Poet Laureate Report, April 2017


Pauletta Hansel
Cincinnati Poet Laureate
April 15, 2016 – April 15, 2017)

 In April 2016 I was appointed Poet Laureate of Cincinnati. My mission has been to connect people to poetry and to connect people through poetry. I am pleased to have the opportunity to report on my progress on the following objectives to Cincinnati City Council’s Neighborhoods Committee.

 Offer a series of writing experiences for adults and youth where we explore the nature of our communities and our city, craft composite poems from these writing experiences.

  1. The Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati
  2. Shifrah in Walnut Hills
  3. Dunham Recreation Center
  4. Clifton Recreation Center
  5. MyCincinnati Youth Orchestra (Price Hill)
  6. Lower Price Hill Women’s Group
  7. Cincinnati Walking Sonnet Program at Chase Public (Northside)
  8. Write Me I’m Yours (Clifton)
  9. Cincinnati Walking Sonnet Program at Mercantile Library (Downtown)
  10. Pleasant Ridge Recreation Center
  11. McKie Recreation Center Program (Northside)
  12. Cincinnati Walking Sonnet Program at Moeller High School
  13. Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
  14. City Gospel Mission (Queensgate)
  15. Cincinnati Walking Sonnet Program at Clark Montessori High School (Hyde Park)

Develop a plan to make poetry widely visible and enjoyed.

  • Currently, more than 40 poems are published on the Community Workshops Writing section of my website (linked to the City’s Cincinnati Poet Laureate Webpage.) These include 18 composite poems created from the activities above, 17 poems by individual workshop participants and my own writing inspired by these projects.
  • In addition, I am posting poems by a total of 45 Cincinnati area poets in my Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily Project, a daily posting of poems in April which will culminate in a Poetry Month Reading at People’s Liberty on April 26.
  • I promote readership of these through the Cincinnati Poet Laureate Facebook Page and Poet Laureate of Cincinnati Events Group. Over 400 viewers have subscribed to one or both of these pages.

Explore reinstituting the City’s Neighborhood Poet Laureate program.

  • The Advisory Committee agreed that this project would take a greater infrastructure than we currently have in place.
  • However, the Cincinnati Walking Sonnet Project encourages poets to get out into their own (and other) neighborhoods and be inspired by what they encounter, and have led four Cincinnati Walking Sonnet workshops (see above).
  • Instructions for individual and class participation in the Cincinnati Walking Sonnet Project are available on my website.
  • Collaborated with CincyStories to craft a poem from Walnut Hills residents’ stories.

Poetry as commentary on public events.

  • Two Community Poems each with lines contributed by over twenty poets from throughout Cincinnati
  • Multiple public readings of the above poems (Books by the Banks, Mercantile Library, Word Of Mouth Reading Series, Cincinnati Public Library Poetry in the Garden Series, City Council Meeting.)
  • Several Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily Project poems are topical in nature, including a poem for Opening Day.
  • Hosted “Art Now: A Reading From/ Discussion of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros & Other Timely Work” at Chase Public
  • Led a “Write Our Democracy” Open Mic Reading on Presidents Day, with over thirty poets participating.

Help publicize and support the vast range of poetry organizations and poets in the greater Cincinnati area.

  • Poet Laureate Group Facebook page where organizations and poets can list their events and learn about others. This group has over 400 members and serves as a clearinghouse for dozens of literary events each month.
  • First poet invited to participate as an author at the Books by the Banks Festival. I assisted in organizing a successful pre-festival event at the Mercantile Library, kicked off the reading series at the Author Pavilion Stage and facilitated a panel discussion. I was approached by the chair of the Writing & Publishing Team about helping increase participation of poetry organizations in 2017.
  • Judge for Regional Poetry Outloud Contest at Elementz and for Cincinnati State’s Poetry Contest.
  • Host for Cincinnati State’s Poetry Month Reading Series.
  • I serve as an “Ambassador for Poetry” in a number of community venues, reading my own poems and the poems I crafted with a wide cross-section of the community, as described above:
    • Poet Laureate Announcement Ceremony at the Mercantile Library, attended by approximately 100 people, with almost all of Cincinnati’s literary organizations represented.
    • Poet Laureate interviews for CityBeat, WNKU, WVXU and The Cincinnati Public Library’s Writer-in-Residence’s podcast, Inside the Writer’s Head.
    • Readings, panels and other speaking engagements hosted by Mt Washington Community Council, Women’s Way of Ohio/Kentucky, Chase Public, Miami University/Hamilton, The Hive: A Center for Contemplation, Art, and Action, Cincinnati Neighborhood Games, MyCincinnati Youth Orchestra, Mercantile Library, ConcertNova, Tongue and Groove Literary Salon, Clifton Cultural Arts Center, Elementz, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Word of Mouth, Greater Cincinnati Writers League, Cincinnati Public Library, Urban Appalachian Community Coalition, StoryCorps.
    • Acknowledged by CityBeat as Best Ambassador for Poetry, 2017.
  • I have begun collecting information on Cincinnati Literary Groups to include as resource page on the City’s Cincinnati Poet Laureate Webpage when staff support is available.
  • I have also represented Cincinnati as Poet Laureate at programs in Cleveland and at Miami University/Hamilton and Otterbein University.

Future Activities

Cincinnati Poetry Month Reading

Wednesday, April 26, 7 pm,
People’s Liberty,
1805 Elm Street, Over the Rhine

An invited group of poets from this Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily Project will join Pauletta for a reading in celebration of our local writing community. Readers include Ellen Austin-Li, Andrew Boettcher, Vince Broerman, Vickie Cimprich, Leslie Clark, Rita Coleman, John Cruze, Terry Focht, Richard Hague, Michael Henson, Desirae Hosley, Elese Monet, Preeti Parikh, Jerry Judge, Gwyneth Stewart, Kelly Thomas, and Richard Westheimer. The Cincinnati Poetry Month Reading will occur within artist Phil Rowland’s installation, You Are Here, a transformation of People’s Liberty’s first floor space with hand drawn, dry erasable maps of Cincinnati and surrounding neighborhoods.

Additional Workshops TBA

Cincinnati Streetcar Sonnet Workshop
Mt. Airy Forest Treehouse Workshop
Winton Hills
West-C (Lower Price Hill Youth Group)