'Whispers in the pastel galleries told of innuendoes', March 29, 2015

A New Orchid Myth (Kindle Edition)

In response to reading MY LITERARY PROFILE: A MEMOIR this reviewer made the following comment: For those who have fallen under the spell of Helene Pilibosian's edgy, probing, honest poetry this book will 1) come as no surprise, and 2) will come as a very big surprise - that a poet so fine as this lady can write history, particularly an autobiographical book, as cogent as MY LITERARY PROFILE: A MEMOIR. To try to cover the events related in this book would take a review far too long to hold the attention of the reader: a review should only inform the reader of the nature of a book. But in Helene Pilibosian's case we are talking about almost a lifetime of experiences that molded the poet she became ('almost', because she is still very much with us!), and skipping over lightly any portion of this conversation with the writer would seem negligent.

Though A NEW ORCHID MYTH takes a different approach to poetic themes, the above statement holds true. Best to let Helene proffer her view- `This is poetry, highly metaphorical modern poetry with an exceptional amount of subject matter that is based upon love, understanding and forgiveness. Poems about the states are based upon either travel to those states or reading about them. My love of flowers comes through adequately with orchids and sunflowers leading the reader. Sunflower seeds are delicious and nutritious, by the way, and play a large part in the story the book presents. My love for art is also expressed generously through many poems on the subject, these based upon study of them in college and in galleries and books. The lighthearted theme has a few grotesque moments, these also in a high metaphorical swing.'

A sample follows:


Never sad when I knew her,
she encouraged the orange of citrus
and pushed earthquakes aside.
She didn't hide from metaphors
the weather threw at her,
and she clapped with streetlamps
that loved light more than overcoats.
She had custody over Rt. 1
with adjectives of blue warmth,
wanting to paint scenes swaggering there
to show off their revival
or the revitalizing of sight.

Then there were special-effects
in San Francisco of ragtime,
in Santa Barbara of hip-hop,
in Glendale and Monterey of waltz.
She brought the full moon
out of hiding to San Diego
to revel in the sun's seasons
and listen to the pleasures of poetry.
Dances scattered like the dark's phrases,
declaring the yellow hoots of lights to be owls.
Human jaws grew strong as minds
where subterranean tunnels funneled cars.

The palm trees and the redwoods,
the forests and the yellow hills
without the long shadow of their fires,
boundaries of orchards and farms,
and the traffic of all inhabitants
manufactured her daily fare.
These gave her highways,
many reveries as well as cares.

It could be argued that Helene's poems are songs, so fluid is her balance of idea with the gradual unrolling of words. Yet it is difficult to label them, and there is no need to classify - these are just marvelous poems by a great lady. Grady Harp, March 15

In A NEW ORCHID MYTH, poet Helene Pilibosian creates a fantasy of intergalactic travelers in sound-rich, surreal verses that inspire a dream-like state in the reader. Her main characters, Ameth and Gran, the Everydreams, travel to Earth from their home planet, Tome, and explore adventures in New York, California, Colorado, and other points. Flowers, especially orchids and sunflowers, figure prominently in Pilibosian's tale, which unfolds with charm, wit, and opulence. The poet keeps her reader's ears ever-poised for unexpected rhymed couplets, as in "Two Gifts of Luck": "The chants of the ceremony / encircled their rings / and tied them with invisible strings." These act as small wake-up gongs to bring the reader out of the trance Pilibosian casts with her stunning lines. There's a bounty of such imagery as "Buttes and mesas reformed / the drape of their thoughts..." and "Complaints sometimes husked wheat, / dropped seed that unwrapped / and grew new plants out of old situations." Although the sci-fi first section dominates, the book's second section, "Tracings of American Space," is no less magical and surrealistic for discussing such subjects as Monday mornings, a discarded dress, and Florida orange trees. A NEW ORCHID MYTH requires alert reading even as it casts its spell; closing the book's covers is like awakening from an extraordinary dream.

--Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

From Knot Magazine, Turkey:

In award winning author Helene Pilibosian's new poetry collection A New Orchid Myth, she breaks free of culture with her charming free thinking fantasy characters, the Everdreams.

Then as the spell of Earth
planted the idea
that melded their views
and welded them into a rebellion,
the two Tomians unTomed willingly.
They set their stance on the flowers
like a petal of promise
stunned by that nuance of nature.

Awakened and alert
while curt custom slept,
they crept into the future.

