Truth and Consequences: On Writing and Not Writing Poetry

From this vantage point, the ten-year silence in my writing life, from my mid-twenties until my mid-thirties, no longer seems particularly important. Or rather, it seems as if it should not be. I am in my late fifties. I have been writing again for longer than I stopped, for longer than what I’ve called my first writing life, which began in my early teens and ended with that silence. Since age thirty-five, I have published six books of poems, have poetry and prose in several journals, written and performed a one-woman play, carved out a meager living as a creative writing teacher, and earned an MFA. But I cannot write about this abundance without addressing the silence, the negative space in my life with words.

I began writing poetry when so many girls begin, at age thirteen when there is simply nothing else to do with all of that. When I was not writing, I was crying, though nothing in particular was wrong, then, in my life. I oozed adolescent angst. It had to go somewhere; it might as well be on the page.

Do I exaggerate? Of course I exaggerate. I was thirteen.

Subscribe to read the full text.

Pauletta Hansel is the author of six poetry collections, including Palindrome (Dos Madres Press, 2017), written in response to her mother’s dementia. Hansel is Cincinnati’s first Poet Laureate (2016-2018) and is co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *