Review by Anita Neilson

Letters to My Oldest Friend
by Janavi Held (Goodreads Author)

62048552

Anita Neilson‘s review

Nov 04, 2017
This is simply glorious. The words flow gently across the page in a waterfall of despair and hope, grief and faith, pain and joy. Together with beautifully crafted photographs of the natural world, it is a wonderful, precious undertaking. The poems will resonate strongly with anyone afflicted by a chronic illness or spiritual malaise. Quite breathtakingly haunting in their longing for God. The pull between enjoying the delights of this Earth and the soul crying for greater meaning is much in evidence. For example, in the poem “Eternity”, the poet says, “in this world of change I am longing for You yet I am drawn again and again to the shiny fortunes of this shallow world.” This reduced me to tears, so near was it to my experience of life. These are the sweetest, most poetic, most haunting of verses, to be savoured again and again. Buy a copy and keep it close to you, so that each time you feel sorry for yourself, or angry at someone (even God), open it and read a verse or two. Your spirits will be lifted!
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Review of “Letters to My Oldest Friend”

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.

Marcia Newfeild
Poet, teacher, and author of books for children

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2085836692?book_show_action=false

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In Praise of “Letters to My Oldest Friend”

Mockup - png with lotusLike 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.

 Joshua M. Greene
author, Swami in a Strange Land