Kim Gek Lin Short

Kim Gek Lin Short is the author of the lyric novels The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits and China Cowboy, both from Tarpaulin Sky Press. Her story in prose poems, Run (Rope-a-Dope), was selected for the 2010 Golden Gloves, and her debut hybrid collection, The Residents, was published by Chicago’s dancing girl press. Her work appears in anthologies such as Narrative (Dis)Continuties: Prose Experiments by Younger American Writers, and in numerous literary magazines.

Kim Gek Lin Short

Kim Gek Lin Short is the author of the lyric novels The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits and China Cowboy, both from Tarpaulin Sky Press. Her story in prose poems, Run (Rope-a-Dope), was selected for the 2010 Golden Gloves, and her debut hybrid collection, The Residents, was published by Chicago’s dancing girl press. Her work appears in anthologies such as Narrative (Dis)Continuties: Prose Experiments by Younger American Writers, and in numerous literary magazines.

China Cowboy
by Kim Gek Lin Short

Lyric Novel. 132 pages. Paperback. 2012
Cover design: Andrew Shuta

In the technicolor timewarp called Hell, Hong Kong, wannabe cowgirl La La is hellbent on realizing her dream to be a folk-singing sensation, even if it means surviving a dysfunctional relationship with her kidnapper, Ren, who is just hellbent. Ren thinks he’ll win, but La La, dead or alive, always wins.

China Cowboy
by Kim Gek Lin Short

Lyric Novel. 132 pages. Paperback. 2012
Cover design: Andrew Shuta

In the technicolor timewarp called Hell, Hong Kong, wannabe cowgirl La La is hellbent on realizing her dream to be a folk-singing sensation, even if it means surviving a dysfunctional relationship with her kidnapper, Ren, who is just hellbent. Ren thinks he’ll win, but La La, dead or alive, always wins.

Born in Hong Kong to a family of thieves, La La survives by giving herself fully to her religion—Americana. Her saints: Loretta Lynn and Clint Eastwood. Even after being kidnapped and brutally tortured by one of her family’s victims—ironically a farmer from Missouri named Ren—she asks herself, “what would Patsy Cline do?” The answer: “she’d belt every song in that / scratchy face.” … This fragmented narrative chronicles their dreams, delusions, and horrific physical lives. La La and Ren are as searing as any characters I’ve encountered—Henry and Mr. Bones, Lolita and Humbert Humbert, Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill…. (Chris Tonelli) Short is an elegant, entrancing writer, and her second book-length collection is both devastating and uncomfortably enjoyable. (Megan Milks, American Book Review) A satanically intricate narrative with seemingly infinite vantage points in space, time and sympathy … has expanded and fused the poetic and narrative fields, creating a zone where elegance and grace can gambol with the just-plain-fucked-up. (Sarah Heady, HTML Giant) …grossly disturbing and excruciatingly seductive, catching the reader in a tense push and pull with and against the text. Sticky and stuck among the fucking and fucked-up, Short binds us within tales of fierce femme survival…. (Jai Arun Ravine, The Lantern Review)  As savage as it is entertaining…. a marvel of modern storytelling, [with] characters whose stories will haunt you long after you finish the book, and will more than likely draw you back for another read. (John Deming and Steven Karl, Coldfront “Top 40 Poetry Books of 2012”) Bring[s] the reader to the brink of every sensory extreme and back again … a darkly surreal adventure in perception that leaves one’s nerves exposed and moral fortitude shaken. (Travis Macdonald, Fact-Simile) China Cowboy pulls me deep into “the belly of Hell,” a genre- and voice-switching push-and-pull that La La with her indomitable will refuses to give way to…. La La may be victimized, but she never submits…. I want every child to own such unyielding puissance; I want it for me, too. (Marthe Reed, OPEN / Horse Less Press) Moving between the explicit descriptions of the Marquis de Sade and the implicit ironies of Nabokov, these pieces are excruciatingly compelling, so infernal as they are related in languages variously pornographic and desperately, radically tender. Short’s brilliant tragicomedy can be read as a metaphor for China’s dynamic with American culture or the story of any determined enterprising youth whose eager “bloody head” under a bumbling tyrant’s “boot is bent.” A bold, imaginative, timely work from a courageous and complex thinker. (Heidi Lynn Staples) Heated & heartbreaking, China Cowboy charms like wedding cans, flesh-filled, on tarmac. This car (perhaps an old, long Cadillac with longhorns glaring & charred) contains a man, Ren: a “family man” or “something commensurate.” La-La: our heroine. & the driver, guiding us expertly over the bluegrass, bodies & Time Warps of Hell, child abuse, power & Country Music is Kim Gek Lin Short. (Rauan Klassnik) China Cowboy is more hydra than hybrid, a slim monster sprouting new directions for form, narrative, culture, and identity. Meanwhile, everything it bites comes to vicious, gorgeous life. (Christian TeBordo)

