Expat Author Interview with Rose Hunter

Poet Rose Hunter
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The poet Rose Hunter has lived in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for about two and a half years now, which to Rose seems both long, and not that long. Originally from Australia, Rose spent ten years in Toronto before moving south of the borders. She speaks German – her mother is German – and Spanish – which she describes as a work-in-progress – but she publishes only in English . . . for now.

IMBO: Buenos dias, Rose! I love the old town of Puerto Vallarta, as I think I’ve told you several times. Someday we’re going to share some guacamole and a few margaritas – but until then, how about telling us a bit about your writing.

Rose: I don’t know how to describe my writing except that at the moment I’m writing mostly poetry, and it mostly comes out of my life experiences because I don’t know how to do it any other way. I mean everything is a life experience. I don’t understand what I think are called “writing prompts” and the like, is what I’m trying to say.

I’ve written short stories and whatnot in the past (and articles, etc.) and will probably go back to doing that as well, eventually. But I’ll always write poetry I hope, if I can. That’s the writing I enjoy the most, and that makes the most sense to me.

IMBO: How has being an expat affected what, and the way, you write?

Rose: Where I live has an enormous influence on what I write, and the way I write. It’s about writing, but it’s also about more than that. It’s about being happy, generally, with where I exist, and feeling simpatico with the culture around me. I don’t feel that in Australia for example. There are a lot of reasons for that, and cultural differences I could get into and probably bore everyone, and maybe offend a few people. I wrote somewhere that it’s like Australia is written in a code I don’t understand. I get very depressed there. There’s nothing for me to write about there. That sounds dramatic, but, well, there you have it. Whereas here there’s plenty of living, and therefore plenty of writing.

IMBO: Let’s say you’ve just boarded a transatlantic flight. As you make your way to your seat, adrenaline shoots through your chest. You’ve dreamt about this moment with this person for years. He/she is sitting in the seat next to yours. Who is it and, assuming you get the nerve up, what will you talk about—for nine hours?

Rose: I never know how to answer this type of question. There are lots of people of course, authors or maybe spiritual teachers, etc. But I’ve probably read their books and most likely they say more in those books than they would to a stranger on a plane. I think I’d prefer a chance to be thrown together with someone I used to know. Maybe someone I can’t get up the nerve to contact again, or wouldn’t know how to find. I’d like to know what happened to certain people, and what they’re doing now. Yes. I can think of one or two people like that. I won’t say who, here. PS I realize I am turning down an opportunity to talk to Jesus or something. Oh well.

IMBO: No one ever says they’d like to sit next to me, but OK. Onward. Care to share some of your work with us?

Rose: Well, I’ll give you the link to the book of poems I’ve just published, which is like a long story too, in a way. Here is the info, at my blog. There are links to the book at Amazon on that page, as well as some blurbs, and links to poems from the book that have been published in various journals. The book is called A Foal Poem.

It came about I suppose, like my stuff usually comes about, as some kind of compulsive urge to make sense of my experience and (in my mind) record it so it’s not lost forever. I’m sure that’s what most of my writing is about: not wanting to lose things. The attempt is futile of course, but at the beginning of a book I seem to think this time it’s going to work. I haven’t written so many books. But I completed another manuscript recently and I realized the same impetus must have been behind it, because I noticed the same disappointment, afterwards. This period of lived time, this experience, this person, whatever it is – no, it/they, are still lost, after you’ve finished spilling the words. This is something most reasonable people understand I think. But I don’t think writers are reasonable people. I think a lot of us are, as I remember Martin Amis putting it one time, people who are “flummoxed by first principles.” At least I know I am. The word “recovery” (in the epigraph of A Foal Poem) works on a few levels, I think/hope.

A Foal Poem is coming out as an eBook shortly, but prior to that if anyone wants a free PDF copy, I’ll send it to them. Just email me: roseh400@yahoo.ca. No strings, or commentary required/expected. Just a free book.

IMBO: Wow, Rose, that’s a sweet offer. How about a link to a story written by another expat?

Rose: A poem again, for me? I like Arlene Ang’s stuff. Here’s one, in Juked (which is also one of my favourite journals). It's called 
Manic car driving is not a door stop

This poem has so many things in it I like. A red light and a fish market, for a start. Place! Salt! And a tooth at the end…. People who know me a bit know I can get obsessed with teeth. I also like salt, and, although I don’t drive, gas pedals and steering wheels:

…. She knew
the steering wheel by its salt
margins, its strange salt
sweat on her hands.  When did the foot
become a note, a tic that knew 

and what images, right?

This was how 5 AM felt in her grip, like salt
in a footbath, a painful tooth abstraction.

IMBO: Has your concept of home changed since you’ve been an expat?    

Rose: Mexico is the first place that’s felt like home, really. So I guess my idea about home is that sometimes you have to look for it; you’re not necessarily born in it. 

Rose, it's been very interesting catching up with you. Congratulations on A Foal Poem! I hope it's a grand success.

I must be off,


Links to Rose Hunter's writing can be found at "Whoever Brought Me Here Will Have To Take Me Home." Her book of poetry, to the river, was published in 2010 Artistically Declined Press. Poems of hers have been published in such places as PANKkill authordecomP, elimae, The Nervous Breakdownanderbo, Juked, Metazen, The Toronto Quarterly, Bluestem, Escape Into Life, and others. She just published a new full-length poetry book, A Foal Poem. She is the editor of the poetry journal YB, and lives in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She also keeps a photo blog at Fotos del Día. 


Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire).


  1. yeah! cool photos, great interview! and how many people look for their homes? reading this interview and a foal poem, nudges me along that path. dare to find it!

    and yes i am a fan :)


  2. I think you're absolutely right about having to look for home. Enjoyed the interview very much!

  3. Wonderful to see Rose and her poetry here. I can relate to her sense of home, and the search for it. One can feel a search for place in her poetry, and here, too. I'd like to know more about why she feels so at home in Mexico. I really like the description of what Austalia is NOT, for her... but what is Mexico, exactly? (Am I allowed to ask more questions in a comment?). My own search for place/home makes me relate to this very much indeed (and my own particular fondness for Mexico, where I spent two years also, and where my second daughter was born). Also, thanks for introducing me to the poetry of Gale Nelson. Salt! Yes! -Michelle Elvy

  4. I am not anonymous, by the way, except here at IMBO. Hello everyone! -ME

  5. Oh, I meant Arlene Ang! She's the salty one... -ME

  6. Thank you all! And thank you Chris, for the questions, and for setting it out so beautifully.

    Re Mexico, Michelle, and why I'm so at home here, we'll have to sit down and have that conversation in person some time - I hope...! It's impossible for me to summarize here, but I'll list a few random things I appreciate, as I start my day here: the people number one. Others have noted I think what's called a "long view philosophy" that the culture takes here. If you don't like it you call it resignation. I call it acceptance.... Chaos, busyness, barking dogs, motors that won't work right, stuff that gets fixed not quite right but good enough; ingenuity (bred from lack of resources which is sad but still), energy, energy, STUFF (not these vacated spaces, in cities at least); richness. And the attitude towards death is wonderful. c.f. Day of the Dead, which is coming up. That's just off the top of my head.

    I have a friend who when he returns to Mexico always says: "Accordions and Lysol - I know I'm home."



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