The Book of All Lovers by Bruno Ribeiro

by Andrea Wijaya

I had the amazing opportunity to chat with Author / Poet / Painter / Multi-hyphenate Bruno Ribeiro about his debut “poetic epic” The Book of All Lovers – an illustrated fairytale for adults. Piqued? So was I.

As a rugged millennial I found myself moved by the Little Prince-esque simplicity and sincerity of Bruno’s art and writing, some of which you can hear below in our trailer…

You’ve watched the trailer, now let’s hear from the man himself.

Q: You’re a man of many talents. How would you describe yourself? Author, poet, painter? How did you come to know your passions?

I am a painter who needs to write and a writer who needs to paint. Above all, an aesthete and an art lover.

I felt the call for arts at a young age. My first passion was music, piano, more precisely. As a young teen, I was fortunate enough to travel to places like Paris and Amsterdam, where I was introduced to Impressionism, my first crush. I remember being at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and feeling the power of those brush strokes. Same happened with Manet.

Later, in Paris, I was captivated by Picasso. That was the moment when I decided that I was going to be a Visual Artist.

The call for writing came later than music and painting. As part of high-school program, I had to study Camoes and Gil Vicente. Camoes wrote “The Lusiadas”, an epic poem about the Portuguese discoveries, and Gil Vicente was a theater play writer who also wrote poetry. I wanted, somehow, to copy them and started writing short stories, ironically not in rhyme, nevertheless I knew that one day I would try to walk those grounds.

Q: Can you speak to the structure and form of The Book of All Lovers?

The Book of All Lovers is an epic Poem, the first of a trilogy, and it consists of seventeen chapters, with thirty-five stanzas each, totaling 595 verses. Each chapter of the poem follows the same rhyme scheme (shown at the end of the book).

It’s, above all, a tale of adventure a chivalry. A fantastic voyage in the pursuit of a dream of love, and a dark fantasy full of brave heroes, and loyal allies

It’s also an illustrated fairy tale for adults in verse form.

Q: Your writing has tons of emotion and vivid imagery packed into sparse lines and negative space . Does this come naturally to you? Or do you have to sit down and carefully will the words into existence? (What is your creative process?)

I wish that I could say that I sit and carefully will the words into existence, that’s very poetic by the way, but no. It all comes naturally. I am an intuitive creator. With me it is always a subconscious process. I work in silence. I sit, align all the pens I have on my desk and only then I start searching. Of course, a lot of times it is difficult to accomplish what I have in mind as I always have this image of something perfect that I know I will never be able to achieve. To me that struggle is, by far, the most difficult part of the creation.

Q: What (or who?) is the “Rose of Sharon?” It recurs throughout your work.

The Rose of Sharon is what will make it possible for our hero Dyosphir to get to the Sphere of Utmost Dreams (where all dreams and nightmares are trapped) and where his loved one Ivalisee is also trapped. With its root one of his fellow companions will make an infusion that Dyosphir will eventually drink:

– “Now let’s go search for the Rose/So that with its root I can make an infusion/A Rose of Sharon is a gem that will keep Your heart closed/Therefore your feelings will be free from any delusion.”

I have a beautiful specimen of a Rose of Sharon outside in my garden that I can see from my office window. It inspired me when I was in search of an element that could facilitate that passageway. I often use the elements that are around me like the Copper Beech Tree. I have more than fifty Beech Trees. They are amazing living beings.

Q: Any advice for aspiring poets? Or authors looking to be more emotionally vulnerable and sincere in their writing?

Believe in yourself and in your instinct. That always worked for me. Also timing is everything. It took me forty-four years to publish my first book. Along the way I wrote a dozen, at least, that I burned: “When the strike of a hawk breaks the body of its prey, that’s because of timing.” That’s from The Art of War.

Also, I feel that we are in high demand for heroes nowadays. By creating a self-doubting (though unaware) hero, one brings it to a more human platform, per se. I also tried to insert my own fears and hopes along with Dyosphir’s. I don’t know if it worked, but Art must be honest above all its meanings, otherwise it is not worthy of being, right?

For more information on The Book of All Lovers or to pick up a copy click here!

Interested in making a book trailer for poetry like this one? Learn more here!

Poet and visual artist Bruno Ribeiro.