In She Who Lies Above, Beatriz Hausner brings Hypatia of Alexandria, the fourth-century Byzantine mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher, to life. She does so through layered ventriloquism: publishing amorous correspondence from the feminist icon’s friend and former student, Synesius of Cyrene, and scribing Hypatia’s replies in turn.
These letters are “discovered” by Bettina Ungaro, a librarian and archivist by day and poet by night. She, in turn, collates the correspondence to build a vision of the couple’s relationship while writing a kind of postmodern critique of contemporary book and reading culture. These interjections both borrow from and juxtapose writing from ancient times and, in doing so, explore the evolution of modern knowledge keeping.
The result is a rigorous, hyper-layered collection of poems that are elegiac and erotic; steeped in appreciation for a life of books and the technical and transcendent brilliance their authors can exhibit.
Praise for She Who Lies Above
“Utterly unique, She Who Lies Above blends and transmutes erudition and invention, image and eros, allusion and alchemy to unveil marvels on every page; to read it is to be ensorcelled.” —Peter Dubé, author of The Headless Man
“Knowingly, with invention and grace, and as she conjures the boundless delights of body and mind, Beatriz Hausner tells us the story of the ill-fated scholar, Hypatia, and her student and lover, Synesius. An enchantment.” —Rikki Ducornet, author of The Plotinus
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Poet Questionnaire: Beatriz Hausner answering Stan Rogal —periodicity
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