Dust Sucker Jen Calleja

Out of print

  • UK customers please select ‘Free UK Postage’ at checkout!
  • Web orders come with an exclusive  limited-edition print, hand wrapped in archival paper
  • Bilingual edition! Includes a German translation by Carolina Schutti
Dust Sucker front cover by Jen Calleja

In this beautiful book, Jen Calleja conjures desire and loss, depth and wistfulness, through her signature hypnotic melodies. We see her plucked blackberries, her antique photos, her infant gulls, and we recognise the pained loss of “sunset/on the toilet paper”. Longings dwell here, as wondrous and abundant as dust.

Doireann Ní Ghríofa
author of A Ghost in the Throat

About the book

Dust Sucker is a remarkable new book-length poem by writer and translator Jen Calleja. Clear-eyed, expansive, and intoxicating, this exhilarating work deftly blurs disparate themes including time and mortality, communication and translation, intimacy and infertility.

Presented as a deluxe bilingual bookwork, this ‘contemplation of dust’ explores the pollution of our environment – both at home and in nature – and the shoring of mental detritus. With unquestionable poignancy and flashes of sardonic wit, Calleja excavates her English-Irish-Maltese heritage, inherited anxieties, and ambivalence towards childlessness during climate crisis.

Ultimately, Dust Sucker is triumphant proof that even when feeling dusty with despair, there exists a compulsion to find other means to traverse and communicate experience.

This edition includes a German translation by award-winning Austrian poet Carolina Schutti; a companionable doppelganger befitting of a poem that finds connection across languages and in translation.


Jen Calleja’s book-length poem, subverts literal meaning in an experimental form with mesmeric results

Alycia Pirmohamad – The Big Issue

Jen Calleja’s furious long poem expresses a great passion for life in its unembellished, unruly form, which includes and incorporates failure, imperfection and even death. A great reminder that we do not need to wait until everything is alright – dust turns out to be a precondition for jest, tenderness and beauty.

Marion Poschmann author of The Pine Islands

I was seized by this poem: lyric giving birth and death in pollen, lint and clots; a long aching dust thump, the intimate work of breath, ‘warmly over everything’ — the real zillions.

Maria Sledmere author of The Luna Erratum

I was reading an interview with Patrizia Cavalli and she talks about how she learns the poems she loves by heart and carries them with her and that some day they’ll save her … that’s how I feel about this poem; a poem like a good friend.

Michelle Steinbeck author of My Father was a Man on Land and a Whale in the Water

I found it piercing, so wise, funny and devastating. Like a microscope over the intimate horrors and miracles of a life in moments of so much unknowing, sitting with the particles of it all.

Jessica Gaitán Johannesson author of How We are Translated

Jen Calleja is a writer, literary translator and publisher originally from Shoreham-By-Sea and now based in Hastings. Her books include Vehicle: a verse novel, I’m Afraid That’s All We’ve Got Time For and Serious Justice. She was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2019 for her translation of Marion Poschmann’s The Pine Islands and was the first Translator in Residence at the British Library. She is co-director at Praspar Press, which publishes Maltese literature in English and English translation.

Jen Calleja
Jen Calleja by Robin Christian

About the translator

Carolina Schutti was born in Innsbruck in 1976. After completing her doctorate on Elias Canetti, she taught at the University of Florence before turning to literary writing. Her books have been awarded numerous prizes and scholarships, including the European Union Prize for Literature, and translated into eighteen languages. In early 2021, the novel Der Himmel ist ein kleiner Kreis was published by Droschl Literaturverlag. She was nominated for the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize with an excerpt from it.



Rough Trade Books Presents: The Language Series – 27th March 2023, The Social, London. Tickets

Hastings Bookshop (in conversation with Jack Underwood) – 22nd April 2023, The Hastings Bookshop. Free to attend! 


Trim Size
160 x 128 mm
52 pp
Publication Date
26 January 2023
Patrick Fisher for Frontwards Design
Inpress / Ingram
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