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.
About the author
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.