The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

The Lives We Live in Houses by Pauletta Hansel

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the-lives-we-live-in-housesReview by Moira Richards

 – The scent of summer clings
to dampened soil; we long to turn
it under, let the living nestle down

beneath the leaf mulch, as we, inside our houses,
turn on lamps against November,
wait again for spring.

And so ends the last poem in this collection – a collection of poems about a family and about love; a collection of love poems for family members present, and family members alive only inside warm houses of memory. In The Lives We Live in Houses, Pauletta Hansel burrows beneath the leaf mulch of daily life and draws to herself, remembrances of her parents, her husband, her children – as if, against the cold dark night, she were turning up the

lights in one house, then another,
flickering on from room to room,

Relationships, of course, remain in a constant flux over the decades and Hansel conveys these metamorphoses in a delicate sestina compassed round the words garden; own; daughter; still; mother; lost. Like all the poetry in the collection this poem too, is gentle, wry, humourous, and suffused with love.

The Lives We Live in Houses, by Pauletta Hansel
Wind Publications, 2011


Moira Richards, author, editor, publisher with Norman Darlington of the annual Journal of Renga & Renku:


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