Home » Newpages Blog » Broadstone Books

Book Review :: If This Isn’t Love by Susana H. Case

Guest Post by Jami Macarty

“Love is on the line” in Susana H. Case’s If This Isn’t Love. With her characteristic assured and unapologetic voice, Case “organizes / … [the] pens and pages” of her ninth poetry collection around “[u]nrequited love, rapes, / tumors, mental hospitals, and secret / adoptions,” among other open narratives in “romance comics,” “telenovelas,” and her own real-life, “sad increments” having to do with “broken family,” “abusive men,” “my abortion,” and “female cancers.”

In her “spill / of words,” Case cautions: “Forget the fairy gold we’re sold / in the media.” Then asks: “How else will girls learn what it takes” to survive in a world “scheming / against” them? Case brings readers to the “wall between” the “bloodthirsty” and the “beautiful,” and by doing so, she asks us to confront life’s game of “chess” in which “there are only / squares and pieces to lose.”

Who does not “wish” she “were a better player”? But who can maintain “thinking about moves” when “distracted by… / all the ways” to “choose our sides” “between loss of control” and the humiliation that comes from “love’s inevitable losses.” In “reality” there may be “no true protection” from “[w]ar and eros,” but by taking on the ménage à trois between romance, reason, and imagination, Case holds media’s purveying of “human cruelty” and “life’s atrocities” to account.

If This Isn’t Love by Susana H. Case. Broadstone Books, August 2023.

Reviewer bio: Jami Macarty is the author of The Long Now Conditions Permit, winner of the 2023 Test Site Poetry Series Prize, forthcoming fall 2024, and The Minuses (Center for Literary Publishing, 2020), winner of the 2020 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award – Poetry Arizona. Jami’s four chapbooks include The Whole Catastrophe, forthcoming summer 2024 from the Vallum Chapbook Series, and Mind of Spring (Vallum, 2017), winner of the 2017 Vallum Chapbook Award. To learn more about Jami’s writing, editing, and teaching practices visit her author website.

New Book :: The Naked Room

The Naked Room poetry by Willa Schneberg book cover image

The Naked Room by Willa Schneberg
Broadstone Books, January 2023

Poetry is a form of writing ideally suited to the expression of emotion and the most profound and subtle workings of the mind. But what if that mind is shattered, and those emotions in disarray? Such is the subject explored in Willa Schneberg’s new poetry collection The Naked Room, which draws on her experiences as a therapist to take readers on a journey through the disturbing history of psychotherapy and the treatment of mental illness, and into the current state of the art and state of the world. What keeps this from being a grim undertaking is the sheer beauty and precision of her language, as in this passage from “Tiny Monuments” describing the urns that hold the cremated remains of patients at the Oregon State Hospital (depicted on the cover of the book in a photograph by the poet): “These tiny monuments to the scorned and unknown, / wear patinas of pink, burnt sienna, ocher, aqua, / and if you look closely you will find / moon craters, archipelagos, frozen waterfalls, / Big Dippers and dunes with lone tracks.” The goal of healing that drives her therapeutic practice informs these poems as well, ending in the necessity of love, her closing image that of a long-time couple spooning in bed, “as if we would always / fit that way.” These poems, too, fit that way, a comforting reassurance.

To find more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: The End of Horses

The End of Horses poetry by Margo Taft Stever book cover image

The End of Horses
Poetry by Margo Taft Stever
Broadstone Books, April 2022

In the title poem from this new collection from Margo Taft Stever, she writes “from the end / of the time zone” where “nothing survived / after the horses were slaughtered,” a catastrophe for which no one knows whom to blame, but “The generals / and engineers pucker / and snore on the veranda.” Stever thus offers up a fable of man-made ecological disaster that is in every sense the work of a mature writer, one who has lived long and witnessed much, and who has mastered her craft, here placed in the service of the environment. She devotes much concern to animals – including a discourse on beavers – but her primary subject is humans, and her purpose is to provide readers with cautionary tales on the necessity of ethical living.

Book Review :: The Damage Done by Susana H. Case

The Damage Done by Susana Case book cover image

Guest Post by Jami Macarty

In The Damage Done, Susana H. Case creates a poetic noir, “drawn from the history of the FBI in the 1960s and 1970s,” where “[a]ll kinds of things / spin out of control,” where “anything could happen.” Like all noir, the book opens with a dead body: Janey’s, a fictionalized amalgam of a Twiggy-like supermodel and a girlfriend of one of “the Panthers.” Janey’s unsolved death becomes a means for the poet to speak about the objectification of women—in life and death—as well as those implicated in the death of a woman. The woman’s death also becomes a means for the poet to speak about prejudice and corruption within the NYPD and FBI, whose detectives and agents exploit Janey’s death, using it as justification to coerce information, plant evidence, and initiate “warrantless taps.” The authorities insist that “people / don’t always know what they know.” They abuse their power with impunity: “It can be arranged that the wrong one / is fingered, a natural patsy.” This is a book about the power “of information, of disinformation”; a book about power games: “play or get out of the game.” This is a book about collateral damage to the lives of women and Black people: “(Witnesses always see a black man.) / So what if the law implicates the wrong / man, the cops argue, sooner or later / / he’d do something bad—think of picking / him up as a sort of prevention detention.” In the end, the lawman is the one who has the privilege; he “wonders whether / walking away is all you can do,” and he gets to live and to walk away. But, Susana H. Case joins the revolutionaries of the 60s and 70s, whose causes are just as poignant now.

The Damage Done by Susana H. Case. Broadstone Books, February 2022.

Jami Macarty is the author of The Minuses (Center for Literary Publishing, 2020), winner of the 2020 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award – Poetry Arizona, and three chapbooks, including Mind of Spring (Vallum, 2017), winner of the 2017 Vallum Chapbook Award. Jami’s writing has been honored by financial support from Arizona Commission on the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, and by editors at magazines such as The Capilano Review, Concision Poetry Journal, Interim, Redivider, Vallum, and Volt, where Jami’s poems are forthcoming.

New Title :: Broadstone Books Presents New Poetry from David Hargreaves

Broadstone Books Classified Banner for Running Out of Words for AfterwardsLush and allusive, tuned to a background in translating Nepal Bhasa poetry, Running Out of Words for Afterwards gives voice to cycles of desire, loss, and renewal. Like the many rivers that flow through this book, David Hargreaves’ poems, in various turns, can be urgent, expansive, unpredictable, or calm, conveying the reader through landscapes both mystical and mundane, through illusions of selfhood, and the struggles of language to accept its own limitations. “A truly exquisite book of poems.”—Charlotte Pence