4 Rms w Vu – Susana Case
4 Rms w Vu, Susana H. Case’s latest collection, consists of poems focused on human connections in their various manifestations, including: romantic relationships, both whole and broken, parent-child relationships, and our relationship to death and loss. The work uses the metaphorical floor plan of a New York City apartment, though the rooms are somewhat of a departure from the conventional kitchen and living room, to organize mind and memory. The view alluded to in the abbreviated parlance of a real estate listing is outward, but especially inward, where sometimes it’s necessary to struggle with true understanding, to try to blast through the bricked-up barriers to insight regarding motivation and action. Organized into four sections or rooms, Susana H. Case’s poems examine a bedroom where a woman’s current husband is situated, the family room in which her parents, as well as herself as a child, reside, the storage room of memories of a first husband and various lovers, and a dying room for those others already lost, as well as the author’s intimations of her own mortality. Loss is part of the past, as well as the future, and this collection contains the constant recognition of how vulnerable are the things we hold dear. Still, Case is defiant in the face of the mistakes of the past, which she looks at unblinkingly. As she moves from room to room, she discourses on love, sex, dogs, music, travel, movies, and everything that she believes makes a good life possible, the life she wants and intends to live. She is walking through the rooms of her memory in order to find answers to the question of how to live life fully, without regret at the end.
The best thing to die from is living.
Let me kill myself slowly with pleasure.
Let me dance round and round in circles first.
Let me blow a lot of fuses.
Let me age like a good slab of steak, tender
with the mold trimmed. Let me be
a car going 80 miles per hour.
Let me reach 80—the exquisite
torture of those many years is compelling.
Let them not be Chaplinesque. Let them say
she never knew what hit her. Let it be like
the one James Dean got, only much later.
Let me not surrender to humiliations.
Let me end when my mind, still sharp,
is somewhere else—dreaming of perfectly
grilled lamb, the rosemary perfume so strong,
it could be sealed in my pillow, of hot sex,
and let that be not so long gone
that it burns like a bad joke. In the valley
of the shadow of death, I’d still like
my red lipstick please. Let my breasts not reach
my waist. Let there be very little
scar tissue on me at the time and
let there be a weeping willow, under it
a significantly younger man,
my own little honey cake, who is weeping,
too—though I don’t wish that on him for long.
He’ll have a life to live.
“The poems in 4 Rms w Vu, like most of Susana H. Case’s work, demand full participation—no watching here—that we live in their apartments, wear their clothes, down to the “denier nylon.” At the end we’re a little shaken, but a lot wiser. Susana is a daring poet, not so much for the sake of issuing challenges, but more to the cause of poetry itself; she defies one to bring the whole body and soul, and deny no part of this experience called living.” — Mervyn Taylor, author of The Waving Gallery
“4 Rms w Vu is a poetic open house in which Susana H. Case guides us through the rooms of the heart. In poems addressed to husbands, lovers and parents, Case shows how the past, the curious details of daily life and wonderings about the future all weave together endlessly, how nothing is ever really lost—not a loved one, not a hurt—if you can remember. In her moving new collection, we see how this poet’s art is an act of holding on in language that is sure-footed.” – Matthew Thorburn, author of This Time Tomorrow
“Susana H. Case’s 4 Rms w Vu superimposes an intricate map of a lover’s mind on the floorplan of a New York City apartment in poems that never shrink from the ‘weep and stink of everyday brutality.’ Moving from room to room and year to year, 4 Rms w Vu passes through meditations on life with dogs, the metaphysics of lipstick, and the peculiarly American primal scene of the isolating, moving, colliding car, in square footage inhabited by a woman with the brio to ask, as final prayer — ‘Let me blow a lot of fuses.'” –B. K. Fischer, author of St. Rage’s Vault
“In these poems, Susana H. Case captures a vision of New York that can no longer be seen but in memory. Filled with characters frenzied by love, desire & hope, 4 Rm w Vu reminds us not only where we’re from but also who we are.” –Gerry LaFemina, author of Notes for the Novice Ventriloquist
Publisher: Mayapple Press
Page Count: 72
Size: 8.8 x 5.8
Release Date: April 7, 2014
- Is this a sad book?
- Do you think the author will ever figure out a way to live fully?
- Do the speakers in these poems have regrets?
- What type of humor is threaded through these poems?
- Do you live in a metaphorical apartment that looks anything like the one in this book?
Susana H. Case is a Professor and Program Coordinator at the New York Institute of Technology. Her photos have appeared in Blue Hour Magazine, pacificREVIEW, and San Pedro River Review, among others. Author of several chapbooks, her Slapering Hol Press chapbook, The Scottish Café, was published in a dual-language version, Kawiarnia Szkocka, by Poland’s Opole University Press. Her previous books of poetry are: Salem In Séance (WordTech Editions), Elvis Presley’s Hips & Mick Jagger’s Lips (Anaphora Literary Press), and Earth and Below (Anaphora Literary Press).