Tag Archives: Maria Pierides

Ekphrasis: Between Image and Word

Over the past few months, I have been collaborating with artist and painter Maria Pierides on an ekphrastic project. The result is  Ekphrasis, the forthcoming exhibition at King Street Gallery, featuring 24 of Maria’s marvellous paintings together with my haiku responses to each of her paintings. A book of the exhibition will be available at the show.

King Street Gallery, Carmarthen, Wales, announced the forthcoming event in Welsh Country Magazine:

M Pierides & S Pierides exhibition of paintings & poetry

A new exhibition which opens on 27th October in the Chate Room, King Street Gallery, showcases a dynamic new collaboration between painter Maria Pierides and poet Stella Pierides.

Delighted! So much looking forward to it! I copy below the full notice:

“Ekphrasis: Between image and word” presents new paintings by Maria Pierides – and a response to each of those paintings by Stella Pierides with haiku, the shortest of poetic forms. Maria Pierides’work is inspired by her surrounding landscape, cultural identity, history, myth, time – and poetry. Maria’s visual abstractions are the outcome of conversations with the artist’s being in a particular place at a given time, shortcuts of her lived experience in colour, in texture, in paint. The collaboration with Stella Pierides, who responds to the paintings with haiku, adds layers of meaning that expand in ever widening circles and offer new and unexpected inroads to the paintings. Between image and word; between substance, imagination, and reflection; and between the past and the present, a world resonates, inviting us to engage with the whole of our being. To coincide with her solo show at King Street Gallery, Maria is working on a book featuring a selection of paintings with the haiku written in response to them. King Street Gallery artist Matt Pearce said:

“Despite having been showing at KSG for less than a year, Maria’s work already has an extraordinary following at the Gallery because of its unique emotional impact.

We are very excited about Maria’s forthcoming exhibition which adds to her paintings a response – in poetry – by Stella Pierides,
which will inspire a new dialogue around the paintings.”

Ekphrasis,painting,haiku,

A private view takes place at King Street Gallery on Friday, the 27th of October from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Maria and I would be pleased to see you there. The exhibition runs until 16th Nov.

For more information about King Street Gallery please visit: http://www.kingstreetgallery.co.uk

Paintings & Haiku Cards

Good to see my haiku travelling to new and exciting places, accompanying Maria Pierides’s forthcoming exhibitions of her paintings in a number of venues in South Wales.

Maria has printed selected haiku responding to her paintings on cards for all occasions and will be taking them to her exhibitions of her paintings.
Painting and Haiku Cards, Maria Pierides,If you happen to be in Wales, you may wish to visit the marvellous exhibition ‘Art at the Hall’, Temperance Hall, Llangathen, South Wales, from the 14 to 23 of April; or Maria’s excellent forthcoming solo show at King Street Gallery, Carmarthen, 27 October to 16 November 2017.
In addition to these exhibitions, Maria’s cards are available from King Street Gallery in Carmarthen  or you can email her directly at pieridesmaria@me.com

Of This World, just released by Red Moon Press!

Delighted to announce that Red Moon Press just released my haibun collection, Of This World

Of This World

Stella Pierides has cultivated a terse, idiosyncratic style in her haibun that is instantly recognizable, and as a consequence is one of the shining lights of this burgeoning genre. Of This World certainly is, but it also takes us out of the world at large and into private spaces we feel privileged to witness. A unique and satisfying read.

 

Red Moon Press
Amazon Europe
Amazon UK

I am grateful for the generous comments:

This is how it’s done! Stella Pierides — in a hushed voice — takes me through what it is to be human — and part of the human history from the roots of Western culture in Diogenes’ tub to the ‘modern’ human — with all the questions and doubts, the uncertainties that come from that.

— Johannes S. H. Bjerg, Writer

Of This World’s marvelous, emotionally resonant haibun are steeped in the grace of the garden, rooted in a physical reality so sensuous that you can smell the fragrance of baking bread, of olives and garlic, of lemon and magnolia blossoms — and yet they also spiral on the updraft of metaphor as poet Stella Pierides ‘put[s] our hearts in the shoes of the hummingbird.’

— Clare MacQueen, Editor-in-Chief, KYSO Flash

A treasure trove of language and image. Pierides walks through dark streets of history, through alleyways of memory – emerging in shiny, unexpected places. Compact, urgent and closely observant, these minute offerings will captivate readers of both poetry and short fiction. An enormously engaging collection.

— Michelle Elvy, Writer and Editor

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Of This World
ISBN: 978-1-936848-80-5
Pages: 124
Size: 6″ x 9″
Binding: perfect softbound

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

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.

