Any Anxious Body

About the book

Any Anxious Body“In her debut collection, Kolaya practices poetry as a documentary form, with the lives of working-class women as her primary subject matter, and the dark side of upward mobility as her subtext. Blending family narratives with incisive verse, the result is at once clear-eyed and sympathetic in its treatment of the human condition.”
You can read more about the book on the publisher’s website

Praise for Any Anxious Body

In this fine first book of poems, Chrissy Kolaya reminds us that a life is larger than its person, that it is made of many parts, some quite remote. Any Anxious Body begins with the speaker’s earliest memories and ends at the grave of an unspecified relative. Most remarkable about this journey is the spare handful of memories it reaches back to for its beginnings, a great-grandmother’s fragmentary utterances written in old age and saved by her daughter, used as a kind of lucky wisdom and tact to guide the speaker into a full and generous consciousness. Life is made and made possible by the words found to hold it down as it squirms to get away. Chrissy Kolaya is to be congratulated for this exact and exacting art.

Roger Mitchell, author of Lemon Peeled the Moment Before: New & Selected Poems 1967-2008

What we save, saves us. In these poems we learn the lesson of want versus need. These poems strive across the distance between generations who lived poor and those whose plenty is not enough. No small part of that continued wanting is to hear and acknowledge the voices of those who survived deprivation and the meagerness of women’s lives in decades past. Kolaya’s poetry is original, inventive, direct and yet just a bit fragmented, just a little hard at times. Work is so much a part of these poems, that making the reader work makes sense – makes satisfaction.

Heid E. Erdrich, author of Cell Traffic: New and Selected Poems

Part documentary poetics, part New York School improvisation, Any Anxious Body reveals the ways in which the self is a poem, constructed as it is from a series of improbable collisions that become inevitable in retrospect. This book will make you cup your ear to the door of the past and listen more closely. It left me hearing voices, most of all Kolaya’s own, one which I’m prepared to follow anywhere

Dobby Gibson, author of It Becomes You


Barn Owl Review

“Chrissy Kolaya’s debut collection fits its spectacular title as themes of violence and familial tension surface in the opening pages. The title of the first section, “Overheard,” signifies the gathering of secrets that starts early in these poems. In “First Memory, 1954,” there are sirens and panic, and a boy watches the women “who lay their hands / on the arms of their men, // hands that say: / slow / and think.” Kolaya’s speaker throughout wants the reader, too, to not only stop and think, but observe. These are resonant poems that command us to look closer at each detail.”

Read the full review here.


“Kolaya’s first book of poems, Any Anxious Body, joins together a passionate love of Frank O’Hara with a natural affinity for archival poetics…This collection has the remarkable ability of presenting whole lives through single days.”

Read the full review here.