Born in Hong Kong to a family of thieves, La La survives by giving herself fully to her religion—Americana. Her saints: Loretta Lynn and Clint Eastwood. Even after being kidnapped and brutally tortured by one of her family’s victims—ironically a farmer from Missouri named Ren—she asks herself, “what would Patsy Cline do?” The answer: “she’d belt every song in that / scratchy face.” … This fragmented narrative chronicles their dreams, delusions, and horrific physical lives. La La and Ren are as searing as any characters I’ve encountered—Henry and Mr. Bones, Lolita and Humbert Humbert, Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill…. (Chris Tonelli) Short is an elegant, entrancing writer, and her second book-length collection is both devastating and uncomfortably enjoyable. (Megan Milks, American Book Review) A satanically intricate narrative with seemingly infinite vantage points in space, time and sympathy … has expanded and fused the poetic and narrative fields, creating a zone where elegance and grace can gambol with the just-plain-fucked-up. (Sarah Heady, HTML Giant) …grossly disturbing and excruciatingly seductive, catching the reader in a tense push and pull with and against the text. Sticky and stuck among the fucking and fucked-up, Short binds us within tales of fierce femme survival…. (Jai Arun Ravine, The Lantern Review)  As savage as it is entertaining…. a marvel of modern storytelling, [with] characters whose stories will haunt you long after you finish the book, and will more than likely draw you back for another read. (John Deming and Steven Karl, Coldfront “Top 40 Poetry Books of 2012”) Bring[s] the reader to the brink of every sensory extreme and back again … a darkly surreal adventure in perception that leaves one’s nerves exposed and moral fortitude shaken. (Travis Macdonald, Fact-Simile) China Cowboy pulls me deep into “the belly of Hell,” a genre- and voice-switching push-and-pull that La La with her indomitable will refuses to give way to…. La La may be victimized, but she never submits…. I want every child to own such unyielding puissance; I want it for me, too. (Marthe Reed, OPEN / Horse Less Press) Moving between the explicit descriptions of the Marquis de Sade and the implicit ironies of Nabokov, these pieces are excruciatingly compelling, so infernal as they are related in languages variously pornographic and desperately, radically tender. Short’s brilliant tragicomedy can be read as a metaphor for China’s dynamic with American culture or the story of any determined enterprising youth whose eager “bloody head” under a bumbling tyrant’s “boot is bent.” A bold, imaginative, timely work from a courageous and complex thinker. (Heidi Lynn Staples) Heated & heartbreaking, China Cowboy charms like wedding cans, flesh-filled, on tarmac. This car (perhaps an old, long Cadillac with longhorns glaring & charred) contains a man, Ren: a “family man” or “something commensurate.” La-La: our heroine. & the driver, guiding us expertly over the bluegrass, bodies & Time Warps of Hell, child abuse, power & Country Music is Kim Gek Lin Short. (Rauan Klassnik) China Cowboy is more hydra than hybrid, a slim monster sprouting new directions for form, narrative, culture, and identity. Meanwhile, everything it bites comes to vicious, gorgeous life. (Christian TeBordo)

