The True Story of Cowboy Hat & Ingénue - Maria Jastrzębska

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In a landscape scarred by conflict, two women begin a quest for a lost child and a lost world of peace. Bound together by love and acceptance, their story and path interweave with fellow outcasts — people like the ever-suave Dame Blanche, Sister Asunta, martial artist and magician, Master Wu Wu, and the lost soul, Tulip — but whether peace is simply the end of war or something deeper is something they must discover for themselves.

A haunting tale, told in a series of visionary prose poems, The True Story of Cowboy Hat & Ingénue interweaves memory and yearning to ask questions that reflect on our past and, disturbingly, on our futures.


Maria Jastrzębska’s The True Story of Cowboy Hat and Ingénue, (Liquorice Fish 2018) an absorbing sequence of prose poems following two women's journey across the war-torn landscape in searchable rural utopia in the mould of Ed Dorn's Gunslinger is utterly distinctive and different. The sequence dissolves conventional boundaries of time narrative in order to produce a hyper-reality of interconnected stories within a love story and an expanded range of otherness, in terms of identity, voice and languages. Cowboy Hat and Ingénue meet Dame Blanche, a giant black man, who runs the El Dorado bar, and Mercedes the brothel keeper and a host of other outcasts and victims of oppression. The range of voices and languages, the various narratives all succinctly described, are all impressive and produce an exhilarating read.

— David Caddy, Tears in the Fence, Number 71, Spring 2020

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