Black Butterfly Dust – Jean-Yves Solinga

Black Butterfly Dust book cover

The necessary isolation, imposed by the pandemic during a good part of the writing of this book, presented Jean-Yves Solinga with apparently the same situation as Michel Eyquem Sieur de Montaigne, one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, who had locked himself in one of his towers, away from society [away from humans] to study…. to better understand the human mind in its social settings! He “retired early” from life after a successful social and political life to work on his “essais”. He wanted to delve into human nature and its universal traits (if any).

Montaigne is who came to the author’s mind when his topics dealt with larger subjects: “What is it that we can learn that IS universal in each of us?” Not that we are not wonderfully different: but rather that there are nuggets of the universal in each of us… Not unlike human DNA, the basic origin of our being. Our DNA has made and still makes all of us (at least until some scientific lab comes up with alternatives).

“Here I was… all alone for months, writing about women…men… as social animals.”

Jean-Yves uses religious artifacts and references to build antithetical contrasts with the fleshy amoral present. His poetry continues his wanderings between another two poles, two concepts: The fragile, ephemeral weight of human thought and the enormity of the stuff of the universe.

This book is the result of Jean-Yves’ observations, which, like Montaigne, often go from the particular to the universal.

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About the Author

Jean-Yves Solinga

Jean-Yves Solinga is a poet of immense ability and range. His poetry is a product and symbolically reflects a life from birth to adulthood of cultural duality and a search for the cool plains of resolution with the past. He came from the heat of Morocco to the cold coastal waters and countryside of New England.

His father, a gendarme, mother, sister, and brother had gone through the tragic war years of occupation in Marseille, France. He was then transferred after WWII in 1946 to Sidi Bel Abbès, where Jean-Yves was born in the hospital that serviced the Headquarters of the French Foreign Legion on the periphery of the Sahara in Algeria. The family traveled again with Jean-Yves only a month old, to Salé, just South of Sidi Moussa, in Morocco, where his father was posted. The journey was very difficult for the adults, but Jean-Yves spent most of it comfortably sleeping on the garments in a suitcase. The family settled, and Jean-Yves spent an idyllic childhood in the sun of North Africa. He attended French grammar and secondary schools. His memories of that time are of the joy of being aware of the pleasure of sight; the cocoon of the innocence of youth unconscious of geopolitical matters.

His family, having decided to settle in America, sent Jean-Yves, at age 14, ahead alone in order not to miss the start of the school term. Living in New England, he would experience firsthand one of his many future encounters with the freezing cold and snow, which, up to that time, had only been seen on Christmas cards. A new and completely different life began.

He had already written poetry by the time of his bachelor’s degree and a brief tour of duty in the US Army, after which he began a career teaching French Language, Culture, and Literature in Connecticut schools and colleges. He completed a Masters and then a Ph.D. on North Africa before retiring in 2004, at which time he earnestly concentrated on his writing.