Sunday, February 08, 2015

Between the Lines: The Poetry of Place

by Zinta Aistars

Between the Lines is a weekly radio show about books and writers with a Michigan connection. It airs every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m., on WMUK 102.1 FM, southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate. I am the host of Between the Lines.

This week's guest: Hedy Habra.

Hedy Habra 

Hedy Habra’s poetry reflects the war in her family's native Lebanon, the loss of her home in the Middle East, and creating a new home in Michigan, where Habra has lived well over two decades.

Tea in Heliopolis was published by Press 53 in 2013, earning the 2014 USA Best Book Award in the category of poetry. Habra’s story collection, Flying Carpets (Interlink Publishing, 2013), was a finalist in the category of fiction/short story. She has also written a book of literary criticism, Mundos alternos y artísticos en Vargas Llosa.
An instructor of Spanish literature at Western Michigan University, Habra writes in French, English and Spanish. She says writing with different cultural perspectives and in different languages presents challenges but also adds new layers of meaning.
Credit Hedy Habra
Habra says when you not only speak but live in different cultures, “It is impossible to reproduce the original poem when translating. There are different facets of my personality that come out if the language in which I am writing. It can be as if different writers are writing … but also an advantage as it also a means of reconciling all those facets of my identity.”
Habra is not just an artist of words, though. She has long been interested in painting, inheriting that passion and gift from her mother. Several poems in Tea in Heliopolis allude to her mother’s paintings, and the book's cover features one of Habra’s own paintings. But in her forthcoming poetry collection Under Brushstrokes she takes the next step ...

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