The Damage Done by Susana H. Case

Source: GBF
Paperback, 100 pgs.
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The Damage Done by Susana H. Case (on sale as of March 1 at Broadstone – click the image to save) is a poetic narrative that explores the covert, illegal projects of the FBI, including its counter intelligence program, COINTELPRO, which was used to infiltrate domestic political organizations like the Black Panthers, feminist groups, communist organizations, and others. Janey, a fashion model in the 1960s, and her fictional murder serve as a vehicle through which Case weaves her poetic narrative.

"Woman Identified" (pg. 12)

...Janey looks untroubled
and is running in a bold-patterned

dress past a bridge, debris in soft
focus piled off by the side.
The detective laughs about it later
with his buddies, a strange photo
to sell clothes you can't even

clearly see. Surrounded by rubble.
Painted-on eyelashes - as if
she's a child's doll - 
she looks as if she could blow
away. Part of her did.

Case’s voice reads like crime thriller and a noir detective tale in which a young lady is tired of her modeling life, falls into gun running and pill popping, even as her husband strives to place his heavy boot on her and rein her in. The collection opens with a dead girl in a car – Janey – and the detective on the case continues to face roadblocks to solving her murder. Is it easier to go along with the FBI’s theories or investigate a murder of a young woman. And how the decision weighs on the detective and pushes him further to drink and unravel himself.

The paranoid atmosphere infuses her lines in “The Psychiatric Institute”: “Janey thought the Feds were after her,/She was right. The cops/all agree she was a wacko.” Case has a cast of believable characters in her collection, and while it is poetry; it’s hard not to turn the pages to see what happens next, much like reading a thriller. It’s an examination of psychological motivations, an illegal FBI program that may still be operating, and the lives that it destroyed in the name of justice.

I could not put down The Damage Done by Susana H. Case once I picked it up. This is one poetry collection that will have you on the edge of your seat.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Poet:

Susana H. Case, Ph. D., is the author of eight books of poetry. The Damage Done, from Broadstone Books (2022) is her newest. Dead Shark on the N Train, from Broadstone Books (2020), won a Pinnacle Book Award for Best Poetry Book, a NYC Big Book Awards Distinguished Favorite, and was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award. Drugstore Blue, from Five Oaks Press, won an Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY). She is also the author of five chapbooks, two of which won poetry prizes. Her poems appear widely in magazines and anthologies. Recent poems can be found in: Calyx, The Cortland Review, Fourteen Hills, Portland Review, Potomac Review, Rattle, and RHINO, among others. She has been published via translation into Polish, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. Case is co-editor, with Margo Taft Stever, of I Wanna Be Loved by You: Poems on Marilyn Monroe, Milk and Cake Press (2022).

Case is a co-editor of Slapering Hol Press and co-curates, with Lynn McGee (series founder), Sandy Yannone, and Carolyne Wright, the W-E (West-East) Bicoastal Poets of the Pandemic and Beyond series which features writers from both coasts and many other regions. She recently retired as Professor from the New York Institute of Technology in New York City, where she taught for thirty-eight years.


  1. I’m looking forward to reading this one!

    • It’s really good. You’ll love it. At least I think you will. It’s probably one of the most unique collections I’ve read this year.