“There is nothing else in this world / like realizing / you’re going to live / and not being sure / you can.”
From Claire C. Holland, a timely collection of poetry that follows the final girl of slasher cinema – the girl who survives until the end – on a journey of retribution and reclamation. From the white picket fences of 1970s Haddonfield to the apocalyptic end of the world, Holland confronts the role of women in relation to subjects including feminism, sexuality, violence, and healing in the world of Trump and the MeToo movement. Each poem centers on a fictional character from horror cinema, and explores the many ways in which women find empowerment through their own perceived monstrousness.
Horror After Dark Review
I AM NOT YOUR FINAL GIRL: Poems, by Claire C. Holland, is a collection of poetry that pays tribute to various “final girls” of horror movies over the years. Split up into sections, each poem has the title of a woman’s name–underneath this, the movie the character starred in.
However, the book is really so much more than the sum of its parts.
My attention was immediately caught by Claire C. Holland’s introduction. Unlike many that I come across, this one made me feel as though I was hearing her actually speaking the words. It was so well articulated that I could feel the author’s emotions, and in that moment, they became my own. She wasn’t just speaking of movie heroines.
She spoke of real world events, and women who endure lesser treatment simply for being labeled a female. She spoke of real women being like the “final girls” in movies–those that won’t give up; those that fight for themselves rather than sit around waiting to be rescued.
“. . . We defy definition . . . “
These poems and the women in them send out a strong message. In every instance, they refuse to bow down to societal expectations. In each page, I read about a real person with unique feelings of their own–not just a stereotype on the screen. Holland has given them a distinct outlook that stands out among the others.
“There is nothing else in this world
you’re going to live
and not being sure
**(Excerpt from “Sally”)**
The poetry in here is not all roses and happiness, it is a testament to the actual emotions and thoughts that many women today are still fighting to have heard above the generalizations.
“. . . I can’t exist in a way that comforts you.”
Every page of this book brought me a new outlook on whichever famous character it was in reference to. Even the movies I was unfamiliar with gave me the opportunity to view things from a standpoint not commonly taken. One particular line in regards to those that say they want to “protect” (control) women really stood out to me.
“. . . White fences are only made of wood,
they splinter so easily.”
**(Except from “Laurie”)**
I normally don’t actively seek out books of poetry–except for a few notable authors. However, this collection that you can “feel” deep inside as you read, is the kind that had me going back and re-reading selections immediately.
**I received this book in my May “NightWorms” subscription package, and plan on looking for more by this author in the future.**
About The Author
About Claire C. Holland
Claire C. Holland is a poet and writer from Philadelphia, currently living in Los Angeles. She got her BA from Washington College in English and creative writing, with a concentration in poetry. She has been a freelance writer for more than ten years.
When she’s not writing, Claire can usually be found reading or binge-watching horror movies with her husband, Corey, and Wheaten Terrier, Chief Brody. She is also a feminist, a tattoo collector, and interested in all forms of art strange and subversive.