Book Review – Love Letters to Ukraine from Uyava by Kalpna Singh-Chitnis

Published by River Paw Press March 11, 2023

Kalpna Singh-Chitnis has written a remarkable book conveying a profound sentiment of love to the Ukrainian people during this crucial time in their history. It is a volume filled with a sublime understanding of what it means to be loving without condition. These sixty-eight poems about war, love, and peace capture the tumultuous emotions felt by those dealing with the conflict as well as those witnessing it unfolding from afar. Volodymyr Tymchuk – a Poet, Translator, and Lieutenant Colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – played an essential role in translating Singh-Chitnis’ words into Ukrainian.

The astonishing thing is Singh-Chitnis is an Indian-American poet who connects so thoroughly and intimately to the people of Ukraine with these pieces. She is a world away from the war zone, yet so beautifully conveys her heart yearning to lift those up who are suffering and lets it be known that she is an advocate doing her part. That is love, and it transcends borders when uttered in sincerity.

I highly recommend that you get a copy of this book. Singh-Chitnis has her finger on the pulse of this crisis and what it means to stand for and with the Ukrainian people with the compassion and empathy they deserve.


About the Author – Amazon

Kalpna Singh-Chitnis is an Indian-American poet, writer, filmmaker, and author of six poetry collections. Her works have appeared in notable journals such as “World Literature Today,” “Columbia Journal,” “Tupelo Quarterly,” “Indian Literature,” “Silk Routes Project” (IWP) at The University of Iowa, Stanford University’s “Life in Quarantine,” etc. Poems from her award-winning book Bare Soul and her poetry film “River of Songs” have been included in the “Nova Collection” and the “Polaris Collection” of the Lunar Codex time capsules going on the Moon with NASA’s Nova-C lander missions to Oceanus Procellarum and “NASA VIPER” rover mission to the Lunar South Pole in 2023. Her latest poetry collection, “Love Letters to Ukraine from Uyava,” River Paw Press (2023), dedicated to Ukraine and the defenders of Ukraine, has been translated into Ukrainian by poet and translator Volodomyr Tymchuck, a lieutenant colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Kalpna’s poetry has received praise from eminent writers, such as Nobel Prize in Literature nominee Dr. Wazir Agha, Vaptsarov Award, and Ordre des Arts et des Lettres recipient Amrita Pritam, and poet and Academy Award-winning lyricist and filmmaker Gulzar. She has read at the International Literature Festival Berlin (ilb), Sahitya Akademi, India’s highest academy of letters, Poets & Writers, AWP Conferences, and other venues internationally. Her works have been translated into fifteen languages and published in anthologies worldwide. She has been nominated for a pushcart prize, and her awards and honors include the 2017 “Naji Naaman Literary Prize for Creativity,” the “Bihar Rajbhasha Award,” given by the government of Bihar, India, “Bihar Shri,” and the “Rajiv Gandhi Global Excellence Award.” A former lecturer of Political Science and the Editor-in-Chief of Life and Legends, Kalpna Singh-Chitnis is the Translation Editor of IHRAF WRITES and an Advocacy Member of the United Nations Association of the USA. She holds a degree in Film Directing from the NYFA and works as an independent filmmaker in Hollywood. Her sixth poetry collection “Trespassing My Ancestral Lands” is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

You can also find her book at these international sellers

English Edition:…/love-letters-to-ukraine…/

Bilingual English-Ukrainian Edition at River Paw Press:…/love-letters-to-ukraine…/

Amazon India:…/dp/173668714X

Amazon UK:…/dp/173668714X

Amazon Poland:…/dp/173668714X

Amazon Italy:…/dp/173668714X

Amazon Australia:…/dp/173668714X

Amazon Canada:…/dp/173668714X

Let’s Take A Journey With Annabel Harz

I was touched to have Annabel reach out to me to read her poetry books – Journey into the Dark and the Light & Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine. Having never done a book review on my blog, it was an honor to do this for a fellow poet. Plus, getting out of my day-to-day routine to try something new is good for me. I felt up to it with my current schedule, and more importantly, enthusiastic in providing one for her.   

The titles and prefaces of both books immediately set the tone; you know you are going on an emotional journey with Anna as she recounts and confronts the darkness in her childhood. While the subject matter is a difficult topic, her superb writing continually has you standing with her, however painful it might have been to deal with. The honesty reflected endears you to her with each piece, then championing her success in the latter chapters of each book. The first part recounts the aftermath of the abuse, while the second part speaks to recovery and hope. All of humanity can identify with tragic circumstances and having hope; that is life! In her words and art, these books reinforce the idea that we can all overcome our adversities. It may take some time, but clarity does come if we face it.  

After finishing the first book and immediately devouring the second, it was plain to see that they are both about courage. Whether subconsciously through the artwork Anna immersed herself in or how she expressed her feelings, it was courage that enabled her to bring her past to the forefront. It pushed her to confront all the trauma endured during her most innocent of times. In these books, Anna shows us the necessary steps she took to understand what she ultimately came face to face with—being taken advantage of, misused, and abused in her childhood. No one should have to experience these things during this most vulnerable and innocent state, but she did, bravely. In doing so, she propelled herself toward a life relieved of the depression and the nagging lack of connection she had felt in her childhood and beyond. Annabel was filled with hope and a changed outlook. These books are a testament to what addressing the somber and horrific bits in our lives can do for our psyche. They share with us not only the possibility that things could get better but that we can thrive in an even happier and more stable future for having done so.  

What is saddening is that in a society where this occurs too often, many readers will probably be able to identify with Annabel’s excruciatingly honest reflections, art, and thoughts, having gone through similar situations. But on the other hand, should these pages reach them, they will learn that hope is on the horizon if they can break through their trauma too. Possibly they will see their necessary healing tucked in these words and images. Ultimately, it’s a beautiful thought these books could have a pay-it-forward effect on a large segment of readers.  

I’m thankful that Annabel asked me to read her books; they will stay in my thoughts for some time to come. I will likely review them often as the writing is direct, honest, and carries such depth. It’s a habit of mine to gravitate towards good writing.  

I leave you with a sample of her exquisite writing. This piece is from the first book – Journey into the Dark and the Light

Feeling Small and Lost 
My inner child cries,  
as my outer adult stands and watches,  
unable to move,  
unable to talk,  
unable to assist … 

even unable to scream.  
How will I find my way  
out of this dark labyrinth—  
what others call my mind—  
if I cannot  
move forward  
and help myself?  

The road is long, and I am weary;  
I am cold, and I feel old.  

What will be my salvation?  
Where will I find my asylum? 

Surely not inside myself,  
for I feel I have meagre strength  
for such a  
hard journey  
into the depths of my soul. 

Yet, from within it must be. 

May you be moved to read the rest of Annabel’s work! You won’t regret it. Click the links here – Journey into the Dark and the Light & Journey into the Shadow and the SunshineYou can also find her blog HERE