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


Unknown Photographer

Inspired by Moonwashed Weekly Challenge – Resplendent &
Reena’s Exploration Challenge #242

two fighter jets looked down
on the destruction they created
the war zone now resplendent
with white and grey tangled shards
of concrete building remnants in the streets
the bodies of the innocent
dotted with bright red blood
limbs splayed and everywhere
black patches of unearthed greenery
rejoicing in the colors of war
claiming a supposed victory

mission accomplished
returning to base

Ivor Steven

The Sum is One

Sky above
Five oceans bind us
The one air we breathe comes from

Behind The Stone

When looking for home 
If you roll away the stone 
You won’t be alone 

Lost For Words 

lost worlds 
lost wars 
lost objectives 
lost subjects
lost children                        

Cold Nights

Empty, I return unsold
The sheets are cold
No crease to hold
Nor unfold


Ivor Steven was an Industrial Chemist, then a Plumber, now retired, and has been writing poetry for 19 years. He has had numerous poems published in anthologies and online magazines. He is an active member of the Geelong Writers Inc. (Australia), he is a team member/barista with the online magazine Go Dog Go Cafe (America), and a writer with the Coffee House Writers magazine (America). You can read more of his work on his blog – Ivor.Plumber/Poet. Ivor was originally featured on The Short of It on March 4th.


Submissions are now closed but if you’d like to be featured on The Short of It in the future,
click here for the submissions guidelines.


The Fight Is Real

Matteo had the power to sway the people with the mesmerizing cadence of his Italian lilt. He wanted to free their downtrodden spirit to rise above the rubble surrounding them and the unrelenting agonies they experienced. War was hell, to be sure. Food was scarce, their homes obliterated by the wicked enemy, and their realities were no longer recognizable. Nothing was normal anymore. Every forceful explosion, one after the other, had decimated their city.

He lowered his head and began to sing“Bella Ciao.” The people, with proud emotion, echoed back to him the fight they had left in them. 

Empty Where Hearts Reside

Inspired by Sadje’s What do you see #123

traitors have no heart
oppressing others at will
resistance will win

NOTE: My gut and my head tell me that good will triumph. Our world is reaching a tipping point where the destructiveness is being called out and pushed back on. I do hope I’m correct.

Peace, Please

Brandi Alexandra – Unsplash

Inspired by Reena’s Exploration Challenge #219 – War is at the doorstep.
What do you expect me to do? & Eugenia’s Weekly Prompt – Lovers

“We’re lovers, not fighters!”

War is at the doorstep. What do you expect me to do?

“Don’t let them in.”

John Grey


The carving on my wall
is some African devil mask
that I picked up on my travels.
The hollow eyes stare
all day, all night,
at the crucifix on the mantel.
There is good and evil
in everything…
even a room.


Crows on a tree branch,
DC-10 heading south.

One gets roadkill,
the other, peanuts and a beverage.

They both fly
but the cabin service differs.


Each confined
to their own room,
the sick can no longer
suffer together.

No communal TV.
The tables are silent.
Cards put away.

Here is an exile
inside another exile.
Even thoughts
can’t find their way
through to other people.


Day flips open the land this morning.
Some fields lie fallow.
Others are anxious to grow.
Monks move about them,
praying and sowing.
In a world made brilliant
by the beneficence of the sun.
it never once occurs to them
that they are the only shadows.


He was a soldier.
Made it to sergeant.
Three stripes.
Wore them proud.
He wrote poetry too.
Mostly in foxholes.
Never composed one
before he went to war.
Nor when he came home.
Only when the bullets
were flying, did he think
a bloodroot worth
saying something about.
They bud,
bloom barely a day,
then die.
They never ask
for any of this.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Sin Fronteras, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in West Trade Review, Willard and Maple and Connecticut River Review.


If you’d like to be featured on The Short of It, click here for the submissions guidelines.


The Upside Of War

Inspired by Reena’s Exploration Challenge #128

every negative situation
has the power
to become a positive force
for cultural shift

lives are lost
but lives will be saved
in the future
from what we learn

life’s path
takes a different turn
our day to day changes
becoming a new reality

gleening a possibility
of hope in this evil’s demise
in the following days
it begins during these troubled times

Feeling The Pain


empathy is like a curse
hurting and loving
at the same time
the sounds of cruelty
sing an ugly song
the images scorch my eyes
my strength within
as my body succumbs to emotions
pain is magnified
as the suffering continues
unkind people
saying one thing
doing another
nothing but liars
abuse of all forms
killing innocence
harming possible futures
the evil sleep well
recounting their deeds
the sufferers of their wickedness do not
grieving with the harmed
wrap them in my being
losing respect and hope for this world
and aching for the vulnerable

Childhood Memories

Fox Photos/Getty Images

I remember picking up the spewn out gum out of the gutter. A rich man’s castoff after the flavor was all gone. No matter to me, it still had substance. I needed something with volume in my mouth and my stomach. The little blob of chewiness was a dusty grey. It was no wonder with the sidewalk caked with crumbled stone and layers of soot.  I popped it in my mouth after trying to scrape off as much debris as possible. Even with little chips of god-knows-what in it, that was my reward that day! The growling in my stomach kept at bay a bit longer. At least I hoped it would. I leaned up against the side of the building, chewing to my heart’s content, waiting for my mother to call me back in for lunch.

Being somewhat of a handful in my youth, getting sent outside was a common thing for me. It didn’t matter that the war was going on. Somehow, my mother thought the crisis in our city was easier to deal with than I was. On this day, my mama sent me out while she prepared our lunch. She yelled at me to stop being underfoot and in her way. Her scowl was feisty this day and her face cracked with lines I hadn’t seen before. I was almost thankful that she told me to get out and stay there until she called for me to come back in.

Lunch was our one filling meal for the day — the other meals, enough to keep us alive. Breakfast was usually schmalz on some bread. The creamy, greasy spread – rendered fat from pork. Looking back now, it resembled lard. If we were lucky, we got griebenschmalz which had cracklings added to it. The spread was chewy plus more filling. We never had to worry about the bread being stale or rotten as it never lasted long. And we had a connection to a local bakery that supplied the soldiers. We were so very fortunate in that respect. I often wondered about others who didn’t have that resource. I thought I was starving all the time, but what about them?

Of course, the soldiers ate well during the war. Because of the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) regulation, troops got plenty of food. They had to be fit to carry out their duties. The average German soldier’s diet amounted to roughly 4500 calories a day. They fared much better at that time than the citizens in Berlin, late 1944.  We were fortunate. My father had a friend named Dieter, who favored us. He was a soldier. What a blessing, as he shared his rations with us some. Not that it stretched far for a family of six, but it sure was a nice bonus to what we ate regularly. Dad felt lucky to enjoy some of his rationed cigarettes too.

I heard mama’s voice in German as she yelled from the window – “Petra, komm hoch! Das Mittagessen ist fertig!” I was happy she had finally called me; I was so hungry! I walked back to the house with a long stick weaving behind me, etching a wavy pattern in the dirt with my quick stride.

I sat down and inhaled the Eintopf she had prepared. Sweet carrots, celery, potatoes, and big chunks of beef floated in the thick broth. She had seasoned it to perfection. I’ll never forget it.

But it will also go down as the worst meal I’ve ever had. Mama sat down next to me after I finished. To this day, I can see her tear-stained face sitting before me. She reached for me with her shaking hands saying, “Your father is dead, and so is Dieter. As we will be too.”