Photo taken during a recent walk up the Lainbach, Benediktbeuern.
the longest day
passed me by
NaHaiWriMo prompt: Float
evening downpour –
and The Snail
NaHaiWriMo prompt: even(ing)
Click the link to see Matisse’s ‘The Snail’
this small boat
bobbing on calm waters…
NaHaiWriMo prompt: essence
PAD Day #25 prompt: Last straw
the last straw
PAD Day #24: Tell it to (the world)
the whole world about it
PAD #21: back to basics
back to basics
the hint of stubble
on his chin
knowing the way
Presence #49, 2014, p. 29
after the floods
on the houseboats
NaHaiWriMo Prompt: boat
Also inspired by a very interesting article in The Guardian Society pages about houseboats on the Thames and their occupants: ‘My life in London’s houseboat slums‘. It reminded me of my walks along the river Lee too, and the houseboats I used to see there.
In the Garden of Absence
by Stella Pierides
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”
How to obtain a copy:
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 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 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
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
all hands on deck
the soup kitchen full
11th International kukai February 2013, 10th place tied
In a few days, on the first of February, National Haiku Writing Month begins. Again. Once a year, during the shortest month of the year, the shortest form of poetry is being celebrated by writing at least one haiku a day for the duration of the month. And so a dark, dismal month, in the Northern hemisphere, that is, is being transformed through haiku. (No doubt, the poets in the Southern Hemisphere see this differently. I look forward to hearing what they say… )
Once again, the world becomes quieter. A sense of awe and expectation grips the bankers, the nurses, the old age pensioners, the performers, the writers, the psychologists, the traffickers. All eyes are glued to the NaHaiWriMo panel, waiting for the day’s prompt to appear. The moment it appears, the magic unfolds. Noradrenaline flows. Nerve cell upon nerve cell get activated, electrical signals spread, transmitter substances are released, sending out tentacles of attention to gather material.
do not disturb —
gathering of poetry
What a state of mind to be in! Though some poets are more relaxed than others!
The moon, a grain of sand, the sound of the carburetor, the horse’s neighing, the blackbird’s song, waves rolling to the shore; the child’s hand, a kite, tomatoes… Whether snow, cold or warm weather, the poets are watching and waiting, fingers poised over the laptop to catch it, hold it in the palm of their hand, share it.
Will you join NaHaiWriMo? Do if you can bear the world come nearer to you; if you believe you can hear the wind’s voice; if you can let this big, big wonderful world sing to you. If not, you’ll be fine. Just watch from a distance: read what these daring poets are attempting to do, day in day out, here
Michael Dylan Welch, the founder and coordinator of the group, put together a first anthology of the group’s work in August 2012, “With Cherries on Top”. It is a PDF of astounding beauty. And so it goes,
again this insatiable need
to come into bloom
Chen-ou Liu (劉鎮歐), Chinese-Canadian poet, essayist, editor, translator, with numerous awards up his poetic sleeve, has started a new web-based project titled NeverEnding Story, a First English-Chinese Bilingual Haiku and Tanka Blog, in which he aims, in his words,
“to fulfill my butterfly dream portrayed in the haibun, entitled “To Liv(e),” which was published in Frogpond, 34:3, Fall 2011. I hope it can bring the beauty of English language Japanese short form poetry to Chinese readers around the world”
His dream is to put NeverEnding Story on the literary map of “Cultural China,” the one “that has been promoted by Tu Weiming (杜維明), Research Professor and Senior Fellow of Asia Center at Harvard University, who authored “Cultural China: The Periphery as the Center,” Daedalus, Vol. 134, No. 4, Fall, 2005, pp. 145-167.”
Chen-ou has already collected a good number of poems and it seems to me he is well on his way to turning his dream into reality.
I am really honored to be included in this project, and for my poem to be translated into Chinese. It can be read in its English and Chinese forms here
Do visit NeverEnding Story, and if you are a haiku or tanka poet, do submit. There is an anthology on the cards, and essays, lit crit and more wonderful stuff on offer.
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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
Every year on the 21st of March UNESCO celebrates World Poetry Day. A decision to proclaim 21 March as World Poetry Day was adopted during the UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris in 1999.
For UNESCO, “the main objective of this action is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities. Moreover, this Day is meant to support poetry, return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, promote teaching poetry, restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music, painting and so on, support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art…” Link here
So, Happy World Poetry Day everyone!
guessing game –
from dusk to dawn
the sea darkens
In ‘a handful of stones‘ 12 January 2012