The Oculus

by Stelios Mormoris


Poems of muscular power that reveal the rich vistas that surround us all, in which the humble objects of everyday life become divine, while the divine is humbled and humanized.


Format: Paperback
Published: October 2022

ISBN: 978-1-946507-08-2 Categories: ,

“Sun-dappled yet clear-eyed, foliate yet spare, pensive yet erotic, Stelios Mormoris’s The Oculus binds together tense oppositions to create poems of nearly muscular power. They fill themselves with the vitality of a life lived fully, brimming with experience and rife with memory.”

—Dan Beachy-Quick

“The poems in Mormoris’ The Oculus brim with evocative, wonderfully euphonious depth, that resonates long after their reading.”

—Courtney Love Cobain

“The poems in Mormoris’s debut collection scintillate with light thrown out from the streets of Paris, the Aegean, Christmas lights comforting a boy at night. Through the I of the poet—the oculus—the past weaves through the eye of the present. These are exquisite poems, dense and light at the same time, like mercury, infused with sharply observed places and studded with wit: wisteria that spreads like gossip; the poet’s dog, Zeus, rising from his Sphinx Pose; oysters ‘doing it’ as per Cole Porter’s famous song. The poet’s elegies to his mother in the final section of the book are especially evocative, rueful, and haunting. A stunning debut!”

—Nancy Schoenberger

“Fragrance guru and consummate executive Stelios Mormoris applies his powerful sensory gifts to his evocative, candid, and intimate poetry. He epitomizes the creative imagination at work.”

—Renée Fleming

“Like the Greek Archaic poets who surely are his forebears, Mormoris draws on the Olympians to weave memories with the everyday—Icarus and the purring cat. The alchemy of verse makes his longing and desire into ours. We travel through myth and the blurred edges of past present and past perfect to arrive in a moment perfectly painted in words.”

—Christine Kondoleon

“Like memory, sunlight itself is both elusive and overwhelming. We live and we compose our lives in the interstices, in gaps both riven and secured by Vision. In The Oculus, Mormoris bodies forth a vivid myth of the interstices, bathed in sunlight, swathed in shadow. The myth is irrefutable and also tenderly familiar, an Icarus in aftermath. Here are poems of serenity in turbulence, dearly welcome now.”

—Donald Revell

“Ever a colorful and compelling storyteller, Stelios Mormoris now reveals his world and beyond through poetry. The Oculus is a beautiful collection, and how lovely it is to discover more layers of Stelios.”

—Kylie Minogue

“As the title suggests, Stelios Mormoris’s The Oculus offers the reader a lush and vibrant view of the world. Mormoris’s view is expansive, revealing the gorgeous, rich vistas that surround us all in daily life. In these beautifully constructed poems, the humble objects of everyday life—‘tournedos of barley,’ ‘the fresh mint on a wet green melon’—become divine, while the divine is humbled and humanized. More than flight, what Icarus remembers is his ‘cat purring in a stand of reeds, my father sleeping with his hands on his face.’ Mormoris reminds us of how ‘necessary it is to lose yourself in tangles,’ in the beauty that surrounds us, no matter where we look.”

—Emma Bolden

Stelios Mormoris is a resident of Boston and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and formerly lived in Paris most of his life, working as an executive in the beauty industry. Stelios is currently Chief Executive Officer of Scent Beauty, Inc. He studied architecture at Princeton University, where he received his BA, and he received his MBA from INSEAD (Institut d’Européen d’Administration des Affaires) in Fontainebleau, France. He has held positions on the boards of the French Cultural Center of Boston, ACT-UP, Historic New England, and The Fragrance Foundation. Stelios is also a contemporary artist, specializing in abstract oil painting: His interests range from rugby to sailing to gardening, while continuing his passion for reading and writing poetry. The Oculus is his debut collection of poetry.

Additional information

Weight 0.34 lbs
Dimensions 6 × 8 in