Poet, Memoirist, Teacher and Editor Pauletta Hansel served as the first Poet Laureate of Cincinnati from April 2016 through March 2018. She is author of seven poetry collections, most recently Coal Town Photograph (Dos Madres Press, 2019) and Palindrome (Dos Madres Press, 2017), which was awarded the prestigious Weatherford Award for the best Appalachian poetry book of 2017. Read her blogs about the writing of Palindrome here. Read poet Linda Parson’s review in Still The Journal here.
Other recent books include Tangle (Dos Madres Press, 2015), The Lives We Live in Houses (Wind Publications, 2011) and What I Did There (Dos Madres Press, 2011). Pauletta’s poetry and prose has been featured recently in journals including Rattle, Main Street Rag, Literary Accents, PoetrySouth, Talisman, Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine, Atlanta Review, ABZ Journal, Postcard Poems and Prose, Still: The Journal, The Mom Egg, and Appalachian Journal and anthologized in Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice; Feminine Rising; A Gathering at the Forks; Old Wounds, New Words; A Kentucky Christmas; Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia; the Motif series and Creatures of Habitat and Crossing Lines. Her poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry and Verse Daily. Links to poems and prose published online can be found below.
Pauletta leads community writing workshops and retreats in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond. She is managing editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of the Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. (Submission guidelines here.) In addition to her role of Cincinnati’s Poet Laureate, Pauletta served as Writer in Residence at Thomas More College’s Creative Writing Vision Program and at WordPlay, a literary and literacy organization for younger writers. Pauletta received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. Originally from southeastern Kentucky, Pauletta lives in Cincinnati with her husband, Owen Cramer.
Where I’m from, everybody had a flower garden,
and I’m not talking about landscaping—
those variegated grasses poking up between
the yellow daylilies that bloom more than once.
Even the rusted-out trailer down in the green bottoms
had snowball bushes that outlived the floods.
Even the bootlegger’s wife grew roses up the porch pillar
still flecked with a little paint, and in the spring
her purple irises rickracked the rutted gravel drive.
Even the grannies changed out of their housedresses
to thin the sprouts of zinnias so come summer
they’d bloom into muumuus of scarlet and coral
down by the road.
Now driving that road that used to take me home,
I think how maybe it’s still true.
Everybody says down here it’s nothing
but burnt-out shake and bakes and skinny girls
looking for a vein, but everywhere I look
there’s mallows and glads, begonias in rubber tire
planters painted to match, cannies red
as the powder my mother would pat high
on her cheekbones when she wanted to be noticed
for more than her cobblers and beans.
Everywhere there’s some sort of beautiful
somebody worked hard at, no matter
how many times they were told
nobody from here even tries.
From Coal Town Photograph, Dos Madres Press (2019)
Reading: Harlan County, USA (2019) in Rattle (Poets Respond)
Reading: I Confess in Rattle (Poets Respond)
Reading: Villanelle in a Minor Key on WVXU Around Cincinnati
Reading: Tracy Crow’s Accept Your Gifts Podcast (Poetry Month collection of poems from several poets.)
Reading: The River at Brier Books. (Note: public video on Facebook)
Reading at Lees College, Jackson, KY, 2/12/19 (Note: public video on Facebook)
Reading: Tending Green at Word of Mouth, Cincinnati
Reading: Strawberry Moon at Word of Mouth, Cincinnati
Reading: Of What We Make Our Poems on WVXU Around Cincinnati.
Reading: Our Words: Cincinnati, April 2017 on WVXU Around Cincinnati.
Poems and Essays
Poem: Harlan County, USA (2019) in Rattle (Poets Respond)
Poem: I Confess in Rattle (Poets Respond)
Poem: The View from There on American Life in Poetry selected by Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate
Poem: Villanelle in a Minor Key in Still: The Journal
Poem: Morning, Loretto Motherhouse, Late November in Still: The Journal
Poem: The City in Appalachian Heritage
Poem: Portrait of My Mother as a Dried Sunflower in Verse Daily
Poem: “A Blessing for the Feast of All Poets” read by the young Kentucky poet, Mackenzie Berry, in her first Word to Wellness Podcast.
Poem: Palindrome in Still: The Journal
Poem: Girl Villanelle in Silver Birch Press, ME at 17
Microfiction/Prose Poem: Secrets in Postcards Poems and Prose Magazine, 1/31/17
Poem: Photograph of a Woman at a Funeral in Journal of Kentucky Studies, Vol. 31, 2016
Poem: Portrait of My Mother’s Dementia as Saturn’s Rings in Still The Journal, Summer 2016
Of What We Make Our Poems: May 2016 Picture/Poem in Movers & Makers Cincinnati
Poem 314 it on the HIV Here & Now Project (For poet Joseph Enzweiler, who died of brain cancer, April 16, 2011. We miss you Joe!)
Poem on Postcard Poems and Prose, online magazine, published February 17, 2014
Links to Articles and Interviews
Interview about the creation of the poem, “When You Ask Me To Tell You About My Father” on Chris Ann Cooper’s blog series, The Backstory of the Poem.
Radio Feature/ Interview on WEKU March 21, 2019
Radio Interview on Around Cincinnati, WVXU Broadcast, March 3, 2019
Still the Journal: Linda Parsons reviews Palindrome
Berea College: Weatherford Award for Best Appalachian Books Announced
My Therapy Blog: 20 Valuable Blogs for Caregivers
Xavier University: Montessori Teaching Grounds Cincinnati Poet Laureate
Cincinnati.com: Springer Hosts Cincinnati Poet Laureate Pauletta Hansel
Ohio Arts Council Arts Blog: Appalalachian Writers Project Showcases the Power of the Small Press
Poetry Month Interview on WVXU, Around Cincinnati
CityBeat calls Pauletta 2017’s Best Ambassador for Poetry
Cincinnati Enquirer Article, April 23, 2016 on WordPlay’s Poet Tree Project.
Radio Interview on Around Cincinnati
WVXU broadcast September 25, 2015 “Pauletta Hansel Releases Her Newest Book Of Poetry, Tangle”
Radio Interview on Around Cincinnati, WVXU broadcast April 19, 2012
Online Interview on Dos Madres Press, Online Interview with Pauletta Hansel on Her New Book, Tangle
Radio Interview on Accents, WRFL broadcast Dec 14, 2012
Article on Soapbox Cincinnati, online magazine, published September 11, 2012
For more information, or to schedule a reading or event please contact me.