(pg. 5)

This begins the fantastical adventure that takes the characters from their home on planet Tome, to places in America such as New York City, Colorado and California.

A father sang of silica,
the jasper of jewelry,
from the mines and ghost towns
that fluttered with the wind.
The Rocky Mountains threw
those echoes out like condor wings.

(pg. 21)

As any couple who starts fresh in a new environment, the Everdreams have worries --mainly concerning their daughter Taralee. Pilibosian expresses these with humor, charm, and the metaphor of flowers.

The Kirkus Riview writes of A New Orchid Myth, “As she takes the struggle to succeed in America and applies it to sci-fi, Pilibosian showcases her talent for creating swirls of surreal imagery.” (n.d.)

A New Orchid Myth showcases Helene Pilibosian's ability to break through her own barriers as a writer as she experiments with surrealism, myth, assimilation, rebirth and harmony. She does this beautifully in this charming collection. You will immediatley find yourself packing for the journey with the Everdreams and dreaming with them, the dream of life.

--Kristen D. Scott

Award winning author Kristen D. Scott's poems have published in many foreign and American journals, magazines, newspapers, and ezines. She has published two personal collections of poetry from Garden Oak Press, Liasions (2012) and her new collection Opiate (2014). Kristen is Editor In Chief, founder and web master of Knot Magazine. She resides on the Turkish Riviera.

In this imagery-drenched collection of poetry, Pilibosian (My Literary Profile, 2010, etc.) uses verse to tell the fantastical tale of two extraterrestrials who come to Earth to start a new life together. They say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere, but coming to the Big Apple from another town or country is one thing; Mr. and Mrs. Everydream, on the other hand, have come to the city from another world—the planet of Tome. As they build a life in the big city, they also travel throughout the United States and take in the sun-dappled orchards of California, the rush of the Colorado River, the Cajun jazz of the bayou, and the heat of the desert.

However, the Everydreams worry that their daughter, also on Earth, will be taken from them, apparently to help bring life back to their home world. So, in a rather vague plot, the couple turns to the orchids that thrive on Earth in the hope that these flowers will revitalize the people of Tome.

As she takes the struggle to succeed in America and applies it to sci-fi, Pilibosian showcases her talent for creating swirls of surreal imagery. One of the standout poems, “Where Was Everywhere?” has husband and wife descending to Earth in silver parachutes as New York’s ultimate immigrants: “They swore allegiance to symphony / to prove their patriotism / and tried to fathom the cymbal clash.” Also lush and lovely is “Stretching the Lyric,” which illustrates the Everydreams at a dance, as “[v]oices from under the sea / melted the smog into night / and drank ballads played on trumpets.”

Pilibosian describes her landscapes with color, music and sounds, the resulting poems becoming, at their core, loving depictions of life. A unique collection of verse with a sci-fi twist on the American dream.

--Kirkus Reviews

A Metamorphosis and the Process of Change

“A New Orchid Myth” is made up of original poems by Helene Pilibosian combining concepts and symbols of fantasy and reality. Pilibosian emits the aura of an era through her poetry. Whether allusion to the movie greats of Hollywood, the dreams of generations of Mr. and Mrs. Newlywed, or reference to the sunflower patterns of seeded gardens.

Her unique gift of creative imagery provides the reader with the aroma of citrus, the memory of a full moon over the San Diego night, or the vision of subterranean tunnels and funneled cars produce a sense of attentiveness and personal involvement.

I especially enjoyed her poem “The Giving Fifty” which features a panoramic view of the magnitude of the industry, geography, and beauty of the United States. She spotlights the violets of Rhode Island, the dogwood of Virginia, and the blue bonnets of Texas. She takes the reader to the excitement of the Rose Bowl Parade in California to the jazz clubs of the Deep South, and the vacation lands along the miles of the coast line.

“A New Orchid Myth” is a progression of change, optimistic about the future, realistic about the future, and reflective about the past. A touch of poetic genius.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Richard R. Blake –

Marianne Moore is a good starting place for entering Pilibosian's work. Their writings share the same natural kind of prosaic structure, attention to sibilance and syntax, and transformative quality. Pilibosian, now at a different point in her life, places herself as a successor of modernist ideals and attentiveness to image. -- Poet Alan Semerdjian

The beauty of her choice of words brings to mind delicacies, rich, delicious tidbits of many flavors. Contemporary themes bring to light the tenor of the times, the pressures brought about by the turmoil and uncertainties of today. -- Richard R. Blake,