Body Falling, Sunday Morning

 

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Milk and Cake Press, ISBN 978-1-7341066-0-2-51200, $12

This tightly-focused group of poems considers the miniature crime scene recreations of Frances Glessner Lee, the mother of crime scene investigation. Case imagines the lives of the victims through their deaths as depicted by Glessner Lee, and in the process invites her readers to think about how an ordinary day in an ordinary life can instantly, chillingly, turn into a shocking tragedy. — Kim Jacobs-Beck, editor, Milk and Cake Press

Praise for Body Falling, Sunday Morning:

I approached this manuscript with caution, admonishing myself in advance for any flashes of glee that might arise viewing the carnage depicted in Body FallingSunday Morning, ekphrastic works responding to crime scene dioramas created in the 1940s and 1950s by Frances Glessner Lee. I forgot that concern by the time I’d finished reading the first poem, veering past a murder-suicide and driving right into this line: “That morning, the weather was so clear.” Irony resides in the ordinary in this work, and it resonates with the pathos of a tiny doll’s scuffed face, empty gin bottle, red ballet shoes. Case’s poems hold a magnifying glass to Lee’s miniature vision, and Lee, aka Tarantula, honorary police captain wearing all black, could not have asked for a more creatively forensic, heartfelt narrative of human experience to expand the legacy of her own work than this series of poems, with their tone of wry insight and passionate restraint. — Lynn McGee, author of Tracks and Sober Cooking

Susana H. Case’s Body Falling, Sunday Morning is inspired by the crime-scene dioramas of Frances Glessner Lee. In counterpoint to the poems describing those dioramas, there are vignettes about Glessner Lee herself (including a recipe for the “Bloody Frances,” a sharp-spiced variation of the Bloody Mary) whose unconventional competence and autonomy was out of reach for the diorama-victims, mostly women. The poetry is full of chilling details that a cursory look at the three-dimensional depictions might fail to note: “She on a chair, /still in her apron and hairnet”; “her face is scuffed”; “A box of bullets sits on a kitchen shelf.” And the sum of these parts, these accounts of victims who were silenced even before their deaths, is a book that conveys a powerful sense of squalid and tragic violence. — Myra Malkin, author of No Lifeguard on Duty

Susana Case is a poet-explorer of modern life and love—and horror. More than a narrator—her poems are more than narrative reconstructions of events—Case goes deep into events and actions and emotions that shape women’s experience in our world. In Body Falling, Sunday Morning, she uses her poetic gifts of metaphor and imagery and irony to expose injustices, from oppression to abuse to murder. Taken literally, these poems are not for the faint of heart. Considered as part of the cultural dialogue, these poems are a necessary read to enhance understanding women’s place in history—and the bedroom. Taken as art, these poems are a sensual delight in color, language, and, yes, life. — Elizabeth Haukaas, author of Leap

Sample poem:

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