Anita Neilson‘s review
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Review of “Letters to My Oldest Friend: a book of poetry and photography by Janavi Held
How many of us have had or taken the chance to dialogue with our soul, our maker, the deep slope of annihilation? Every poem and photograph in “Letters to My Oldest Friend” is such a dialogue. Inspired by her own devastating illness, Janavi Held, long a spiritual devotee, cuts through veils of hope to directly address her God: “the heart inquires–answers blur en route to thoughts.” The intensity of her passionate seeking allows the reader to share the moments of transcendence as well as the pain. Her questions are our answers.
Poet, teacher, and author of books for children
Like many God-inspired poets of India’s Bhakti or devotional past (Mirabai and Chandidas come easily to mind), Janavi Held–writer, photographer, cineaste, observer of small miracles—chronicles the arrhythmia of a heart in love with Divinity. Letters to My Oldest Friend is a revelation. In elegant, spare verse and contemplative visual imagery, she gently cautions that we are victims of speeding postmodernism at risk of losing our souls, and that we will find the tools of our salvation in the quiet, unassuming details of everyday life. Here is a much needed roadmap to our inner geography, chartered by a gifted voice of conscience and our own better selves. Read, look, savor, and be inspired.