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Mtn. Talk: Appalachian Women Poets – Part 1

Mtn. Talk: Appalachian Women Poets – Part 1


April is National Poetry Month, and so, we’re bringing you two episodes chock full of poetry written and read by Appalachian women!  This is Part One, and in it, we’ll hear from Pauletta Hansell, Rebecca Gayle Howell, and Rose McLarney. 


Pauletta Hansel.

Pauletta Hansel served as the first Poet Laureate of Cincinnati from April 2016 through March 2018. She is author of seven poetry collections, most recently Coal Town Photograph (Dos Madres Press, 2019) and  Palindrome (Dos Madres Press, 2017), which was awarded the prestigious Weatherford Award for the best Appalachian poetry book of 2017. Other recent books include  Tangle (Dos Madres Press, 2015), The Lives We Live in Houses (Wind Publications, 2011) and What I Did There (Dos Madres Press, 2011).

Pauletta leads community writing workshops and retreats in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond. She is managing editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of the Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. (Submission guidelines here.)  In addition to her role of Cincinnati’s Poet Laureate, Pauletta served as Writer in Residence at Thomas More College’s Creative Writing Vision Program and at WordPlay, a literary and literacy organization for younger writers. Pauletta received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. Originally from southeastern Kentucky, Pauletta lives in Cincinnati with her husband, Owen Cramer.

Rebecca Gayle Howell
Rebecca Gayle Howell’s most recent book is American Purgatory, selected by Don Share for Great Britain’s 2016 Sexton Prize and named a must-read collection by Poetry London, The Millions, and the Courier-Journal. She is also the author of Render / An Apocalypse, which received wide acclaim, most notably by David L. Ulin for the Los Angeles Times who called it “remarkable.” Howell’s debut was as the translator of Amal al-Jubouri’s  Hagar Before the Occupation / Hagar After the Occupation, shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award and selected by Library Journal as a best book of 2011. Among her other honors are fellowships from United States Artists, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Carson McCullers Center, as well as a Pushcart Prize. From 2017-2019 she served as the James Still Writer-in-Residence at Hindman Settlement School, where she founded Fireside Industries, an imprint of University Press of Kentucky charged with advancing Appalachian literature. Howell lives in Lexington where she is on faculty at the University of Kentucky’s Lewis Honors College. Since 2014, she has served as Poetry Editor for Oxford American. 


Rose McLarney

Rose McLarney’s collections of poems are Forage and Its Day Being Gone, both from Penguin Poets, as well as The Always Broken Plates of Mountains, published by Four Way Books. She is co-editor of A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia, from University of Georgia Press, and the journal Southern Humanities Review.  Rose has been awarded fellowships by the MacDowell Colony and Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences; served as Dartmouth Poet in Residence at the Frost Place; and is winner of the National Poetry Series, the Chaffin Award for Achievement in Appalachian Writing, and the Fellowship of Southern Writers’ New Writing Award for Poetry, among other prizes. Her work has appeared in publications including The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, Prairie Schooner, Missouri Review, and The Oxford American. Rose earned her MFA from Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. Currently, she is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Auburn University.

Music on this episode features the Dutch Cove String Band with a tune called “The Greeneville Waltz.”  That song comes off their album Sycamore Tea released by Appalshop’s own June Appal Recordings in 1978.


This episode was produced and hosted by Rachel Garringer. From all of us at WMMT thank you for listening and please follow CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of coronavirus in these scary times.