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Other Possible Lives by Chrissy Kolaya

Source: the poet
Paperback, 80 pgs.
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Other Possible Lives by Chrissy Kolaya is an exploration of what if — the nature of the other and what it must be to immerse ourselves in those “other” lives. Would they make us long for our own lives more and appreciate them with grace? Or would an exploration of those lives lead us to make drastic changes in our own? These are just some of the questions that underlie these scenarios, ranging from the troubled house sitters in the opening of the collection to the forlorn lover at the end who is bound to make the same error again.

From "How to Leave Behind" (pg. 15)

She said the way to do it was
to look at a photo of them.
Look at it until their faces
melt away into lines,
until words like brother fall away

and swirl around the shape that's left.
To focus on the mouth,
then the eyes,
then the arms and legs as if they all belonged
to different people.

Kolaya’s poems are rooted in the possible lives we could have and allows us to examine the truth of those lives and the truth in our own lives. Other Possible Lives by Chrissy Kolaya answers our “what if” questions but leaves us with so much more. There’s a greater insight here hearkening back to the adage “the grass is always greener on the other side’ at least from where you are viewing it.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Author:

Chrissy Kolaya is a poet and fiction writer, author of Charmed Particles: a novel and two books of poems: Any Anxious Body and Other Possible Lives (forthcoming fall 2019). Her work has been included in the anthologies New Sudden Fiction (Norton), Fiction on a Stick (Milkweed Editions), and Stone, River, Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems, as well as in a number of literary journals.

She has received a Norman Mailer Writers Colony summer scholarship, an Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies fellowship, a Loft Mentor Series Award in Poetry, and grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Lake Region Arts Council, and the University of Minnesota. As one of the co-founders of the Prairie Gate Literary Festival, she worked to develop the literary arts community in rural western Minnesota. She now teaches creative writing at the University of Central Florida.

Any Anxious Body by Chrissy Kolaya

Source: the poet, Chrissy Kolaya
Paperback, 96 pages
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Any Anxious Body by Chrissy Kolaya does not have the most eye-catching cover, but what’s inside will knock your socks off!  Beginning with what readers may see as someone who lived through the Great Depression when saving everything counted toward survival, Kolaya uses early memories and events overheard to not only connect generation to generation, but to weave a thread through each struggle and moment of unease and concern that each moment is fleeting.  Humans are in a perpetually anxious state, sometimes without knowing it, because our lives are finite and each moment has a beginning and end — often ending before we’re ready to deal with it.

From “Fired” (page 17)

His friend —
the one married just out of high school,
runs his eyes over you,
smoothing the skin over your bones.

Kolaya — using notes from a great grandmother who no longer can verbally communicate and a letter from her daughter — has a visceral sense of not only the human body and its reactions to touch, but also the emotional connections between family and lovers. Her verses are fresh and evoke a response from her readers immediately. While there is a sense of contemplation about life events and family connections, the poems also never forget to remind readers that too much thinking can prevent life from happening.

From “Polarity” (page 15)

She wants to talk about how it will work
and I think:
I will move toward you in a moment or two,
and you should do the same.

Any Anxious Body by Chrissy Kolaya has created a reflective collection of poems, a collection that requires the reader to listen to the voices, to the moments, to the memories, but more importantly to open themselves up to the experience.  Each poem’s voice changes perspective, providing readers with the fullest view of living as possible, and sometimes those perspectives can leave you squirming.

About the Author:

Chrissy Kolaya is a poet and fiction writer. Her short fiction has been included in the anthologies New Sudden Fiction (Norton) and Fiction on a Stick (Milkweed Editions). Her poems and fiction have appeared in a number of literary journals.

She has received a Norman Mailer Writers Colony summer scholarship, an Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies fellowship, a Loft Mentor Series Award in Poetry, and grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Lake Region Arts Council, and the University of Minnesota. She teaches writing at the University of Minnesota Morris. Check out her blog and her Facebook page.

15th book for 2014 New Author Challenge.

 

 

 

Book 9 for the Dive Into Poetry Reading Challenge 2014.

 

 

For today’s 2014 National Poetry Month: Reach for the Horizon tour stop, click the image below: