27 May Cincinnati’s 1st Poet Laureate, Pauletta Hansel
Pauletta Hansel: “Poetry is uniquely positioned to open up the heart and the mind in just a few words. It can allow people to see and experience issues and ideas in each other in a way that we may not have otherwise been able to do.”
Pauletta Hansel is Cincinnati’s first poet laureate. The Paddock Hills resident was born in Richmond, Kentucky, the place she calls the gateway to Appalachia. She’s now lived in Cincinnati since 1979. Pauletta is author of five poetry collections and has been featured in journals including Atlanta Review and Appalachian Journal . She’s also been featured on The Writer’s Almanac.
Pauletta: “As a poet I have a very strong relationship to place and in a sense when I’m writing about Appalachia ,I’m not writing about Appalachia, I’m writing about the town I grew up in or the creek that my mother grew up on or the particular hillside that I was familiar with. And so the same thing in my writing about place in Cincinnati ,that I don’t necessarily use the word Cincinnati or the name of a neighborhood in my poems but I write a lot about my home, about my garden, about my community and so in that sense as a place based writer hopefully I can be an inspiration to other people who might want to write. “
CL:How will you involve people who don’t normally pay attention to poetry , think they can’t write?
Pauletta: “My hope is to take writing to where people already are as opposed to bring people to where writing might happen. And so that’s my thought of why I would see doing outreach to community centers and to senior centers and to other programs where people are already gathering for other reasons and then to engage the help of the staff there to be able to offer the writing experiences in a way that people can see that it’s helping them meet the goals that they already have.”
Pauletta says she’s very honored to be recognized as Cincinnati’s first poet laureate. The term is 2 years.