The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits
by Kim Gek Lin Short

Lyric Novel. 72 pages, Paperback. 2010
Cover art by Daniel Rhodes

The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits is the prose elegy of a boy who wants to be a bug in order to save by symbiosis the dead girl he loves. Can Harlan, in “the basement forever inside him,” conjure Toland back from “the scars of Monday”? Enacted in prose poems and cross-referenced datebooks, the inseparable lovers, Harlan and Toland, eternally rehearse for a real life together, repeating in that instant between being and nonbeing, the loss into which their love escaped.

The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits
by Kim Gek Lin Short

Lyric Novel. 72 pages, Paperback. 2010
Cover art by Daniel Rhodes

The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits is the prose elegy of a boy who wants to be a bug in order to save by symbiosis the dead girl he loves. Can Harlan, in “the basement forever inside him,” conjure Toland back from “the scars of Monday”? Enacted in prose poems and cross-referenced datebooks, the inseparable lovers, Harlan and Toland, eternally rehearse for a real life together, repeating in that instant between being and nonbeing, the loss into which their love escaped.

A strange romance of “the secret motions of things” (Francis Bacon, The New Atlantis, 1627), Kim Gek Lin Short’s The Bugging Watch and Other Exhibits is an exciting, mysterious, sometimes macabre new narrative. Her zany futuristic gothic opera of prose poems is threaded with magic, potions, passion, a “concert of hair,” a “hazmat of holes.” With its incantations of quantum teleology, its footnotes & sources, it is a magnificent work. Irresistible! (Norma Cole) A luminous and perverse fairy-tale to be read at the beginning of the day, preferably in that “chilly blue hour before 4 a.m.” Complete with footnotes, diagrams and an “unspeakable private crevice,” these prose “exhibits” display a prebiotic potential. What was “not quite alive,” becomes, in this swift, dark telling, “hot anyway,” “enchantment created inside everything,” and sometimes: “a poem about bugs.” Angels, lab technicians from the suburbs of Denver, men in ratty satin capes and artisans of all kinds populate this stunning and strange narrative, which is not a narrative: it is a “growing hole.” Enacting the desire and curiosity the book prompts, a reader might peer in, fall for a long time, then “miraculously return.” I repeat: do not read this book at night. If you do, I can’t—the book can’t—account for your new dreams. (Bhanu Kapil) This small unsettling book first proposes a stiflingly sweet symbiosis between two shut-in innamorati, and then lets its queer world subdivide in a theater of exfoliating roles. Most shocking in this miniature is the Rosebud at its center, a muse who breaks with her mate only to reinvent him out of bugs, ink and sugarwater. Like a Victorian photo collage mounting, say, the head of Prince Albert on a croquet mallet or umbrella handle, The Bugging Watch both conceals and reveals its morbidity, its twisted thirsts. (Joyelle McSweeney) I kept thinking: Catacomb Valentine. Sometimes we forget that ancient catacombs were mapped, negotiated—which is to say: read—by the placement of the graves of paupers. The tunnel diggers constellated this grammar so they would know how to navigate and create within lush darkness. The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits, in its way, deeply reminds. The network of tunnels—between lives, between being (blink) and not being (blink)—and all papered with valentines, the sort cut from thick, mealy-colored childhood stock. Here is language as enchantment. (Selah Saterstrom) Short’s prose poems have the exactitude of obsessive compulsion, yet the imagery and dimness of an opiate trip sponsored by Lewis Caroll. . . . She frequently stretches the parameters of grammar, rearranging conventional syntax to just off kilter; her written style as surreal as her yarn-and-insect imagery. The result is a terrifying, ungraspable split-level love story: futile, sad and beautiful. (Jeremy Benson, NewPagesA beguiling and entirely enthralling collection of related prose poems . . . so unusual and provocative in its subtle oddities that I wonder how aware she is of what she’s done. . . . It is what you think when you read a story by George Saunders, or see a film by David Lynch, or flip through a comic by R. Crumb: how did this person know he could do this? (Ben Gottlieb, Art + Culture)

