November 30, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

The Lounge Chair Interview: 10 Questions with Hedy Habra

2 min read

By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

hedy habra headshot 11Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

I write because it seems like the most natural thing for me to do. I have always loved writing, whether critical essays, stories, poems, or recording my thoughts in a journal. It is a way of initiating a dialogue with other authors’ work, or paintings, and with other ideas. Writing helps one make sense of obsessions, dreams, emotions, but also helps, as well as reading, to transcend everyday reality, and inhabit a parallel world that can be constantly reshaped by the imagination.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

My second collection of poetry, Under Brushstrokes (Press 53, 2015) is, for the most part, inspired by artwork. I have a passion for visual art and I am also an artist. I have painted the cover art, as well as for my first collection, Tea in Heliopolis. In these poems, I try to delve under the artists’ brushstrokes to unravel hidden meanings or create a new version of the artwork, using the music and colors of language as tools.

In Under Brushstrokes, I have tried to use paintings as a point of departure for a flight of the imagination; an attempt at transforming a two-dimensional representation into a three-dimensional, almost cinematic rendition that involves all five senses and explores characters’ interiority. I am currently working on two poetry manuscripts in progress, one of them a bilingual Spanish and English collection, and the other inspired by the fissures caused by displacement, and the contrast between past and present.

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