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Virgula by Sasja Janssen, translated by Michele Hutchison

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‘Virgula’, the Latin word for a comma, is what moves thoughts and languages forward and what stops the stillness.

I long for a full stop, but my Virgulas are wary of employing them, I press them close as though death were breathing down my neck

In Virgula, Sasja Janssen’s award-winning collection, the comma becomes much more than a punctuation mark; it stops the stillness and allows thoughts and language to move forward. Virgula is invoked as a muse and a companion; she is called on in every poem, as if she were a goddess, friend or lover, someone who offers space when the emptiness becomes too heavy.

Virgula received the Awater Poetry Prize and was nominated for the Ida Gerhardt Poetry Prize and the Herman de Coninck Prize and De Grote Poëzieprijs (Grand Poetry Prize) for best poetry collection 2021.

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