Praise for Other Possible Lives
Grappling with the consequences of real and imagined choices, Chrissy Kolaya’s Other Possible Lives gives us a world of shifting landscapes, of missing girls and temporary homes. With devastating detail, the poems trace the tumultuous geographies of everyday life and love in flux. These poems offer up glimpses of alternate endings, of the freezing and thawing of love, leaving us to wander a world full of possibilities, where “everything was about to happen.”
What would you see if you could remove the fourth wall of every house, every apartment, every building on the block and peer in unseen at the tangle of criss-crossing human relationships as they unfold or unravel or disintegrate over time? What if you could do the same thing with your own life, and apprehend the what ifs and might’ve beens, the various lives that you could’ve lead—and still might—instead? In Chrissy Kolaya’s psychologically sparkling and suspenseful Other Possible Lives, the reality of the situation is never like TV, it’s unpredictable, unproduced and wooly/nuanced—full of bliss, infidelity, faux pas, complication. These often painterly (and very contemporary, American) poems present us with the recognizable uncertainty of (the) character inside all of us. Here, the domestic and the social, the public and the private, splinter into each other, to present a dynamic vision of marriage, family, and ordinary life—teetering like a sound on the edge of breakup, not quite distorted and not quite clean, but one we can see (and certainly feel) when we look.
In Chrissy Kolaya’s Other Possible Lives, people constellate, disperse, come back together again, the space between them charged and dreamlike. All the possible lives and all possible endings shapeshift on the page, and what binds both these lives and this book is a tenderness almost too true to bear. This is gorgeous and glowing work.
So proud to share this collaborative project: Composer Alex Burtzos created a choral piece inspired by one of the poems from Other Possible Lives, “Annus Mirabilis.” The piece premiered in April 2019 in Orlando at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, performed by the University of Central Florida Chamber Choir as part of UCF Celebrates the Arts. You can learn more about the story behind this project here and read an interview about our collaboration here.