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

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Available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de

Cover painting: ‘Port Isaac: Golden Light’ by Maria Pierides
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Fruit Dove Press / http://www.fruitdovepress.com
Email: admin@fruitdovepress.com
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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

Anselm Kiefer at the RA and Art Museum Walter

Inequality and Memory

The day before Anselm Kiefer was born, the house next door to his parents’ was completely destroyed. Only a sewing machine had remained intact. This event is linked, in several articles I came across, to his painter’s vision, his choice of subject, painting technique, and use of materials. Anselm Kiefer, Art Museum Walter,

It is as if he still breathes the dust he breathed in as a newborn; still lives among the rubble he creates in his painting/sculptures; still looks for the diverse, as if bomb-strewn, materials for the surfaces of his constructions.  There is a correspondence, an analogy, an equivalence between his original circumstances and his continued practice and vision in his work. A way of reconstructing memory, making it tangible; of keeping alive an event by reproducing its aftermath, expanding it in time. The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones would agree to this, as in his preview of the Royal Academy exhibition, he describes Kiefer’s show as

“an astonishing look at the awful burden of history”.

From the moment in time to expanding time, Kiefer’s objects do not stop this process of ‘remembering’ even when ‘finished’: the clay he uses shrinks, crumbles, and drops off; dried bits of material disintegrate, fall down, and become litter on the gallery floor to be returned to him. Even when the works don’t disintegrate, Kiefer ‘damages’ them deliberately, as if the state of being damaged, used, wounded, is the reality of painting. Here is where Kader Attia’s concern with re-appropriation of materials comes alive. Making/finding the rubble and turning it into a work of art, then turning this/letting this grow into rubble again, only to use the bits that come off in new work. Like the particles of the cosmos, on a microscopic level, Kiefer’s materials, and creations, belong together, morph, develop, die, and are reborn to a new form.

If this sounds benign, it is because Kiefer’s work reminds us to see it this way; it is a meditation on the ongoing, day to day processes of growth, decay, and regeneration. War, though, a main concern for Kiefer, and our time, is one of the most urgent and sudden, both violently disruptive and accelerative processes there are. When we linger in front of, or indeed around, a Kiefer piece, the terror and horror of the destruction of war; the awe of the immensity of scale come to mind: the holocaust (for Kiefer, perhaps the most personal reference); Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Congo, Gaza, Syria, Hiroshima… The beauty of the arrangements, of the depictions, and the terror of the depicted resonate with Rilke’s terrible angel which seems to be haunting Kiefer’s work.

Anselm Kiefer, Kunstmuseum Walter,Augsburg, So, inequality found in the polarities and the equivalences: Heaven and Earth; the moment and eternity; life and death; beauty and terror; growth and decay; memory and catastrophe. Claudia Pritchard, in The Independent, noting polarities in Kiefer’s work, quotes the claim of his being, arguably, ‘our greatest living artist’. Kiefer’s handling of the topic of memory as tangible and ever present will most probably ensure the continuing truth of this statement. Like the sunflower symbol he uses in his work, a head full of blackened seeds and beauty, Kiefer’s work contains the seeds of its own perpetuation. Pritchard quotes the exhibition curator, Kathleen Soriano,

“What I want people to take away from this show is not only the knowledge that he is a great painter, but also that he has great relevance.” Indeed Kiefer, she adds, is looking, like all of us, with great anxiety at today’s turbulent world. “He says you have to remember that history is cyclical.”

Recently, I revisited some of Anselm Kiefer’s work at the “Art Museum WalterKunstmuseum Walter at the “Glass Palace”, an industrial monument in Augsburg: Eleven ‘paintings’ and two sculptures on show. While they are not new — forty per cent of the Royal Academy work is said to have been created for the show — the Walter collection displays excellent work firmly rooted in time and memory, while remaining open to possibilities of interpretation (the photos included here are from the Art Museum Walter) .

A privately and expertly run gallery, Kunstmuseum Walter, is housed in the Glass Palace — a monument to the past of the textile industry — which aims to show history being alive in the present,

“[involving] a continual confrontation with the present. The concept of a living museum is an essential part of the TIM [Textile Industry Museum] programme. In the textile machine section, former textile workers demonstrate the machines with an authenticity not to be found elsewhere.”

Here too is an equivalence: the metaphor of the sewing machine from Anselm Kiefer’s past finds an echo in Germany’s textile industry surviving destruction. Interesting to note that, in this context, some have referred to Augsburg as the ‘Manchester of Germany’, echoing the transition from a crafts-/guild-based industry to one of machine-based mass production, including the exploitation, poverty, and social upheaval this involved. In this juxtaposition, Kiefer’s work, in bringing together the themes of inequality and memory, continues to weave anew the fabric of history.

If you can, visit the Art Museum Walter. Information about it here.

If you are not in Augsburg, or London, you need not worry. In Kent, there is an exhibition to console your artistic longings: my daughter Maria Pierides’ solo show at Creek Creative Studios in Faversham. 23 — 28 September 2014. Rush there, the Studios are open only till 4 pm on Sunday the 28th!

This post is part of a series of articles on the theme of Inequality, written for Blog Action Day 2014:

Malevich at Tate Modern

Phylida Barlow at Tate Britain

Kader Attia, Whitechapel Gallery

Frank Auerbach at Tate Britain

*Photos: Stella Pierides, Kunstmuseum Walter

 

“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).
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— “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

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.