I was born in Chile in 1958 to my extraordinary parents, Joseph Hausner and Susana Wald, and spent my childhood with the vast Andes always overwhelming. I am a mother. I have three exceptional brothers, from various modern family unions. My life has been touched by wonderful stepparents, who have given added meaning to my life. I have had a husband and lovers I cherished and continue to love. Family matters to me.
In 1971 my family immigrated to Canada. I have lived in Toronto ever since.
The above sentences belie, though do not express what I accept, in the first instance, as inherited struggles to survive the major cataclysms of the Twentieth Century. Deeper and more shape-forming are the values passed on from the ancestors, which make me the person I am. Freedom is what I strive for, what I defend for myself and for others, in all its forms, against all contingencies.
I have published several poetry collections, including Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, Enter the Raccoon, Sew Him Up and The Wardrobe Mistress. My work has been translated into Dutch, French, Greek and Spanish, my mother tongue. In my writing I avail myself of all the things that cross my path: the elements of the quotidian that move me, images rendered by others, images that happen freely in the natural world, texts ancient, texts new. My current literary obsession is the work of André Breton. All of it, because he was a great ideas person and an innovator without equal. My pervading fixation is the poetry of César Moro.
I embrace and live by the values that surrealism proposes⎯ nothing less than the transformation and liberation of the self and of the world. I choose to do so through poetry, which I understand as simply being in the world, whether daydreaming, awake, or in whatever other states we embody in our lives. This has often caused me to feel a prisoner of the limitations imposed by paid labor, which I feel deliberately seeks to thwart creativity and free thought.
I often collaborate with artists and printers in limited editions of my work and the work of others. I have translated books, principally from Spanish into English, with my focus being international surrealism, including the poetry of César Moro, Rosamel del Valle, Enrique Gómez-Correa, Jorge Cáceres, Aldo Pellegrini, to name a few.
I grew up with music filling the house, with art covering the walls, with people writing, people painting, people playing instruments, at various times, with various degrees of possibility, given the upheavals and restarts. My literary education began at home, thanks to my being a willing interlocutor of my stepfather, Ludwig Zeller. From him I inherited a passion for specific kinds of poets, and learned to read them in just the right manner, so as to assimilate their voices in ways that ultimately liberated my own. I began writing and translating at the age of twenty, concurrent though independent of my university education in French and Spanish literature at the University of Toronto.
I studied library science and fell in love with book history and print culture, as well as bibliography. I worked as a librarian for most of my life, though I didn’t get to exercise such love.
Most of my life I have done as much as I could to defend and promote the work of Canadian creators. I’ve organized hundreds of literary events, I was a publisher of Quattro Books, I was President of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada, and I lead the Public Lending Right Commission as its Chair.