From a blue-collar upbringing in Groton, NY, a small town near Ithaca, to Cornell University majoring in industrial engineering, to “Philly,” to the NYC poetry scene, to three cross-country poetry tours, back to Groton, now in Colorado, Hahne’s journey is not over yet.
She’s traveling the road of discovery. And along the way, she’s writing, teaching, and learning. All seem equally important to her.
Thin and intense, Hahne is given to punctuating important points with angular gestures, like brackets. She admits she’s not quite committed to the hip area of
Boulder, CO. What she is committed to is “language and inquiry.“ For herself, and others. Especially now, she says, for teenagers.
“Language is a creative act and it creates constructively and destructively,” Hahne said. “And teens have constructed themselves out of what people have said to them.” She wants to make a difference, and teach them they are the creators of their lives.
Hahne certainly has created her own. She’s a published poet with her work in 13 literary magazines and included in nine poetry anthologies. Soon to be 10. She has also won numerous awards for her poetry – including 1st Place in the 6th Annual Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards of 2011.
Hahne’s degree in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering is an unlikely major for a poet. “My parents encouraged me to pursue something practical, something that would lead to a good job,” Hahne said.
After working for a food service management company for several years, Hahne realized she wasn’t enjoying her jobs. “I took classes in poetry, creative nonfiction and education at UPenn,” she related. “Then I scored a one-year position at a Quaker school in Philly teaching math.” She realized she loved teaching and writing.
Fueling her passion for poetry and the writer’s life, Hahne covered the poetry scene in Philadelphia for the About.com Guide to Poetry. She went to New York to work on the People’s Poetry Gathering (created by City Lore, Poets House, and Bob Holman of the Bowery Poetry Club). “I immersed myself in the New York poetry scene, reading poems at various open mikes and poetry slams in coffeehouses and bars.”
She got both positive and negative feedback – as all writers do. By now she had published a few poems and she set up a road tour and read her poems in 50 venues over four months, in Seattle, Galveston, Montana, and California, among other places.
Her “Plastic Igloo Poetry Tour” came complete with a CD of her poetry, “notspeak.” The title is a reference to one of her favorite quotes by Macrima Wiederkher – “If it doesn’t improve on the silence, don’t say it.”
By now, she was clear that writing and teaching poetry were her calling…. as was being a perpetual learner. In addition to her degree from Cornell, classes at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, a certificate in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and courses at West Chester University, she is currently enrolled in an MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University’s Rainier Writing Workshop, with an emphasis in Poetry.
Hallowed ground – “Writing Church”
Hahne currently offers her own writing classes. To prepare for the interview, I participated in her Sunday morning “Writing Church” – a term that works in the university town of Boulder, but may not in a more conservative area. I can attest that Hahne has a poet’s exquisite sensitivity to language. She has an utter reverence for words – and in her class she encourages you to find your own beautiful words that caress your ear or taste sweet as you roll them around in your mouth; power words that dredge up strong emotions hidden in your heart; light words that float like petals in the air; concrete words that draw pictures in your mind; and telling combinations of words that touch your soul.
Hahne has taught workshops for many organizations including 11 years of workshops for the International Women’s Writing Guild. “That was an awesome home for me as a woman writer,” she said. Now she has started her own organization for women and girl writers, The Avocado Sisterhood. She gives workshops through the Sisterhood, Writing Church, and her Denver-based Meetup group, Front Range Writers’ Room. She also freelances as a copyeditor.
There’s not room here for all her accomplishments.
Yet, Hahne is still seeking….. “inquiry” is a word she uses over and over. Inquiry is the vehicle we ride on the road to discovery. And Hahne is definitely on taking that ride.
Story and photos, except where noted, by Bojinka Bishop
For more stories about people leading fascinating lives, click on the “People” tab in the blue navigation bar at the top of the page.
- Two coaches, two approaches A new professional field is taking shape. Having emerged about 15 years ago, it’s coaching – variously billed as executive, career, business, life, or personal coaching. The basic purpose is to help you realize your goals. Who coaches? And why? Flying High Solo interviewed two coaches to explore their...
- 5th Leg On the 5th leg of a many-legged journey: from Ohio to Michigan to New York State to Virginia to North Carolina to Texas: from the cold blustery north to the tropical palm-treed south. ...
- Buying and selling are just part of it Can you tell if a shop owner loves what she sells? At The Audubon Shop and Gallery in Pawleys Island, SC, you think – maybe so. Small business owner Diane Rastello tells you her brother said, “Don’t just buy what you like, you’ll never sell it.” Rastello didn’t take it...
- A woman in power When Tracey Stubbs was in college in California, she took a job as a warehouse clerk. It was a nice desk job for a college girl; but she looked around and saw what she thought would be a more interesting job – being a forklift operator. And she said, “Hey,...
- Helping our heroes, our first responders People never get numb to tragedy. Even our first responders, firefighters, EMTs, police officers, and doctors sometimes see things so disturbing they need a way to deal with them. It’s Mary Rollinger’s job to help. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy for her, either....
FlyingHighSolo.comCelebrating special people, good ideas, and useful actions
Keep on top of what's new – subscribe to Flying High Solo! You'll get a brief email alerting you to new articles. (Your email is safe -- we will not share it with anyone).
What readers are saying
"amazing variety of topics"
"an intelligent, strong, creative, eclectic approach .... that we don't get a chance to read everyday"
"very cool and intelligent"
Bella DePaulo's blog for Psychology Today, "the truth about singlism..." News, analysis, facts, and stories about being single in America