Xanax Cowboy

Xanax Cowboy

Written by: Green, Hannah

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Hannah Green’s edgy, often darkly comedic debut, Xanax Cowboy, is a long poem that considers the romanticization of addiction and mental illness (particularly in relation to the notion of the artist) via the romanticization of the Wild West.

Cowboys are supposed to be messed up, a bit raw around the edges. The speaker wants to be loved for this too, and doesn’t care if she is the only one laughing.

The long poem is known for its resistance to form and expectation. Xanax Cowboy is as obsessed with itself as other long poems. It is vain. It is ridiculous. It is a tangent with new shapes, line breaks, and metaphors. Highly referential, mostly in terms of pop culture and iconography — drawing from sources such as Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid and the films of Quentin Tarantino — Xanax Cowboy also deploys a specifically feminist approach, giving it additional urgency and energy.

Xanax Cowboy insists on its variety of form and approach. Its strangeness. Its boldness. Its smoking pistols. Prepare yourself for a whiskey-drenched Western where pills fall from the sky and the speaker swallows Hollywood’s version of the cowboy, its loneliness resting in her belly.

Hannah Green’s edgy, often darkly comedic debut, Xanax Cowboy, is a long poem that considers the romanticization of addiction and mental illness (particularly in relation to the notion of the artist) via the romanticization of the Wild West.

Cowboys are supposed to be messed up, a bit raw around the edges. The speaker wants to be loved for this too, and doesn’t care if she is the only one laughing.

The long poem is known for its resistance to form and expectation. Xanax Cowboy is as obsessed with itself as other long poems. It is vain. It is ridiculous. It is a tangent with new shapes, line breaks, and metaphors. Highly referential, mostly in terms of pop culture and iconography — drawing from sources such as Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid and the films of Quentin Tarantino — Xanax Cowboy also deploys a specifically feminist approach, giving it additional urgency and energy.

Xanax Cowboy insists on its variety of form and approach. Its strangeness. Its boldness. Its smoking pistols. Prepare yourself for a whiskey-drenched Western where pills fall from the sky and the speaker swallows Hollywood’s version of the cowboy, its loneliness resting in her belly.

Published By House of Anansi Press Inc — Apr 4, 2023
Specifications 128 pages | 6 in x 8 in
Written By

HANNAH GREEN is a writer and poetry editor at CV2. She was a poetry finalist for the 2021 Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. She lives in Winnipeg.

Written By

HANNAH GREEN is a writer and poetry editor at CV2. She was a poetry finalist for the 2021 Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. She lives in Winnipeg.


I’ve never read anything quite like Xanax Cowboy, with its lassoed dream logic or its pistol-drawn showdown with dread. But that’s life when you live in a Wild West of anxiety, and nowhere else can you find this prescription-laced, wasp-sting aesthetic. Hannah Green’s poems are a form-bending live wire, a chainsaw ethos that carves its way through the desert sunset. A long howl in cowboy boots that refuses to be wrangled, Xanax Cowboy is original and compelling.

” —Andrew Faulkner, author of Heady Bloom

A fierce collection on cowboy boots and alienation, with incisive and insightful thoughts on navigating mental health, Hannah Green’s debut is all tooth and claw. It bristles, sears, and haunts. At once individual, and yet illuminating in the affective commons it articulates, Hannah has created a home here — come dwell.

” —Dallas Hunt, author of Creeland

Xanax Cowboy is a meta-poetic romp that chews through the lexicons of pulp, pop, and academia, spitting out pieces that are at once campy, dark, and gnawingly tender, with a bravado and showmanship that challenge conventions of performance, gender, and genre. Through roving tours of tone and tactic … Hannah Green mounts a contemporary antihero with both a light and devastating touch, knowing just when to loosen the slack and when to jerk the line arrestingly taut.

” —Jury Citation, 2021 Bronwen Wallace Award