The Dutch Riveter: Poems from PUTTING ON MY SPECIES by Sasja Janssen, translated by Michele Hutchison

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.
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


Published by Shearsman Books (2020)

By permission of Shearsman Books. Copyright for the original poems: Sasja Janssen. Copyright for the translations: Michele Hutchison.

Read The Dutch Riveter here or order your paper copy from here.

Buy this title through the European Literature Network’s The Dutch Riveter page.

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.

Category: TranslationsMarch 2021 – The Dutch Riveter


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