Poet, Memoirist, Teacher and Editor Pauletta Hansel was recently named the first Poet Laureate of Cincinnati. She is author of five poetry collections, most recently Palindrome (Dos Madres Press, 2017), 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 Talisman, Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine, Atlanta Review, ABZ Journal, Postcard Poems and Prose, Still: The Journal, The Mom Egg, Penwood Review and Appalachian Journal and anthologized in 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 and Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. Links to poems and prose published online can be found below.
Pauletta has 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. She leads community writing workshops and retreats in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond. She is a current editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of the Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. (Submission guidelines here.) Pauletta received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. Originally from southeastern Kentucky, Pauletta lives in Cincinnati with her husband, Owen Cramer.
A Blessing for the Feast of All Poets
For words, for vowels, for syllables
that purr off my tongue,
I give thanks.
For black ink on a page,
for margins and lines which,
like rules, beg ignoring and for all
punctuation, especially the dash—
forgiving and constant—
I give thanks.
For poets who like miners
go down underground
with only the light
of their own unknowing
to guide them,
I give thanks.
For the ones who do not come up again,
who lay broken beneath
fallen pillar and beams
of the lives that chose them—
though I turn my face
from those cratered lives,
hold their words like a candle
too close to my skin,
then too far from my eyes—
I must still give thanks.
Oh, but those who go down
and come up everyday;
who plumb mystery, pull weeds
from the garden, the poem,
the dark path underground;
who sit with me at tables,
hold my words in their hands—
you who are constant as dashes,
as forthright as ink,
I would bless you with light
for your journey,
as you have blessed me.
From Realms of the Mothers: The First Decade of Dos Madres Press (Dos Madres Press, 2016) I am honored to have had this poem read by the young Kentucky poet, Mackenzie Berry, in her first Word to Wellness Podcast.
Xavier University: Montessori Teaching Grounds Cincinnati Poet Laureate
Cincinnati.com: Springer Hosts Cincinnati Poet Laureate Pauletta Hansel
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
Poems and Essays
Poem: Portrait of My Mother as a Dried Sunflower in Verse Daily
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
Poem on The Writer’s Almanac, American Pubic Media, July 15, 2015
Poem on American Life in Poetry selected by Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate and the Poetry Foundation, April 2015