A strange romance of “the secret motions of things” (Francis Bacon, The New Atlantis, 1627), Kim Gek Lin Short’s The Bugging Watch and Other Exhibits is an exciting, mysterious, sometimes macabre new narrative. Her zany futuristic gothic opera of prose poems is threaded with magic, potions, passion, a “concert of hair,” a “hazmat of holes.” With its incantations of quantum teleology, its footnotes & sources, it is a magnificent work. Irresistible! (Norma Cole) A luminous and perverse fairy-tale to be read at the beginning of the day, preferably in that “chilly blue hour before 4 a.m.” Complete with footnotes, diagrams and an “unspeakable private crevice,” these prose “exhibits” display a prebiotic potential. What was “not quite alive,” becomes, in this swift, dark telling, “hot anyway,” “enchantment created inside everything,” and sometimes: “a poem about bugs.” Angels, lab technicians from the suburbs of Denver, men in ratty satin capes and artisans of all kinds populate this stunning and strange narrative, which is not a narrative: it is a “growing hole.” Enacting the desire and curiosity the book prompts, a reader might peer in, fall for a long time, then “miraculously return.” I repeat: do not read this book at night. If you do, I can’t—the book can’t—account for your new dreams. (Bhanu Kapil) This small unsettling book first proposes a stiflingly sweet symbiosis between two shut-in innamorati, and then lets its queer world subdivide in a theater of exfoliating roles. Most shocking in this miniature is the Rosebud at its center, a muse who breaks with her mate only to reinvent him out of bugs, ink and sugarwater. Like a Victorian photo collage mounting, say, the head of Prince Albert on a croquet mallet or umbrella handle, The Bugging Watch both conceals and reveals its morbidity, its twisted thirsts. (Joyelle McSweeney) I kept thinking: Catacomb Valentine. Sometimes we forget that ancient catacombs were mapped, negotiated—which is to say: read—by the placement of the graves of paupers. The tunnel diggers constellated this grammar so they would know how to navigate and create within lush darkness. The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits, in its way, deeply reminds. The network of tunnels—between lives, between being (blink) and not being (blink)—and all papered with valentines, the sort cut from thick, mealy-colored childhood stock. Here is language as enchantment. (Selah Saterstrom) Short’s prose poems have the exactitude of obsessive compulsion, yet the imagery and dimness of an opiate trip sponsored by Lewis Caroll. . . . She frequently stretches the parameters of grammar, rearranging conventional syntax to just off kilter; her written style as surreal as her yarn-and-insect imagery. The result is a terrifying, ungraspable split-level love story: futile, sad and beautiful. (Jeremy Benson, NewPagesA beguiling and entirely enthralling collection of related prose poems . . . so unusual and provocative in its subtle oddities that I wonder how aware she is of what she’s done. . . . It is what you think when you read a story by George Saunders, or see a film by David Lynch, or flip through a comic by R. Crumb: how did this person know he could do this? (Ben Gottlieb, Art + Culture)

Kim Gek Lin Short in the Media

Kim Gek Lin Short's China Cowboy reviewed in the American Book Review

"Through the figure of La La, a tragic (child) victim/heroine not unlike the stars La La idolizes, Kim Gek Lin Short explores questions of agency and exploitation—emphasis on exploitation. Short is an elegant, entrancing writer, and her second book-length collection is both devastating and uncomfortably enjoyable."

Kim Gek Lin Short interviewed at Coldfront

At Coldfront, poet Steven Karl interviews Tarpaulin Sky author Kim Gek Lin Short: "Dreaming, being alienated, wondering who we are as individuals and as members of a race or nationality or gender—these qualities of self are inherent to all characters, or should be."

