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Book Notes: CHINA COWBOY by Kim Gek Lin Short

Kim’s book is provocative, wrenching, and accomplishes that oh so rare feat of both giving me pause and making me want to rush into the next page, of wanting to savor the language while the content leaves my skin crawling.  But instead of writing a review thinking about the intersection of these things in this verse novel (?) about Patsy Clone/La La, a girl kidnapped from Hong Kong and abused by Ren/Bill, a pedophiliac Clint Eastwood who schizophrenically frames his abuse as art, I decided to just record one of the song-poems as a song. There’s something about poets writing songs that makes me immediately want to discover how it would sound out loud. There’s also something about the world of this book and the world of the language of this book that seems expansive enough to want to enter and linger. It’s the same kind of thing that inspires fan fiction. Which this basically is.  This one goes out to La La from No #1 fanboy:

September1987 Age 10

I didn’t say it was good. Just that the book is infectious. Watch out.

Filed under: Book Notes

About the Author

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Joe Hall is the author of five books of poetry, including Someone's Utopia (2018) and Fugue & Strike (forthcoming). His poems, reviews, and scholarship have appeared in Poetry Daily, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, Postcolonial Studies, Peach Mag,, PEN America Blog, Poetry Northwest, Ethel Zine, Gulf Coast, Best Buds! Collective, and Eighteenth-Century Fiction. He has taught poetry workshops for teachers, teens, and workers through Just Buffalo and the WNYCOSH Worker Center.

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