Moniza Alvi:

The True Story of Cowboy Hat and Ingénue crosses boundaries, including those of sexual identity, cultures and  language. There’s eroticism and adventure here, as well as conflict and sharp pain. Maria Jastrzębska excels at the ‘borderline’ form of the prose poem and with these linked pieces it’s as if she presents us with an epic in a small space. To read it is to be challenged as well as enchanted.’

Gregory Woods:

(on The True Story of Cowboy Hat and Ingénue) grittily tender romance that sparks a rare kind of pleasure: the lush austerity of its language has you both sumptuously satisfied and yet longing for more.

David Caddy:

Maria Jastrzębska’s The True Story of Cowboy Hat and Ingénue, 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.

Tears in the Fence number 71 Spring 2020

George Szirtes:

“Maria Jastrzebska’s poems open out like adventures in a dual land that is both here and elsewhere. The elsewhere is both place and history: the one gives life to the other, the place to the history, the elsewhere to the here, the fable to the reality. The mixture is rich and clear as alcoholic spirits.”

Gillian Allnutt:

“Here is the quiet cutting edge of honesty. Hers is a considered poetry, though inconsiderate enough when inconsideration is required.”

John O’Donoghue:

“There’s a subtlety and seeing-round corners perspective to her poems that could be Polish, could be queer or could just be pure Jastrzębska.”

Anne-Marie Fyfe:

In sparsely reticent, if by turns surreal, poems – and in unnervingly detached prose-poem accounts – Jastrzębska unfolds a past that, far from being another country, is a lost dimension of, and an insistent counterpoint to, the complex present.

U A Fanthorpe:

“This is poetry with an original slant to it.  We are used to Caribbean poets, Asian poets, Merseyside poets and so on – but Polish poets I’ve read only, so far, in translation.  The sense of being an outsider in England (where she does live) and yet belonging in an important way in Greece (where she doesn’t) strikes a new note.  ‘Advice to Writers’ (‘take the hidden path’) is a poem of real distinction.

This is not-quite-English poetry, partly because of its subject matter and its admirably high-handed way with punctuation, and partly because of its affinity with the defeated, and all their echoes.  It’s written in English, but not quite expected English – and the unexpected in context of the expected is of the essence of real poetry.”