Imagine going through two miscarriages. Imagine then having a beautiful baby girl, so beautiful and perfect that you decide to have another baby. Imagine being told you're having twins, a boy and a girl. Then, imagine going into labor at 24 weeks, and losing your baby boy. And then, imagine it all away. What happens when you pull a single thread out of a braid? Multiverses, a speculative memoir in verse, explores that possibility, telling the real story of what happened to one family over the course of just four years, and then untelling and retelling it in various different ways.
Celia Lisset Alvarez’s parents left Cuba after the Castro revolution during the freedom flights of the 1970s for Madrid, Spain, where she was born. They then joined the rest of their family in Miami, where they have been living ever since. Alvarez holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. She has three collections of poetry: Shapeshifting (winner of the 2005 Spire Press Poetry Award), The Stones (Finishing Line Press 20060, and Multiverses (Finishing Line Press 2021). A fourth book, Bodies & Words, is forthcoming from Assure Press. Her poetry, short stories, essays, and reviews have been published widely, most recently in the journals Fresh Words and Catamaran and the anthologies How to Write a Form Poem. (T.S. Poetry Press) and Moving Images: Poetry Inspired by Cinema. (Before Your Quiet Eyes Publishing). She also has work forthcoming in Blue Mountain Review and Last Leaves Magazine. She has been nominated for both a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net Award. She is currently the editor of the journal Prospectus: A Literary Offering.
A riveting and deeply moving collection about losing a baby and other beloved people--and imagining universes in which life could have played out differently. Alvarez is uncommonly candid about the details of pregnancy, eldercare, and grief, including all the human shames and imperfections, but these poems are also suffused with love. Highly recommended.
Have you reached the end of the tether twice, tied a knot and held on for far too long? Was it better than sitting beneath the Damoclean sword, whose harm's-way was held in place by a string of thread? Celia Lisset Alvarez has detailed her harrowing experience in a series of poetic lines.
The author adopted the first-person point of view in her narration which not only gives the reader a first-hand experience of the circumstances surrounding the death of her children but also endears her to the readers as well. Her choice of simple, yet figurative language is commendable because it ensured that the coherence of the poem was not interrupted all through the book.
Alvarez's overt stylistic is borrowed from the theory of multiverses. She presents various scenarios of her son's absence in her life and goes ahead to resurrect them in another worldline. This, I believe, is what I loved most about this book. Her impeccable ability to teleport me from the realistic state that she was into another better situation was equally cathartic.
The author's undying spirit displayed strength and affection for one's family. She foregrounded the sacrifices that mothers would make for their children and family alike. Reading through the lines, I couldn't help but admire her infallibility and perfect desire to overcome one's challenges.
The plot construction of this book has a steady development, with suspense in between the lines. Moreover, the inclusion of Spanish vocabulary and Biblical verses in the book has added to its aesthetic beauty and given it a sense of originality. I recommend it as a therapeutic read for mothers that seek a source of inspiration after losing their children. I equally recommend it to lovers of poetry_free verse poetry. On a scale of 1-5, it would be fair enough to award this book a perfect rating for its outstanding presentation.
Beautiful collection of narrative poems expressing the hardship and imminent void of losing a child. Alvarez shares various versions of her world, what ifs-, and what the future may entail for her family. She illustrates the healing process of her multigenerational Cuban-American family, who are left to gather the broken pieces of the inconceivable circumstances.
Multiverses is an interesting collection of poems, which read more like life snippets in the main, due to the freeness of the form that Celia Lisset Alvarez has chosen. They constitute a series of memories and recollections interspersed with imaginings of what life would be like in a parallel universe if the reality had been different, in verse form.
Due to the style of the poetry, these poems are very easy to access and provide a very honest view of relationships and loss and the tensions that exist in any family, especially one which has to deal with the loss of a child.
I think that poetry is a very personal form of writing and having shared some of the experiences that Alvarez has faced, I found that a lot of the events described and sentiment explored in the poems resonated with me. Her style is very direct with a sparseness of imagery and I get the sense that the poems are a form of catharsis, that now that she has time to breathe, she is able to give a voice to her emotions with a view to coming to terms with the reality of her losses.
The poems that I liked the most and formed the peak of the collection for me were Version 0.44 ,Version 0.45 and Version 0.46 as they are full of strong emotion with a less muted tone and stand out from the rest of the verses, packing a powerful poetic punch.
Anyone who has experienced difficulty conceiving or who has lost a child or indeed has had an uneasy relationship with their father will find echoes of their own life here in these pages, highlighted by Alvarez’s shared words. And Alvarez’s sharing goes some way to providing comfort and understanding to parents who have found themselves in the same situation, to know that you are not the only one out there who feels this way.
That is the strength of this collection: the honest and brave articulation of traumatic life events through simple accessible verse.
This review was first published on Reedsy Discovery where I was privileged to read this as an ARC.