Tangle by Pauletta Hansel


Pauletta Hansel’s  poems are a mystery we can  taste here and now.  Smoke from a father’s cigarette.  Packed-dirt yards.  Oranges and cloves.  Who we are, Hansel tell us, is hatched from who we were / this film of self now covering / who we will be.”   These are poems to mend us. Karen Salyer McElmurray


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 122
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: September, 2015
  • ISBN: 978-1-939929-41-9

Praise for Tangle

Tangle is made of poems that ache and grieve, desire and remember, the space between words and the hand.  They capture the body’s grace and the tumor backlit on a screen.  They are waking and dreams, a  jagged tear across our sleep.  They are winter and a woman’s last menses.  They are a daughter’s final summer at home, her mouth already remembering the tomato’s ripeness.  Pauletta Hansel’s  poems are also mystery we can  taste here and now.  Smoke from a father’s cigarette.  Packed-dirt yards.  Oranges and cloves.  Who we are, Hansel tell us, is hatched from who we were/this film of self now covering/who we will be.”   These are poems to mend us. —Karen Salyer McElmurray, author of Surrendered Child and Motel of the Stars

This brave and personal collection of deeply felt poems should be a welcome addition on any poetry shelf.   Many poems confront the darkness in our lives but do so with a palpable poignancy and beauty that is uplifting.  Others carry a wry sense of humor whether dealing with birds splattering windshields or an old man stretching the ‘i’ in pie “from here/ to Harlan…”  Still others simply celebrate the rich heritage of the poet’s Appalachian roots. However, it remains Hansel’s unerring use of memory and detail to redeem explorations of death and loss that stands out as most remarkable.  Entertaining and insightful, these are rewarding poems from a very talented poet. Marc Harshman, West Virginia Poet Laureate

Excerpt from Tangle

Your Voice
—for Aralee Strange, 12/5/43- 6/15/13

Those days, a graveled whisper
dissolving from your breath to air
that would have given us your words.
Your poems just beginning then
to edge sideways between the cracks
of other voices, hard-planed and polished bright—
your voice was the one
we turned toward,
hoping to hear.

Your voice, that Alabama rumble
of a train, grew sure and clear
and was forever making room—
A room, a mic (open, always),
the chairs filled up with poets listening
to each other’s voices
ever stronger as you leaned in close,
making sure you heard.

The room is dark now;
the mic turned off.
We are listening,
Come close,
a poem, please,
one more from you.
Your voice
in our ears.

About the Author

Pauletta HanselPauletta Hansel’s poems and prose has been featured in journals including Atlanta Review, Talisman, Appalachian Journal, Appalachian Heritage and Still: The Journal, and on The Writer’s Almanac and American Life in Poetry. She is author of five poetry collections, most recently What I Did There (Dos Madres Press, 2011) and The Lives We Live in Houses (Wind Publications, 2011).  She is co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. Pauletta leads writing workshops and retreats in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond.

Additional information

Weight 10 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .75 in