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281 Karangahape Rd Auckland

Joanna Cho

People Person


I tackled you to the floor, locked you between my thighs, used my free arm to grab my phone. Put on the NBA highlights. You relaxed immediately. This is intimacy.

People Person is a debut collection by Joanna Cho. These adventurous, funny and dissonant poems are about the endless work of fitting in when the goalposts are constantly changing. They ask: how can we nail the perfect routine? How can we be a people person in the world? What parts of ourselves must we leave behind?

Moving between South Korea and New Zealand, Joanna Cho’s poems range excitingly in form, drawing upon and cleverly subverting the folktale, the phone conversation and the basketball game. At the heart of this book is a mother – a generous, artistic woman who has limited choices in life, in comparison with our narrator, who is almost paralysed by choice – and the deep, almost haunting comfort she brings.