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  • Writer's pictureNazifa Islam

Virginia Woolf Found Poem in Zoeglossia

Stephanie Heit was kind enough to invite me to contribute to Zoeglossia's January Poem of the Week series! Zoeglossia—a community for poems with disabilities—published "The Middle of Alone," a poem from Forlorn Light: Virginia Woolf Found Poems, alongside stellar poems by Stephanie, Roxanna Bennett, and Airea D. Matthews. You can read and/or listen to me reading "The Middle of Alone" here.

Here is the a paragraph from The Waves that I used to write "The Middle of Alone" with the words I selected in red:

'I am yawning. I am glutted with sensations. I am exhausted with the strain and the long, long time—twenty-five minutes, half an hour—that I have held myself alone outside the machine. I grow numb; I grow stiff. How shall I break up this numbness which discredits my sympathetic heart? There are others suffering—multitudes of people suffering. Neville suffers. He loved Percival. But I can no longer endure extremities; I want someone with whom to laugh, with whom to yawn, with whom to remember how he scratched his head; someone he was at ease with and liked (not Susan, whom he loved, but Jinny rather). In her room also I could do penance. I could ask, Did he tell you how I refused him when he asked me to go to Hampton Court that day? Those are the thoughts that will wake me leaping in anguish in the middle of the night—the crimes for which one would do penance in all the markets of the world bareheaded; that one did not go to Hampton Court that day.

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