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Plastic's Republic

Plastic's Republic

By Giovanna Riccio

In 2019 Barbie turns 60. Never only a toy, she defines the stellar. In Plastic's Republic, Giovanna Riccio delves into Barbie's impact on female beauty highlighting how plasticity in body and persona have allowed the doll to remain top-diva. Other poems bring to life, Mattel's movers-n-shakers who created Barbie to be their in-house money maker. Riccio's Plastications lyrics illustrate how Barbie's mouldable nature lets Mattel position their high achiever as ever-relevant, arguably, by exploiting social trends, political movements and historical events. In the Human Barbies section, Barbie becomes plastic surgery's prophet, spawning “plastic-positive” people who see their bodies as raw material suitable for actual and virtual surgical “doctoring.” Riccio's witty, inimitable poems portray Barbie as a complex, contradictory global celebrity, but also explore the philosophical, feminist and body-image issues that this plastic goddess engenders. In the finale, the poems naturally segue to silicone sex dolls and a plastic-smothered ocean.


Guernica Editions (Essential Poets Series)


120 pages |

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This genre-bending collection is a Barbie Bible for the Disenchanted. Riccio’s philosophical reflections, historical, sociological and personal verses... create a playhouse fit for kings, queens, misfits, and lost souls who can’t wait to revolt against the tyrannical capitalist system that favours the strong over the weak, the young and pretty over the over-the-hillers.

Mary Melfi, award winning novelist, poet and playwright; author of Italy Revisited: Conversations with My Mother

Moving between Plato's cave and Plastic's world of appearances, these eloquent and trenchant poems chronicle the history and aftermath of the "living doll" we know as Barbie... Plato may have banished the poet from his Republic, but in Plastic’s Republic, the poet returns with a vengeance to reminisce—with no trace of nostalgia—and then to recraft Barbie’s story with both confident elegance and daring resourcefulness.

Linda Hutcheon, University of Toronto, author of A Poetics of Postmodernism and A Theory of Adaptation


AICW Bressani Literary Prize

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About the author

Giovanna Riccio is a graduate of the University of Toronto where she studied philosophy. Her poems have appeared in national and international journals and magazines as well as numerous anthologies. Translations of her poems have been published in Italian, French and Romanian. She is the author of Vittorio (Lyricalmyrical Press, 2010) and Strong Bread (Quattro Books, 2011).