Open Letter to Kim Gek Lin Short, from Marthe Reed, at Horse Less Press

At Horse Less Press, Marthe Reed writes an open letter to Tarpaulin Sky Press author Kim Gek Lin Short, whom Reed has never met. It is a "A bridging of gaps, absence, desire: Dear Kim. 'Dear Kim. Your language sticks to me, adheres in transparent sheets, paper-in-the-rain, soaking through my skin.' Dear reader, dear writer. What do you hear? Were you always there, listening through the wall, or the page? What would you say?"

HTML GIANT review of Kim Gek Lin Short's China Cowboy

We'd like to believe that Sarah Heady's estimation of China Cowboy is an apt description, generally, of the work TSky Press seeks to publish--work that "has expanded and fused the poetic and narrative fields, creating a zone where elegance and grace can gambol with the just-plain-fucked-up."

Kim Gek Lin Short's China Cowboy reviewed at Fact-Simile

Kim Gek Lin Short's latest is reviewed by Travis Macdonald at Fact-Simile, who calls China Cowboy "a darkly surreal adventure...that leaves one’s nerves exposed and moral fortitude shaken.... A successfully executed experiment in prosody that simultaneously braids and frays narrative timelines and expectations, bringing the reader to the brink of every sensory extreme and back again."

Tarpaulin Sky Press announces Open Reading Period picks!

Tarpaulin Sky Press is pleased to announce that it has selected not one but two manuscripts from the 2010 open reading period: Claire Donato’s novel, Burial, and David Wolach’s poetry collection, Hospitalogy, both of which will be published in Spring 2013. Congrats!

Bookslut interviews Kim Gek Lin Short

At BookSlut, Elizabeth Hildreth interviews TSky Press author Kim Gek Lin Short (China Cowboy (2012) and The Bugging Watch and Other Exhibits (2010)) discussing "among other things" the "David Bowie Method, poems who wear cheap prose wigs, establishing a sort of cahoots with the villain, hallucinating Clint Eastwood (musical accompaniment and all), chafing against the words 'strange' and 'experimental,' and being considered the 2010 poetry It Girl."

Kim Gek Lin Short’s The Bugging Watch and Other Exhibits and Run reviewed at Sink Review

At Sink Review, Dan Magers provides a rather brilliant review of Kim Gek Lin Short's *The Bugging Watch and Other Exhibits*, from Tarpaulin Sky Press, as well as Kim's chapbook *Run*, which is not only a wicked read (we'll be publishing the full-length version, *China Cowboy*, next year) but is also gorgeously produced by those handbound-book gods, Rope-a-Dope press.

Kim Gek Lin Short is featured at InDigest

Kim Gek Lin Short, author of The Bugging Watch and Other Exhibits, is featured in an interview-slash-essay at InDigest: "There is always the thrill of creating a new category, and the danger of enacting rules. But whenever I read something that poses poetry on a categorical high horse in a big snooze purist way, I think: this book is a real asshole. . . .

NewPages reviews Kim Gek Lin Short's The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits

At NewPages, Jeremy Benson reviews Kim Gek Lin Short's debut from Tarpaulin Sky Press, *The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits*: "Short’s prose poems have the exactitude of obsessive compulsion, yet the imagery and dimness of an opiate trip sponsored by Lewis Caroll.... She frequently stretches the parameters of grammar, rearranging conventional syntax to just off kilter; her written style as surreal as her yarn-and-insect imagery. The result is a terrifying, ungraspable split-level love story: futile, sad and beautiful."

Kim Gek Lin Short in the Media

Kim Gek Lin Short's China Cowboy reviewed in the American Book Review

"Through the figure of La La, a tragic (child) victim/heroine not unlike the stars La La idolizes, Kim Gek Lin Short explores questions of agency and exploitation—emphasis on exploitation. Short is an elegant, entrancing writer, and her second book-length collection is both devastating and uncomfortably enjoyable."

