Earth and Below

Earth and Below, Anaphora Literary Press 112 pages ISBN 978-1937536480 $15

Selected Reviews of Earth and Below:

Review by Laura Madeline Wiseman in The Bailer

Praise for Earth and Below:

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, author of In Defense of Puppets

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, author of The Education of a Daffodil

Sample poem:


As in: chemical element Cu, atomic number 29. Ductile, malleable, reddish orange tarnish like my hair. The reason for the blue-green in turquoise around my neck.

With you, despite my attempts at resistance, I’m ductile, malleable.

Cyprium, cuprum. Fly with me to Cyprus, please, island nation where, in Roman times, copper was mined.

The largest mass found in 1857 on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan weighing four hundred and twenty tons. Let’s not go there—it’s numbing cold.

Twenty-nine isotopes, their instabilities, those of verdigris, those of price, the price of loving you.

Chalcolithic, between Neolithic and Bronze Ages.

Alchemy, the liquid way you come to me: the symbol for copper, the symbol for the goddess ♀—it’s how you make me feel.

Daguerreotypes, the Statue of Liberty, ships’ hulls (protection against barnacles, mussels), coins, wires, roofs.

Copper salts for suicide, blue blood of mollusks and horseshoe crabs.

When you touch me, the metal’s synthesis within massive stars.

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