Susana H. Case

Susana H. Case, a professor at the New York Institute of Technology, has published The Scottish Café (Slapering Hol Press), Anthropologist In Ohio (Main Street Rag Publishing Company), The Cost Of Heat (Pecan Grove Press), Manual of Practical Sexual Advice (Kattywompus Press), and Salem In Séance (WordTech Editions). Please visit her online at: http://iris.nyit.edu/~shcase/.

By: Susana H. Case

By: Susana H. Case

Elvis Presley’s Lips and Mick Jagger’s Hips ($15, Click to Purchase, April 2013, 80pp, 9X6″, 7 illustrations, Poetry, ISBN: 978-1-937536-36-7, LCCN: 2012955068) is rock and roll in poetry. The poems cover a range of subjects related to music, organized into three sections: “The Honey Thing,” (relationships); “Mood Alteration,” (substance abuse and shifts in emotion); and “Write a Song About It,” (the music business and its relationship to other aspects of life). Each poem also departs in unique ways from rock and roll, its lyrics and history.

By: Susana H. Case

By: Susana H. Case

Earth and Below ($15, Coming Soon, August 2013, 9X6″, 112pp, 42 illustrations, Poetry, ISBN: 978-1-937536-48-0, LCCN:2013946740) is an illustrated story, in a sense, everything one ever wanted to know about copper, examining the labor issues involved in the history of attempts to organize copper workers, their working conditions, the way differing outlooks, most commonly class-based, but not exclusively so, impacted upon the lives of copper workers, and copper and copper mines as objects in a larger world.

This is a harrowing, intense book.  It carries on the great work and vision of Muriel Rukeyser’s Book of the Dead on a global scale.  Poet and sociologist Susana H. Case has written a deeply moving “elegy of loss” and a sustained indictment of the copper mining industry from Chile to Calumet, Rhodesia to Boston.  Her prose poems and selection of photographs give voice to human suffering in unforgettable ways, as if etched in acid on a copper plate.  It takes courage just to read this book. Anthony DiMatteo

At a time when the fundamental rights of workers are in peril, Susana H. Case’s unflinching Earth and Below investigates the rarely seen lives of those who mine the earth at great personal risk and compels us to look anew at the goods “unearthed” from their work.  Although Case employs a wide range of voices, time periods, and locales, her focus is on the individual, the family, and the community navigating the brutal challenges of the mining companies and on the earth itself.  The overall effect is both panoramic and yet always intimate.  Graced throughout by striking archival photographs, this extraordinary excavation into the world beneath is at once timely and timeless. Yermiyahu Ahron Taub

8 Responses to “Susana H. Case”

  1. Anaphora Literary Press April 10, 2013 at 3:30 am #

    Daniel Sherrier Books

    http://sherrierbooks.com/?p=151#more-151

    Get to Know…Susana H. Case

    This week’s Get to Know features poet Susana H. Case. Welcome, Susana!

    Cover-ElvisTell us about your latest work.

    First, thank you, Daniel, for profiling me on your website. This type of opportunity is probably one of the few ways that someone WANTS to be profiled. Elvis Presley’s Hips & Mick Jagger’s Lips is a book of poems inspired by classic rock and roll. There are poems about the origins of rock and the music business, but also about substance abuse and, of course, sex. Where would rock and roll be without sex? Or maybe the question should be: where would sex be without rock and roll?

    Where did the idea come from? Why focus on rock music?

    I grew up with rock music and so when I think about my own life, there’s a soundtrack to every event. I think that’s true of many people — so, the music is a way to connect with other people’s experiences.

    What about poetry appeals to you?

    It’s a whole world usually packed into a small amount of space. Every word becomes important. I like that condensation. I like thinking about everything left unsaid in the lines of the poem.

    How did you get started in writing?

    My father was a writer for radio who became an English teacher. So learning to write was like learning to ride a bicycle. My father “bought” my short stories when I was a child. The first career I aspired to was to be a journalist, writing about the downtrodden. My friends didn’t have career aspirations. They thought I was seriously cuckoo.

    What keeps you writing?

    As an adult, I became a university professor. That meant I had to learn a different style of writing in order to advance professionally. After a while, though, I returned to creative writing because it had more intrinsic rewards. I tired of academic jargon. When I write a poem that I feel good about, I feel alive.

    Please share a writing tip you’ve found helpful.

    Read as many other writers as you can. See how they do things. Seriously, I think this is the way that writing improves: read-and practice.

    How do your experiences as a behavioral sciences professor influence your writing?

