NEW YORK – Yolanda Koumidou shared poems from her latest book, Being in Between, at a poetry reading and book signing at Poets House in Tribeca on April 13. The talented poet also shared insights into the poems and answered questions from the audience at the well attended event which also included live jazz music.
Of her book, Koumidou said “It’s like a public, private journal,” and many audience members responded positively to the emotional truth of the poet’s work. Explaining the meaning behind one poem, she noted that it is painful for her when she goes for a long period without writing, and then she writes five poems in one day, finding expression for profound insights in poems in a condensed form.
The thought-provoking poems communicate powerful emotions with such few words, they capture the very essence of an observation, an idea, a feeling, as only poetry can. Koumidou’s deeply personal poems are timely and timeless, resonating with an authenticity fans of poetry should not miss. She notes on the back cover of Being in Between that “poetry is part of my psychic fingerprint. All other work I do has its source in the insights revealed in the poems that come to me.”
The first half of the reading led to a musical interlude with Jazz, performed by renowned guitarist Spiros Exaras, father and son musicians George Vlesmas and Erikos Vlesmas, and Steve Vavagiakis, entertained the audience following the first half of the reading and at the end while the poet signed copies of her books for her fans.
Being in Between is divided into sections including Accumulated Wisdom, Evolving Love, and Flowing Inspiration A particularly moving poem Koumidou read was for her mother Keti, who was among those present. The poetry collection is in fact dedicated to her mother Keti and her father Nico.
Koumidou spoke with The National Herald at the event, noting that it took months to organize, adding that the idea to include music came from her son, musician Erikos Vlesmas, who played bass at the event. When asked if she is currently working on her next book, she told TNH that Merciless Path, her previous book, was published in 2012 and Being in Between was published this year, so it may take some time before her next book.
Koumidou began writing poetry in Greek during her childhood in Cyprus. She immigrated to the United States in 1975, where poems continued to “come to her” in Greek. Among her books in Greek are Kimatisti mou Zoi and Kypros 1974. In 2002, Koumidou began to write poems in English.
A clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and founder of the Koumidou Center LLC, Koumidou has been accompanying people on their voyages of self-exploration for more than 30 years through individual, couples, family, and group therapy. She also runs individual and couples retreats at her upstate New York Outdoor Retreat Center and once a year she organizes and leads international group retreats. Among the retreat locations in the past are India, Australia, Bali, Machu Picchu, Costa Rica, Italy, Cyprus, and Greece.
Koumidou’s books and the poetry collection CD Veiled Soul are available online: veiledsoul.com.