Case Memory

Stefania Irene Marthakis


ISBN 978-1-956005-16-5            88 pages                $16.00


In these inventive Acts, “Light cannot keep quiet” because it cannot stop bouncing off language, trying to track a body in motion in relation to its present and past. What is the ancestry words seek? This book reads like a kaleidoscopic memory tool that doesn’t solve the mystery but allows us to handle it with skill, to cut, to dwell.

                                         —Eleni Sikelianos


The intoxicating poetics of Stefania Irene Marthakis’ Case Memory explore the surreality of the quotidian, vividly portrayed here in an uncanny documentary form. Readers are invited to step into the screen/text, as the Prologue notes, we are the “passengers [who] arrive and leave at no set time.” Marthakis uses a cinematic lens to explore the ways in which outside perceptions shape the narrator’s (and our) understanding of society and self. Characters are defined by how they are perceived: Cast of Laughables, An Even Number of Sentences, Girl in Drag, Charlie born with wings. Emotions grow unchecked and become characters themselves capable of keeping their own secrets. Diction fractures, reassembles, shatters, and reforms. As we are pulled deeper into the scenery, lights flicker, the windows are covered and uncovered with garbage bags, while an uneasy yet seductive tension simmers beneath the daily routine. Case Memory is a hauntingly beautiful work that invites readers to question the “positions [we] were assigned years ago.” The Epilogue here is a gift, reminding us that uncertainty means nothing is set in stone and in each new circumstance we are “waking up to arrive again.”

—Jessica Rogers-Cerrato, Writer & Archivist


To step in is to breathe deep and hold, a disruption, so fluid its cuts seamlessly transposable, at once structure and infrastructure, character and flaw, scene and unseen, always at the surface some relevant thing not to be forgotten for how it takes an other form, a new name, a time stamp—the continuum not a line but a thread, needling into focus so sharp you shield your eyes to save your lungs.

—Megan London, poet and editor of transient/vanity press


Stefania Irene Marthakis’s Case Memory weaves intricate mysteries in a world where everything is animate, life is theater, and the pretend is truth. Dazzling prose poems, dialogue between unique characters, surreal snapshots, and lyrical beauty evoke a sense of wonder.

—Lisa Panepinto, author of where i come from the fish have souls

Stefania Irene Marthakis was born in Northwest Indiana just outside of Chicago. Stefania holds a BA in Poetry & Theatre from Columbia College Chicago and an MFA in Poetry & Poetics from Naropa University. She interned and volunteered at The Poetry Project and attended The European Graduate School. Stefania is the author of three chapbooks: The Summer Flood Came Home, The Picture Show (Another New Calligraphy, 2016), and A Filmmaker’s Handbook (dancing girl press, 2017). Her poems can be found in Columbia Poetry Review, New American Writing, Bombay Gin, The Recluse, Lungfull!, Tarpaulin Sky Press, and The Brooklyn Rail, among others.