Heartbreak Tree is a poetic exploration of the intersection of gender and place in Appalachia. “There is a road, but the road is still inside you,” the mature Hansel tells the girl she was, encouraging her: “You are trying. Remember.” This book does the work of that remembering, honoring the responsibility of the poet to speak the forbidden stories of her own and other women’s lives. Linda Parsons says, “Pauletta Hansel’s Heartbreak Tree is the breakout work of a lifetime, a work of breaking silences and ancestral truth telling, of weighing that ‘box of darkness. in heart and hand like the pound of flesh it extracted—and finding it a strange gift of hard growth, harder knowledge and wisdom, and perhaps most importantly, self-forgiveness.”
Meet the Author
Pauletta Hansel’s nine poetry collections include Heartbreak Tree, a poetic exploration of the intersection of gender and place in Appalachia, published in 2022 by Madville Publishing, and Friend, Coal Town Photograph and Palindrome, winner of the 2017 Weatherford Award for best Appalachian poetry, all from Dos Madres Press. She is 2022 Writer-in-Residence for The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Her writing has been featured in Oxford American, Rattle, Appalachian Journal, The Anthology of Appalachian Writers, American Life in Poetry, Verse Daily and Poetry Daily, among others. Pauletta was Cincinnati’s first Poet Laureate (2016-2018) and past managing editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel.