Today it is my pleasure to welcome poet Utanu Maa and her book Rise and Fall of My Beloved.
Rise and Fall of My Beloved is a collection of poetry and prose about resilience—about the experience of stigma and rejection, disease and suffering, love and care, loss and grief—and also a testimony of gratitude, forgiveness and togetherness. Each of its three parts is a journey through life’s struggles, pain and loss, all of which require an inner force to overcome, build, rebuild, succeed and heal: resilience. It expresses an undercurrent to an imposed destiny or stigma.
Based on the life experience of my late brother, Rise and Fall of My Beloved is a tribute to mankind’s resilience to overcome adversities. The book takes readers from his vulnerable childhood as a neglected orphan set to die, through a childhood in which he was bullied, to his rise as an accomplished engineer, and sadly to his fall as a dying patient of HIV/AIDS. Each poem depicts the essence of unconditional love and care, the dignity of dying of AIDS, forgiveness, and family bond. This book is a manifesto of my brother’s exceptional resilience, the best memory of him that will live forever. It is an invitation, an inspiration, a reflection that, when mankind encounters struggles, disease, pain, death, loss, grief, we have to grieve and heal, and rebuild.
About the Author
I am Utanu MAA. I live in Toronto and work as a public servant within the Ontario Court of Justice. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, where I studied French Literature and Law before migrating to Canada in 1991, and thereafter studied Fashion Marketing, Paralegal and Law (1year) programs. In 2004, I was a recipient of a prize for the Poetry contest organized by Canada Heritage during the celebration of the Francophonie. “Couleur d’une langue” (The Color of a language), my unpublished poem about the diversity and different accents that give rhythm and power to a language to become an umbrella of one identity. “Rise and Fall of My Beloved” is also my own journey into unconditional love and care, and the resilience to deal with pain, loss, grief, to grieve, heal and continue with life after my brother’s death.
Find the Author
Buy the Book
INDIGO CHAPTERS https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/rise-and-fall-of-my/9780228836513-item.html
BARNES & NOBLE https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rise-and-fall-of-my-beloved-utanu-maa/1138021915
BOOK DEPOSITORY https://www.bookdepository.com/Rise-and-Fall-of-My-Beloved-Utanu-Maa/9780228836506
RAKUTEN KOBO https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/rise-and-fall-of-my-beloved
APPLE BOOKS https://books.apple.com/us/book/rise-and-fall-of-my-beloved/id1538242460
Yes, there is a giveaway
The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.
An Excerpt Just for Readers of This Blog
He lacked the speech and was teased, mocked.
People regularly targeted, labelled, and bullied him.
They did not believe in his ability to learn and succeed,
They repeatedly told him loudly, in his face
And ears with intent to persuade him about himself.
They predestined him for failure because he was unable to speak.
He remained silent for a long time, listening carefully.
He observed motions on their lips; he absorbed words and sounds.
Then, one early morning, still in bed,
While everyone was in their last dream or nightmare,
And when time had healed and ended his grieving,
The miracle happened: he spoke!
Words and sounds gusted out of his mouth
Like a volcano erupting after a century of long sleep,
He spoke, he spoke, and he spoke volumes!
He talked firmly to himself or maybe to an invisible entity or spirit,
Repeating verbatim words that he had been absorbing:
The same terms used to tease, label, and mock him,
To bully and denigrate him, to silence him and cast him out.
From the bed where I slept, after we were allowed,
I saw him walking outside like a soldier going to war,
Brave and determined to defend his persona with words!
The struggle was out there, and he went to fight it
With his only but most potent weapon: words!
Words used in a common way: verbally, loudly, and firmly.
He knew the power of words, used for any purpose.
Now equally equipped to face the struggle in his early life,
He spoke correctly just as he had observed words on lips,
Using the same words to tease, mock, or intimidate.
To the big disbelief of all, though I had prayed and pleaded
To my ancestors and God that one day he would speak,
Zola had proven at last his ability to pronounce words.
Soon he would go to school to learn words in books,
To write words on a blackboard or in a notebook,
On a wall or on the ground, carving on a tree or on leaves.
Words pronounced in speech to make a statement,
Words spoken with confidence in a native or foreign language,
Words used to argue, defend opinions, convince, and lead,
Words that would further educate and engineer his brain,
Words as a tool to beat all odds and rise exceptionally like a star,
Indeed, words were clearly spoken by his mouth from this point on.
What liberation, relief, blessing, and privilege!
Utanu Maa — we appreciate your sharing one of your poems with us! Best of luck with sales of Rise and Fall of My Beloved, and with all of your future writing.