Athens Poet Laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour To Be Officially Introduced

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The Athens Municipal Arts Commission and the City of Athens are pleased to announce the upcoming celebration in honor of Athens’ newly appointed Poet Laureate, Kari Gunter-Seymour, who began her tenure on February 19, 2018. The event will be held at ARTS/West, 132 W. State St, Athens, OH, on April 26, 2018 at 7 p.m.

Twice a Pushcart Prize nominee, Gunter Seymour is a widely published poet, most recently finding acceptance in Main Street Rag, Rise Up Review and the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Wiley Cash Volume X, Shepherd University. She is also a fine-art photographer, with more than 20 years in professional communications as a marketing professional and graphic designer. She describes herself as a “self-taught poet.” She is a special event coordinator for the Ohio Poetry Association, a member of the Executive Board for the Dairy Barn Arts Center and an instructor in the Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

Gunter-Seymour reminds us, “it means something to be an Athens writer–here in this city, where preservation of the natural beauty that surrounds us is a priority, where we all work hard to be inclusive and inventive, take pride in our diversity and love of the arts, where the interaction between Ohio University personnel and locals is positive and strong. I am a third generation Athens Countian. I have quite literally watched Athens grow into the unique community it has become, a blue oasis in a heavily red state, a true gem of Appalachia.”

2018 Athens Poet Laureate juror Jean Mikhail, herself a poet stated “Kari Gunter Seymour’s poetry portrays an Appalachia, both old and new, in tragic, gentle and humorous ways. Her starting point as a poet is a genuine love for Appalachia, its land and people.”

“I want people to know that this event is not going to be their grandmother’s kind of poetry reading,” Gunter-Seymour warns. “I am not going to stand at a podium and read poetry all night. There’s going to be food and wine and audience members should be prepared to participate.”

Gunter Seymour is perhaps best known for her leadership of the Women of Appalachia Project. WOAP attracts a diverse population of women, inviting submissions of spoken word and fine art, shared in exhibitions, public forums and annual chapbooks.

“With Kari as Poet Laureate, our community is experiencing a Poet Laureate social media presence and monthly poetry events are scheduled through June 2019 at the Dairy Barn Arts Center,” juror Bonnie Proudfoot says. “Kari recently spent time with Athens High School student poets and hopes to be invited into other Athens county schools. Kari’s enthusiasm and organizational skills will enable Athens county poets to gather, so the tent can be wider, the audience can be expanded, and the voices of Athens’ writers can reach a wider community.”

Athens poet laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour. (Submitted)