SONNETS PRESS RELEASE
“A beautifully written book of poetry described by the author as a series of poems that ‘depicts the forbidden love between an Amazonian indigenous woman (a Tupi-Kawahib) and her husband’s guest (a European explorer).’ The author writes with vivid phrases and powerful sentiment for the beauty of the Amazon. Images of vibrant plant life and haunting night skies fill her prose. Many of the poems mention different bird species and touch on metaphors for flying, taking flight, and migration. The soul is often highlighted throughout the writing as if it, too, could take flight. The author describes birds mating for life in the same way the narrator wishes to stay with her one true love forever. Romantic and inspiring, the narrator writes with an empowering sense of self-confidence that readers will respond well to. . . . The author is clearly skilled in the delicate art of writing sonnets.”—the US Review of Books
For Immediate Release
A LOVE TRIANGLE IN BRAZIL’S RAINFOREST
Summary: Author Yolanda A. Reid’s latest book is Sonnets to the Japim Bird, her debut poetry book, which depicts the love story of an indigenous woman and her husband's guest set in the Brazilian rainforest.
Title: Sonnets to the Japim Bird
Author: Yolanda A. Reid
ISBN# 978-0-9837440-1-6; ISBN# 978-0-9837440-5-4
Publication date: June 5, 2017; To be announced
# pages: 51
Publisher: E-leaf Press
Format: ebook; paperback
Author Yolanda A. Reid has long been interested in indigenous peoples, especially the tribes in Brazil. For her latest book, Sonnets to the Japim Bird, she wrote a series of sonnets after reading a magazine article about an indigenous woman wed to the cultural anthropologist who was studying her tribe, the Yanomami. Taking poetic license, Ms. Reid created the poems around a love triangle: an indigenous married woman of the Tupi-Kawahib tribe falls in love with her husband's guest, a European.
The book's cover photo, by husband and wife photographers Dos and Bertie Winkel, is of a young Yanomami woman wearing four facial piercings, a sapphire beaded necklace, and yellow feather earrings. Also, the photo subject bears a 'face painting' of dark-brown zigzag lines--etched in a vegetable dye--over her nose, cheeks, and forehead.
In indigenous culture, face paint is often used in ritual tribal ceremonies such as coming-of-age, funeral, in declaration of war, in celebration, or as the individual's self-expression. Tribal women devote several hours daily to painting their family, relatives, and other members of their village.
According to The Handbook of South American Indians, in 1916, the Tupis numbered about 2,500 tribal members. Beginning in 1918, their population was decimated by influenza, incurred soon after a military expedition led by General Candido da Silva Rondon found them in the Brazilian rainforests. Today, there are 50 members.
In a recent interview, Ms. Reid mentioned that she’d also been inspired by poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her book, Sonnets from the Portuguese. In the Author’s Note of Sonnets to the Japim Bird, she writes, “In contrast, the sonnets I found most romantic, imbued with authentic love and longing, were written by poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning to her future husband, poet Robert Browning. . . . I liked the backstory--two poets in love, in secret, as they crafted beautiful poetry to each other. After a nearly two-year courtship, the two lovers eloped to live happily in Italy.”
Once Robert Browning read these sonnets, he insisted that she publish them. The title was an artful attempt at obscuring the author and the poems’ true nature. So in 1850, the sonnets were presented as translations of a Portuguese poet. In a letter to a friend, she wrote, “Love’s love.” (In a recent blogpost, Ms. Reid chronicles Mrs. Browning’s life and poetry in detail.)
Today Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnets are regarded as classics, the gold standard in love poems and poetry craftsmanship. Invariably, Sonnet 43 is often quoted: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways/I love thee to the depth and breadth and height/My soul can reach . . . .”
Sonnets to the Japim Bird was released on June 5, 2017--three weeks before the 156th anniversary of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's death on June 29, 1861.
Review copies are available.
Paperback format: TBA
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Author Yolanda A. Reid grew up in New York. She began writing poems and short stories as a child and teen. Throughout college, she wrote, even as she earned a B.A. (with honors), then attended graduate school. She has also tutored and taught English and creative writing (poetry workshops). Her two novels--Porridge & Cucu: My Childhood and The Honeyeater--are the first two installments of a novel trilogy she has planned for several years. Her poems and short fiction have appeared in literary journals and e-zines such as Starlight Poets I & II ; Mysteries of the Lyric World; Best New Poets, and others.
Ms. Reid's debut poetry collection, entitled Sonnets to the Japim Bird, depicts the forbidden love between an Amazonian indigenous woman (a Tupi-Kawahib) and her husband’s guest (a European explorer). It is a love story set in the Brazilian rainforest. Among her favorite authors are Doris Lessing, Isabel Allende, Elizabeth Gilbert, Emily Bronte, and Jung Chang. Of poets, Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Anna Akhmatova. Her book review blog is "Y Reid Books?" at www.yreidbooks.blogspot.com. Her most recent personal essay is "The Bird's Nest: How I Learned Chinese"."* In addition to English, she speaks Spanish, French, and very beginner-Chinese. She lives in the US. For more info, visit www.thehoneyeaternovel.com.