Stephenson Center for Appalachia to celebrate Women’s History Month with readings from visiting poets

In celebration of Women’s History Month in March, the Lees-McRae John B. Stephenson Center for Appalachia will be hosting an event showcasing Appalachian female poets on Wednesday, March 29 at 7 p.m. in the Stephenson Center for Appalachia building. Two award-winning Appalachian poets, Sara Moore Wagner and Pauletta Hansel, will share their perspectives, read excerpts of their work, and answer questions.

Wagner has published two poetry collections, “Swan Wife,” and “Hillbilly Madonna,” both released in 2022. “Swan Wife” explores themes of marriage, motherhood, and identity, while “Hillbilly Madonna” centers in on the woman’s experience in Appalachia focusing on the impact of drugs and addiction on rural life. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellency Award.

Hansel, named Cincinnati’s first Poet Laureate, explores similar themes of gender and place in Appalachia in her work, which includes nine published poetry collections. Her latest collection, “Heartbreak Tree,” was published in 2022 and has been met with immense praise.

“Their work speaks to both the heart of women and the challenges that confront women, particularly in this region,” Director of the Stephenson Center Kathy Olson said. “Both women are well-established poets and have won numerous awards and accolades.”

Olson said she is looking forward to having Wagner and Hansel on campus to celebrate Women’s History Month, the Appalachian region, and the art of poetry alongside the Lees-McRae and Banner Elk community.

Wagner's most recent poetry collection, "Hillbilly Madonna," was published in November 2022. The collection was awarded the 2020 Driftwood Press Manuscript Prize.

Hansel's most recent poetry collection, "Heartbreak Tree," was published in March 2022. The book has been called "the breakout work of a lifetime" by Madville Publishing editor and fellow poet Linda Parsons.

By Maya JarrellMarch 15, 2023
CommunityCampus Life