    There are a number of social themes threaded through my work. The first collection that I ever had published, a chapbook, was a series of poems about mathematicians trying to live quality lives in prewar Poland as outside events intruded upon their lives. I’ve also written a full-length poetry book based upon the archives of the Salem witchcraft trials and another chapbook based upon a 1940s sexual instruction manual written by a physician. I’m a researcher by training and I like poring over historical documents, looking for the way to make poetry out of artifact.

    So who’s better, Elvis Presley or Mick Jagger?

    Ha! — this is an easy question to answer quickly and a hard question to answer in depth. This is how I see it. As a child, my plan — and I fully intended to realize it — was to marry Elvis. It wasn’t until my teens that the plan changed. Even as a teenager, I would have said Elvis was better, because what you have to give him credit for, despite the later deterioration in his music, and also in his life, is creating a blend of the sounds of race records and the sounds of pop music, so, in a sense, he was an early figure in the integration of rock and roll and that was important culturally. But looking at it from the present, of course I would have to say Mick Jagger because he’s had an impact on the complexity and sophistication of rock and for that reason, his work will endure. I also admire his ability to still strut his stuff on stage. Elvis, unfortunately, just got dissolute.

    What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

    This question isn’t fair. Pick only one? That’s hard! Okay, Catcher in the Rye because it was the first time in my life that I read a book and then ran out to get and read everything else I could find by the author. The book spoke to my feelings of alienation and rebelliousness and that experience of needing to read the totality of Salinger’s work was intense. But ask me that question tomorrow and I would pick something else because I don’t really believe it was the best book ever written.

    Who is your favorite fictional character? (Any medium)

    It’s a good thing I’m not in charge of picking winners for the Academy Awards. I’d never get the names into the envelopes. I will say this: my dog is named after the child in Henry James’ What Maisie Knew. I’m sure my dog considers the adults around her to be totally impossible and their lives to be inexplicably chaotic.

    If you could have one super-power, what would it be and why?

    I’d rather be a really good singer than be able to fly. I consider a good singing voice to be a super-power. I’m off-key and it frustrates me, although my inner “me” is a cross between early Cyndi Lauper and Joan Jett.

    What’s next for you?

    I’m working on two manuscripts, going back and forth, depending upon my mood. One is a continuation of my love for rock and roll. I have more poems than can fit into one rock and roll manuscript. The other is a series of poems about copper miners and the early history of unionization attempts. I have a fixation on social injustice and a love of research, so this consolidates a number of my interests.

    Where can people learn more about your work?

    Eventually, information ends up on my website: http://iris.nyit.edu/~shcase/

    Tell us one fun fact about yourself.

    It takes me less than an hour to pack a carry-on-sized wheelie with enough stuff to go anywhere in the world for five weeks (and probably about ten percent of the weight is cosmetics).

    Thank you, Susana!

    This entry was posted in Get to Know on April 9, 2013.

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  2. Anaphora Literary Press May 15, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    Galatea Resurrects #20 (A Poetry Engagement)

    http://galatearesurrection20.blogspot.com/2013/05/elvis-presleys-hips-mick-jaggers-lips.html?m=1

    Friday, May 10, 2013

    ELVIS PRESLEY’S HIPS & MICK JAGGER’S LIPS

    MELISSA FRY BEASLEY Reviews

    Elvis Presley’s Hips & Mick Jagger’s Lips by Susana H. Case

    (Anaphora Literary Press, Shantou, China 2013)

    I have to admit I jumped at the opportunity to review Elvis Presley’s Lips & Mick Jagger’s Hips when I learned it was the latest by prolific author Susana H. Case. Such a unique and diverse writer, her eccentricity manages to remain grounded in the earthy and mundane while often touching the archaic and divine. Her work never fails to lift one up and out of themselves, offering an interesting co-mingling of the past with the present.

    “The bullet of happiness hits me; I memorize how happy feels. My blindfold’s on to deflect any defects.”

    From the poem “Political Homicide”

    With the passage from innocence to experience, we are often carried firsthand into the primal nature of mankind. In bold strokes of honesty, sexuality, violence and playfulness we are delivered beyond the limits of the usual, breaking boundaries and norms, pushing and challenging readers to see everything in a new light and different perspective.

    “Which do I prefer— you as my pill, you as my pillar? One day, love is my Dexedrine, It helps me focus on one thing, you. Next day, you give me a Valium, and I curl up and sleep by you. With both, I neglect work, and lose life for pill–‐tranquility. Passing out on the Valium, I find your pillar, and scratch my elbow on the concrete and plaster. What’s left is that delectable discretion of the skin, to sing: And I want you. And I want you.”

