The Damage Done

forthcoming from Broadstone Books

Praise for The Damage Done:

“Susana H. Case has written a remarkable tale, poetry you can’t stop reading or listening to. You’re in the late sixties, early seventies, when the Vietnam War protests, racism, and federal corruption are rampant in the U.S. There’s a beautiful woman who’s a gun-runner and pill-popper. There’s murder. There’s a Karmann Ghia. And a Jimi Hendrix look-alike. The Black Panther Party is targeted by the FBI (COINTELPRO), which, among other things, prevents a local detective from doing his job. There’s electronic bugging, stoolies, snitches, and setups. Paranoia stars in this tale—paranoia, which in that era often turned out to be true. And throughout the chaos, the poet’s voice rings clear and honest. “Order unravels ugly,” she writes in the letter “Dear Disorder.” And yet the order of this story in verse, aided by lyrical notes in the back, unravels beautiful. A must read.”

—Anne Harding Woodworth, author of Trouble (Turning Point) and The Last Gun (Cervena Barva Press)

“Fierce, witty, snapping with intelligence and dark as f, Susana H. Case’s The Damage Done introduces a new take on the poem noir. The crime story—fiction inspired by facts—is set squarely in the 60s, early 70s, but we know how elements of one era bleed into the next, and into the one after that. We are not yet done with such misdeeds, such misfortune and the apparatus of dirty tricks.”

—Suzanne Lummis, —Suzanne Lummis, author of Open 24 Hours (Lynx House Press) and host of the YouTube series They Write by Night, produced by a poetry.la, a serio-comic mingling of poetry and film noir. 

In The Damage Done, Susana H. Case has written a page-turner of a suspense thriller in poetic form. These sequences create a compelling narrative, dramatizing the life and death of Janey, a young woman hounded, harassed, and ultimately murdered by an operative of the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover’s infamous COINTELPRO—a “sophisticated vigilante program,” that destroyed lives of civil rights activists, Vietnam War protestors, and progressive sympathizers caught in the crossfire. Janey’s offense that renders her a threat to corrupt agents of the law? Her drug use, her love affair with and financial support for a low-level member of the Black Panther Party. This book is meticulously researched, alive with the voices of key characters (troubled detective, cynical FBI crooks, conniving snitches, and Janey herself, dying of anorexia if the FBI hitman hadn’t gotten her first), and the politics and popular music of that dangerous era, with concluding notes that are as clear as the sordid truths subsequently uncovered by the Church Committee investigation. The edge-of-my-chair reading experience of The Damage Done opens our eyes to that devastating history and brings it alive in spare but poetic language.

—Carolyne Wright, author of Masquerade and This Dream the World: New & Selected Poems (both from Lost Horse Press).