Passion Maps is a lyrical cartography of historical and biographical experiences, of the poet's lived and imagined mappings. The poems in this collection chart a world itinerary of stopping places, or stassisa transliterated Greek word for a stop or a pausethat transport the reader from locations of childhood memory to pauses of lost love, and lost life, through landscapes as disparate as Vietnam, Greece, New Jersey, and the Balkans. As poet and critic Joseph Powell described Kalfopoulou's first collection, Wild Greens, "the best of these poems make beauty ache", a phrase used by Frost to describe Yeats' poetry; of this new collection Powell notes a range of "different types of utterance, of poems ambitious and experimental in a volume that is tough, tender and honest throughout."
As Passion Maps suggests, these are poems of experiences that have mapped, as much as experiences that have become maps; there are the inevitable first cartographies of family: a father "stoic/ in brutal combat", a mother who "would have preferred to sing her words" that expand into the broader mappings of "bygone lives,/" and "the lyric ruin of cities", an America of "New World opportunity" and an old world of "whole towns/now erased by the grass." In his review of Wild Greens in the Crab Orchard Review, Jon Tribble describes the "bitter and the sweet" of poems that "test our palates" and "remind us that the bread and meat and fruits and greens of life come with many flavors and at a cost that is as dear as it is worthwhile." The same could be said of Kalfopoulou's second collection though here we have the voice of a poet who has broadened her style to include more of the world.