    From the poem “My Love Ain’t No Stranger and He Ain’t Got No Car”

    From the beginning this read is a smooth trip upon the light fantastic. Somewhere between beatnik and hippie, somewhere between personal history and confessional, one immediately has the sense of being there and going through these times and events. (The good, the bad, and the ugly)

    “Because rock n roll (and rhythm and blues also to some extent) is the music I grew up with, every significant experience in my life is somehow connected to a song or a collection of rock songs. When I remember events from my biography, there’s a soundtrack attached.”

    Having lived these rock and roll poems gives an especially strong voice to the book. This really is a fresh way to look at days gone by, more than reminiscent the writing here is so alive, exciting and tactile.

    “I lie in bed for hours, my hand rubbing my breasts, as I rehearse Randall taking off my cat–‐eye glasses to tongue–‐kiss me after he tells me he never realized how beautiful I am: a page from True Romance. The need to remove the glasses to be beautiful is essential, a fast path to fabulousness. What’s best, he lives right here in what my local paper calls the City of Aspiration. I aspire to overwhelm him with my authentic sexual self, though I’m still vague about the details.”

    From the poem “Motown Marvelous”

    Not a new writer Susana, has honed and perfected her craft while keeping it edgy and fun. Her use of rhyme and meter is unparalleled, while being especially adept at free verse. (These poems are nothing short of feistiness left tingling on the lips) She commands a profound use of metaphor, slipping in only the smallest scattering of simile. Hers is poetry of sound as well as pictures, very textured and layered with meaning. (yet beautiful in its simplicity)

    “trying to work out the logistics—him–‐her him–‐me her–‐me him–‐him, but I’ve detached from my body, became pure mind, one with the glass–‐grazed sky, so who cares if I’m with Rain Dance or Flower, because our bodies are mirage and there’s enough love along this edge of the Arabian Sea to encase a very large whale.”

    From the poem “There’s Someone In My Head But It’s Not Me”

    Elvis Presley’s Hips & Mick Jagger’s Lips is far from mild and is one exciting ride to read! It seems to be a journey from the 1960’s through the 1980’s and right into today. I intentionally didn’t choose anywhere near the best quotations so as not to ruin any of the surprise. This is definitely a MUST READ and well worth it. This collection is a true classic and a treasure for those who love and live rock and roll!

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  3. Anaphora Literary Press June 24, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    Washington Independent Review of Books
    June Exemplars: Poetry Reviews by Grace Cavalieri
    June 20, 2013
    Elvis Presley’s Hips & Mick Jagger’s Lips by Susana H. Case. Anaphora Literary Press.75 pgs.

    http://www.washingtonindependentreviewofbooks.com/features/june-exemplars-poetry-reviews

    This is an encyclopedia of rock ‘n roll in personalized poetic messages. These are flinty pieces reeling from the mean streets of the music business with youthful hope that the strength of a generation is in the glamour of the heat. In the early part of the 20th century, there was a mantra, “Mama didn’t allow no blues or jazz.” These poems tell what happens if she did. They are tough and live in the world of drugs and seduction; the relationships are unflinching too with the musical chords of discontent and misplaced love. The book is not a downer with all that; it’s elegiac and denotes a time and place in our culture where rock music thought it had trumped over age and dying. There are strong synergistic bits of heart and soul here of one poet addicted to a primal beat.

    A Cathedral of Affection

    Your cathedral of sound—

    explodes only in my ears

    in mono

    in stereo

    any noise will do.

    The way you do it in the shower—

    sing along with baby I love you,

    the oomph of woa-oh oh oh.

    I challenge you to hit the high notes,

    give me some handclaps,

    a little Leon Russell on the piano,

    Darlene Love to back you up.

    Sing with the feistiness of the Ronettes

    —Their Washington Heights fight.

    Your other fans don’t tingle on your lips.

    You sing this way for me,

    Your bad girl,

    Your dancing girl,

    Your girl to end all girls.

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  4. Anaphora Literary Press March 27, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    Official Review: Elvis Presley’s Hips and Mick Jagger’s L…
    Post Number:#1 by PashaRu » 25 Mar 2014, 15:05
    [Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Elvis Presley’s Hips and Mick Jagger’s Lips” by Susana H Case.]
    A blending of life, love, loss, pain, joy, music, and history across several generations, Elvis
    Presley’s Hips & Mick Jagger’s Lips by Susana H. Case is a collection of poems inspired by
    rock ‘n roll. The important events in our lives often have some kind of musical link or attachment – be it a concert, song, album, crush on a famous musician, tragedy involving a band or musician – and into these the author, either directly or indirectly, gives us a glimpse.

