In Conversation: Beatriz Hausner

Beatriz Hausner

“My favourite word is LOVE, because it is the most transformative force there is.” —Beatriz Hausner

Beatriz Hausner—author of Enter the Raccoon and the recently-published Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, which had a more-than-successful launch on Zoom—kindly agreed to talk to us again. This time, we discussed the process and art of writing, and how it may or may not have been shaped by the pandemic. Hausner’s responses to our questions showed us that art, like time, marches on in the face of adversity; in Hausner’s case, it flourishes, rejuvenated by the stillness.

How has the pandemic affected your writing?

The isolation induced by the confinement we are all subject to has had a positive side-effect for me: it has allowed me to concentrate in a way I had not experienced until now. I have been able to organize my work and this has resulted in a greater sense of clarity about its direction. The writing flows out of my purposeful reading and studying of texts. It is a deeper way of reading, with elements of randomness, while also strangely directed by chance. All of which results in greater intensity in my writing too.

Who do you miss?

I miss the physical presence of my friends and those I hold close to my heart.

Where do you write?

I take notes and write by hand at a long desk I have in my bedroom. I write poetry and prose at my desktop in a room that serves as office and guest room.

What does and doesn’t help you write?

Reading certain types of texts, and listening to music (loud) helps me to get going with the writing.

What do you write with?

I take notes and write by hand at a long desk I have in my bedroom. I write poetry and prose at my desktop in a room that serves as office and guest room.

What makes you happy?

Many things bring me joy: other people, the warm weather, listening to music, looking at clothes, eating wonderful food is immensely pleasurable too.

Do you have a preference for fiction, nonfiction, or poetry in your reading or writing?

I most definitely veer towards nonfiction and poetry in my readings. I write poetry and nonfiction.

Tell us your favourite word, and why it’s your favourite.

My favourite word is LOVE, because it is the most transformative force there is.

Beatriz Hausner has published several poetry collections, including The Wardrobe Mistress, Sew Him Up, and Enter the Raccoon. Selected poems and chapbooks of hers have been published internationally and translated into several languages. Hausner is a respected historian and translator of Latin American Surrealism, with recent essays published in The International Encyclopedia of Surrealism in 2019. Her translations of César Moro, the poets of Mandrágora, as well as essays and fiction by legends like Aldo Pellegrini and Eugenio Granell have exerted an important influence on her work. Hausner’s history of advocacy in Canadian literary culture is also well known: she has worked as a literary programmer in Toronto, her hometown, and was Chair of the Public Lending Right Commission. She is currently President of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada, a position she held twice before.