Death Wears a Dress

Tania De Rozario


In many parts of Asia, female ghosts play an interesting role in how the supernatural is imagined and constructed. Whether she be the pontianak who waits for her victim by the side of the road, or the mother or lover who returns for revenge, the female ghost is often characterised as treading the line between agency and oppression. On one hand, she is an autonomous character who seeks justice on her own terms; on another, she is usually reduced to a victim of violence while she is alive, and her agency is only granted in death… in the transformation of her identity from victim to villain.

Death Wears a Dress is a collection of poems inspired by numerous female “monsters” central to Asian folklore, many of whom continue to reincarnate through horror films, pop culture and social media. Through poetic verse, I hope to centralise, re-imagine and humanise the experiences, emotions, desires, fears and regrets of these fictitious women in an effort to unearth possible insights about gender, power, longing and justice.

Death Wears A Dress is being written with the support of Singapore’s National Arts Council’s Creation Grant.

Keywords: poetry, tropical, gothic, Asia, female ghosts

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