AND YET IT BEGINS (1)
There was someone someone was spread into the black sun like starlings made of dust where she in the tingling, buckling, in balloons that gracefully touched a person was born of her own poison and her holes burned the seething. She cased darkness that fell into itself, fell and at the same time existed, glare, profusion, hysteria around the edges also those things without blood, the people their thoughts hornlike until they broke meaning and played dead in their bodies to make her beginning a beginning.
PUTTING ON MY SPECIES (4)
I mastered living immediately and predicted what would happen next. When love came not even in the guise of a young angel I forgot my dot and caught fire, yellow a fuchsia heart. Then I forgot about forgetting, naked as a single rose.
By Sasja Janssen
Translated by Michele Hutchison
From PUTTING ON MY SPECIES
Published by Shearsman Books (2020)
By permission of Shearsman Books. Copyright for the original poems: Sasja Janssen. Copyright for the translations: Michele Hutchison.
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Sasja Janssen is a poet, novelist and short-story writer. Her debut novel De kamerling (‘The Eunuch’) was
published by Querido in 2001, and was followed by Teresa zegt (‘Teresa Says’) in 2005. Since 2006, she has focused mainly on poetry. In 2020, Putting on My Species became her first poetry collection to be published in English translation.
Michele Hutchison is a literary translator from Dutch and French. In 2020, she won the Vondel Translation Prize for her translation of Sander Kollaard’s Stage Four, and the International Booker Prize together with author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld for The Discomfort of Evening. She is also co-author of The Happiest Kids in the World: Bringing up Children the Dutch Way.