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Final Girlby Daphne Gottlieb
Synopses & Reviews
Final Girl — the last girl left alive in the syntax of the "slasher" — traces the history of the femme fatale in a sequence of poems and stories that display the verve and wit readers have come to expect from Gottlieb. In Final Girl Gottlieb is the survivor, the one who remains to tell the story: what was done to others, what was done to her, what might yet be done to her.
In sexy and tart, dark and comic, low-down and high-hearted poems such as "Suture," "Slash," "Vamp," "Bride of Reanimator," and "The Babysitter," Gottlieb identifies and articulates the desires, fears, traumas, both personal and social, out of which pop culture is made...and then she feeds pop culture back to itself.
Though the slasher flick is central, Gottlieb finds resonances in sources as disparate as the early American captivity narrative, queer and feminist film theory, and her own mother's death from breast cancer. Through such iconic American figures as Mary Rowlandson, Marilyn Monroe, and Patty Hearst, Gottlieb delineates the ways in which we're betrayed by our cultural fantasies about abduction, gender, literature, pleasure, and transgression — and, in so doing, synthesizes the death and life of the American female.
"Evoking such disparate characters as colonial American exile Anne Hutchinson and celluloid über-stalker Freddy Krueger, Gottlieb underscores the threat inherent in female representation. It's a heart-wrenching reckoning with carnality." The Village Voice
"[An] exciting third effort from Bay Area performance poet Gottlieb....
"[C]ourageous....One hopes that Gottlieb's thoughtful poems about what it means to be female and thus subject to the male gaze are welcomed by new readers of any gender." San Francisco Chronicle
"[The] content is meant to be shocking, and it sometimes is; nevertheless, there are relatively few surprises here....Her poems are made to be performed but suffer on the page, resorting to gimmicks of text formatting and the lower-case i in place of a charged line." Library Journal
"One of the strongest volumes of political poetry to be published in years....Simultaneously hard-hitting, witty, and deeply moving, Final Girl is one of those books of poetry that ranks as simply necessary." Joel Schalit, Punk Planet
"[S]imply devastating. Grade: A" Girlfriends
"The slasher film, while perhaps deservedly underrated as a genre, makes clear one thing about our society: we want certain things to survive. Daphne Gottlieb's Final Girl wickedly subverts this received idea as it plays out in the popular imagination. Her poems are courageous and startling." Roger Corman, Film Producer
"In Final Girl, Daphne Gottlieb brainily, bloodily, erotically, amazingly makes connections between people that seem as disparate as 17th century heretic Anne Hutchinson and Patty Hearst, as Sojourner Truth and Kerouac. She twists the material of American captivity narratives, babysitter horror stories and slasher films and then some, into both a warning about and an embrace of just how really truly scary it is to be female at the start of what could may well be our final century. Not since Roky Ericson's band 'The Aliens' recast horror flicks as rock songs has such a perfect reappropriation of a great American pop art form taken place." Rebecca Brown
The one who remains to tell the story — the "final girl" — is the last girl left alive in this bracing cycle of poems that draw on slasher movies, captivity fantasies, queer theory, and death from breast cancer. Sexy and tart, low-down and high-hearted poems such as "Suture," "Slash," "Vamp," and "Bride of Reanimator" articulate the dark desires, fears, and traumas out of which pop culture is made. Author Daphne Gottlieb is the winner of the 2002 Firecracker Award and a 2002 Lambda Finalist.
About the Author
San Francisco-based Performance Poet Daphne Gottlieb stitches together the ivory tower and the gutter just using her tongue. She has been widely published in journals and anthologies including nerve.com, Exquisite Corpse, and the forthcoming Short Fuse: A Contemporary Anthology of Global Performance Poetry.
Besides anchoring two national performance poetry tours, Gottlieb has also appeared across the country with the Slam America bus tour and with notorious all-girl wordsters Sister Spit. She has performed at festivals coast-to-coast, including South by Southwest, Bumbershoot, and Ladyfest Bay Area.
She is the poetry editor of the online queer literary magazine Lodestar Quarterly, as well as Other Magazine and is a co-organizer of the all-girl spoken word festival debuting in September 2002, ForWord Girls.
Gottlieb has also performed and taught creative writing workshops around the country, from high schools and colleges to community centers. She received her MFA from Mills College.
Table of Contents
Final girl: reel to real 1
Dial x for girl 2
In a name 6
Final girl II: the frame 8
Name that tune 11
Final girl III: five things 14
Female trouble 20
The last temptation of semiotics 23
Sentencing the alphathreat 26
Lucky 13 28
Anne's neck 30
Speak truth? 32
Whisky tango romeo 33
Final girl IV: the weapon 38
Final girl V: tits and scream (Mary Rowlandson) 42
My mother gets dressed 44
Night of the dead living 47
Final girl VI: the killer 49
Bikini killer 51
Autopsy of a love letter 53
The frightening truth about desire 56
The war between the states 57
The babysitter 59
Living proof 61
The other woman 63
I knew it was over 65
The exes 68
The rough rider pulls it tight 71
Bride of reanimator 74
Final girl VI: tits and scream (Patricia Hearst) 77
Don't fall for pretty 78
For suicide girls who have considered extensions/when manic panic is enuf 82
Final girl VII: the terrible place 92
Final girl VIII: the victims 93
Final girl IX: 180 degrees (the heroes) 93
Transcendental housewife 94
Manifest destiny (great American novel remix) 96
Looking for the area code for bali on the day of the dead 99
final girl X: the final girl 102
Gone to static 104
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