    The book is divided into three sections. The first, “The Honey Thing,” contains 15 poems which are loosely about relationships. These poems, however, are not sentimental and sweet, but honest and raw. The first poem, “There’s Someone in My Head but It’s Not Me,” is about attending a Pink Floyd concert in India “with my best friend Sharlene/whom I first met last week in Varanasi,” and the unimportance of which new acquaintance, “Rain Dance” or “Flower,” she will sleep with that night. “A Cathedral of Affection” is about the singing of the author’s love interest, and ends with “You sing this way for me/your bad girl/your dancing girl/your girl to end all girls.” Some of the selections are more like narratives than poems, such as “A Jamaican Sailor’s Forbidden Love,” where, “Holed up in my bedroom, playing hooky from school, we play the Kingsmen’s disc at 33 RPM, instead of 45 RPM and listen really hard to “Louie Louie’s” forbidden words.” The selection relates how unintelligible the lyrics were (due mostly to a bad recording), and how the song actually became the subject of an FBI investigation. Such bits and pieces of rock ‘n roll history are sprinkled throughout the poems.

    The second section is entitled “Mood Alteration.” As expected, some of the poems in this section deal with the sad reality of the rock ‘n roll scene – drugs and death. Various poems relate to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s tragic death in a helicopter in 1990 (“sober for three [years] before he strapped/himself into a Bell 206B’s/last seat, going to Chicago.”), the substance abuse of The Ramones, the stampede at a concert by The Who in 1979 that resulted in the deaths of eleven people (“Bodies, contused bodies/the confusion of bruised breath/too few open doors.”). “Murdered by a Melody” laments the loss of the more carefree days before the 1980s, with the author being “tone deaf/in the about-to-change world/moments before HIV, PCP, 2C-B/CDSC.”

    In the third section, entitled “Do a Song About It,” the poem “Symptoms of Lovoholic Addiction” recalls the police raid on a bar known as blind pig in 1967 Detroit, which led to a five-day riot and the deaths of 43 people. The very next poem, “Wailing and Howling at a Dry Moon,” is about the fire at the Station Nightclub in Rhode Island during a Great White concert in 2003. One hundred people perished in the fire. “This, too/is rock and roll, the saddest part.” The poem “Shakespeare’s Sister Doesn’t Want You” recalls Grace Slick’s attempt to slip LSD into Richard Nixon’s tea and wonders if Watergate or the bombing of Cambodia would have happened if “Tricky Dick” had “toyed with LSD.” And the poem “The Day the Music Died” takes a page from Don McLean, but unlike McLean’s song, it is a rather unsentimental review of the 1959 plane crash that killed The Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, and Buddy Holly.

    This collection of poems presents an unvarnished look at the some of the wreckage left in rock ‘n roll’s wake, but also a personal glimpse into how these songs are linked to the author personally, with subjects like heartbreak, unrequited love, lost love, and divorce mentioned more than once. I found most of the poems to be sad and melancholy. There are a few exceptions, such as “Down Lonely Street,” where the writer recollects Elvis Presley’s “loose and twistyhipped promise of sex” and “a rumored Coke bottle/stuffed in his crotch,” and she only wanted to see “the rock, the roll/of Presley’s televised pelvis” on the Ed Sullivan Show. And a few poems have to do with fulfilled love, but these poems are somewhat cryptic and inaccessible.

    The poems cover decades of rock ‘n roll music, from 1954’s “Never” by Carlyle Dundee and the Dundees to the early 2000’s. Mentioned are Big Joe Turner, Don McLean, The Sex Pistols, Mick Jagger, Bill Haley, Leon Russell, Jefferson Airplane, and others. The poems aren’t strictly about the music itself, but events (both public and personal), feelings, and memories which are linked to this genre. One or two poems evoke the carefree, Bohemian, joyful side of rock ‘n roll, especially in the early days. I would have liked to see more of these.

    Case’s poetry can be terse and powerful, with unique similes and metaphors and evocative
    imagery. Some of the poems are a bit enigmatic, and I often felt a disconnect between the title of the poem and the poem itself. Few of the poems evoked any strong feelings with me, but individual lines and stanzas resonated from time to time as I was reading. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.
    ***

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Interview author of Elvis Presley’s Hips & Mick Jagger’s Lips, poet Susana H. Case « Nostrovia! Poetry - February 12, 2013

    […] Hips & Mick Jagger’s Lips.  Her poetry has been published through Nostrovia! Poetry and Anaphora Literary Press, along with a variety of journals.  You can read Nano Elvis, a Nano Poem Collection, online, […]

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  2. Elvis Presley’s Hips and Mick Jagger’s Lips by Susana H. Case (A Review) | Sundog Lit Blog - April 8, 2013

    […] Anaphora Literary Press ISBN: 978-1-937536-36-7 80pp. | $15.95 […]

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  3. Excerpt: Susana H. Case | Extract(s) - April 12, 2013

    […] Presley’s Hips & Mick Jagger’s Lips (Anaphora Literary Press) is available at […]

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