Kim Gek Lin Short interviewed at Coldfront

At Coldfront, poet Steven Karl interviews Tarpaulin Sky author Kim Gek Lin Short: "Dreaming, being alienated, wondering who we are as individuals and as members of a race or nationality or gender—these qualities of self are inherent to all characters, or should be."

Open Letter to Kim Gek Lin Short, from Marthe Reed, at Horse Less Press

At Horse Less Press, Marthe Reed writes an open letter to Tarpaulin Sky Press author Kim Gek Lin Short, whom Reed has never met. It is a "A bridging of gaps, absence, desire: Dear Kim. 'Dear Kim. Your language sticks to me, adheres in transparent sheets, paper-in-the-rain, soaking through my skin.' Dear reader, dear writer. What do you hear? Were you always there, listening through the wall, or the page? What would you say?"

HTML GIANT review of Kim Gek Lin Short's China Cowboy

We'd like to believe that Sarah Heady's estimation of China Cowboy is an apt description, generally, of the work TSky Press seeks to publish--work that "has expanded and fused the poetic and narrative fields, creating a zone where elegance and grace can gambol with the just-plain-fucked-up."

Kim Gek Lin Short's China Cowboy reviewed at Fact-Simile

Kim Gek Lin Short's latest is reviewed by Travis Macdonald at Fact-Simile, who calls China Cowboy "a darkly surreal adventure...that leaves one’s nerves exposed and moral fortitude shaken.... A successfully executed experiment in prosody that simultaneously braids and frays narrative timelines and expectations, bringing the reader to the brink of every sensory extreme and back again."

Tarpaulin Sky Press announces Open Reading Period picks!

Tarpaulin Sky Press is pleased to announce that it has selected not one but two manuscripts from the 2010 open reading period: Claire Donato’s novel, Burial, and David Wolach’s poetry collection, Hospitalogy, both of which will be published in Spring 2013. Congrats!

Bookslut interviews Kim Gek Lin Short

At BookSlut, Elizabeth Hildreth interviews TSky Press author Kim Gek Lin Short (China Cowboy (2012) and The Bugging Watch and Other Exhibits (2010)) discussing "among other things" the "David Bowie Method, poems who wear cheap prose wigs, establishing a sort of cahoots with the villain, hallucinating Clint Eastwood (musical accompaniment and all), chafing against the words 'strange' and 'experimental,' and being considered the 2010 poetry It Girl."

Kim Gek Lin Short’s The Bugging Watch and Other Exhibits and Run reviewed at Sink Review

At Sink Review, Dan Magers provides a rather brilliant review of Kim Gek Lin Short's *The Bugging Watch and Other Exhibits*, from Tarpaulin Sky Press, as well as Kim's chapbook *Run*, which is not only a wicked read (we'll be publishing the full-length version, *China Cowboy*, next year) but is also gorgeously produced by those handbound-book gods, Rope-a-Dope press.

Kim Gek Lin Short is featured at InDigest

Kim Gek Lin Short, author of The Bugging Watch and Other Exhibits, is featured in an interview-slash-essay at InDigest: "There is always the thrill of creating a new category, and the danger of enacting rules. But whenever I read something that poses poetry on a categorical high horse in a big snooze purist way, I think: this book is a real asshole. . . .

NewPages reviews Kim Gek Lin Short's The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits

At NewPages, Jeremy Benson reviews Kim Gek Lin Short's debut from Tarpaulin Sky Press, *The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits*: "Short’s prose poems have the exactitude of obsessive compulsion, yet the imagery and dimness of an opiate trip sponsored by Lewis Caroll.... She frequently stretches the parameters of grammar, rearranging conventional syntax to just off kilter; her written style as surreal as her yarn-and-insect imagery. The result is a terrifying, ungraspable split-level love story: futile, sad and beautiful."