Middle School students at Springer School and Center had the opportunity to work with Cincinnati Poet Laureate Pauletta Hansel on November 14 and 16. Hansel conducted a poetry workshop with each class, beginning by asking how many poets were in the room.
Typically, no one raised a hand. At the end of the class, every student responded positively to the same question, because Hansel had led them through the process of writing a poem which involved their experience and their senses.
“Everyone in our class was surprised that they were poets,” said sixth-grader Nathan Schmidt. “I thought it was cool that she taught us easy ways to do things.” Sixth-grader Sadie Kottmyer appreciated that Hansel tied poetry to experience. “In poetry, you’re speaking from where your experience has happened,” she said, “and you’re sharing your experience with others.”
Named Cincinnati Poet Laureate in April, 2016, Hansel is the first to carry that title. Cincinnati once had an official poet, and the position was re-established in 2015 with the title Poet Laureate. Hansel will serve for two years, and is tasked with promoting the reading and writing of poetry in Cincinnati, and with writing poetry for specific events and occasions.
“It was a delight to get to know the Springer community through its poetry,” said Hansel. “I had always heard that Springer provided a welcoming, inspiring education for its students, and am so honored to have been able to experience this for myself. If I were a poem, I would surely want to be written and read by a Springer student.”
Holding a Master’s degree in Education from Xavier University and a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Queens University in Charlotte, N.C., Hansel has published five volumes of poetry, and her poetry has been published in several journals and anthologies. She is managing editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of the Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative.