The following review was published in Synchronicity Magazine
with J.B. York
Embraced by Love – Poems by Tanis Helliwell seems, at first, to be a book of simple love poems but then the depth of spirit intoned by these simple words begins to work in the subconscious and soon you find yourself wanting more. Once you realize that these poems are small slices – ‘morsels’ of the author’s soul, it becomes difficult to put the book down.
It can be said that poetry is the art of using words to elicit an emotional response. One might think that whent he subject matter is as universal as ‘Love’, it would be an easy task to write a poem about it but one would be wrong. The author’s willingness and ability to expose herself in such a naked and brutally honest fashion is ultimately the reason why the emotional responses that these poems elicit are so powerful.
The book is set out in three distinct sections based on the three types of love. The first is Eros – thelove of the physical body, the heat and the passion. “Womanhood Reclaimed – Love in middle-age, juices flowing suddenly again. Caught me by surprise being fifteen a second time, shy, nervous and yearning.” The honesty in these words triggers an empathetic response, and then throws a spotlight on the reader’s own unfulfilled and fulfilled needs and desires.
The second form of love is Philia – the love we feel for our family and close friends, the love of the heart – not the gonads. “Grieving Your Absence – Sharing a glass of wine, sitting together for dinner, chats on the sofa, holding your hand: these memories I treasure. But best of all was your kiss goodnight.” Suddenly we are transported back to our childhood and to memories of our own mothers and fathers.
The third kind of love is Agape which is the love that God, The Creator, The Beloved has for us and for all life. “Do You Want This? – Beyond the door nothing. Nothing to speak. Nothing to hear. Nothing to touch nor taste Beyond the door Peace Stillness Silence All that is wanted and all that is not.”
Embraced by Love – Poems by Tanis Helliwell is a gem. A book of poetry that is easy to read but hard to forget.
J.B. York was a professional musician before starting his writing career in 2001. His articles have appeared in various Canadian publications. He has been the Book and CD Reviewer for Synchronicity Magazine since February, 2005.