robyn’s book “Small Kindnesses” yet! I am grateful to her, though, for inviting me to her blogsplash to write a blog post about small kindnesses.

When I look back I feel gratitude for many things towards many people, though their acts of kindness feel huge to me. Are we, perhaps, belittling an act of kindness by calling it small? On the other hand, wasn’t the offer of a lift a small kindness? Carrying a heavy shopping bag for someone? The present of a smile?

Trying to choose one such act to write about, I went through various options, letting my thoughts run this way and that, but they always led me to my childhood home and to my grandparents. Finally, I settled on the following:

My grandparents, originally refugees from Izmir (the earlier Smyrni), in Asia Minor, lived in one of the refugee quarters of Athens, in a house with an inner courtyard full of plants, fruit, and flowers. They never wasted an olive oil tin – they used these tins as pots for basil, hydrangeas, carnations, geraniums… Crammed in a small space, they had rooms for renting out, a stable with a couple of horses, and hens – all in what was then just outskirts of Athens, but is now very near its center. Though the set-up sounds idyllic, they had a hard time making ends meet, finding the resources to make a living in a city and country that had not been welcoming to the refugees from Asia Minor.

Small Kindnesses The eggs they had were produced by their hens, the grapes by their vines, the figs came from a huge fig tree. Everything they ate, drank, wore had to be looked after, grown or mended, cost them energy and all of the hours of their day. They wanted me to have a better life. Even though my granny couldn’t read, she wanted me to be able to read and write. She encouraged me and gave me the space to do my own thing – even when I went round the house pulling out her precious plants to ‘make’ my own garden, took the eggs for my dolls; or spent hours under the vines reading my books and daydreaming instead of helping out with the chores.

Was this kindness? It was love, for sure. Kindness too. She could have demanded my help in the household. Each single time she didn’t, each time she didn’t complain, but let me be, let me do my own thing without pressure, or guilt, she acted with kindness towards me. All these ‘small’ gestures, moments, day in, day out, amount to a huge act of kindness and generosity on her part.

An act of kindness doesn’t have to come from a stranger. We tend to forget the acts of kindness we receive and offer in our everyday lives and relationships, as if love allows us to take those we love for granted.

So there you have it. I spoke about my grandparents’ garden and their kind presence in my post about small kindnesses, the title of Fiona Robyn’s book, “Small Kindnesses,” which is also the background to my own book, “In the Garden of Absence.”  I hope Fiona will take kindly to this dual path. I know I will be reading her book “’Small Kindnesses‘ – a gentle mystery story with gardener Leonard, dog Pickles & a dash of Johnny Cash” over Christmas.

You can read it too! In fact, it is free to download from Kindle UK and US all day today. See Fiona’s blog with more information about it here

In the Garden of Absence – Thank you!

While my first book of poetry, “In the Garden of Absence” is at the printers, being fitted into its paper dress, smoothed, sewn, and shaped physically into a book I can hold in my hands, I’d like to say

a huge thank you to Michael Dylan Welch for his generous Afterword “Presence in Absence.”

Also  a huge thank you to my daughter Maria Pierides for her permission to use one of her paintings, “Welsh Hill,” for the book cover, Maria Pierides and Rubin Eynon for designing the cover, and Thomas Geyer for his help with formatting the print edition.

Special thanks to the members of the nurturing NaHaiWriMo Facebook community (now over 1000 people!) for their continuing inspiration, warm support, and encouragement.

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

‘autumn loneliness’ #4 October 2012

autumn loneliness —
checking whether flames
defy gravity
.
NaHaiWriMo prompt: gravity
82/100 Days of Summer

.

I have been working on a micropoetry collection about loneliness, and the capacity to be alone, titled In the Garden of Absence. This poem is not included in the collection, but fits well with the theme. Enjoy!