Tri-State Poets Set to Celebrate National Poetry Month at Dairy Barn Arts Center

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In honor of National Poetry Month the Dairy Barn Arts Center is pleased to welcome nationally lauded poets to its poetry series “Spoken & Heard, Poetry of Departure and Relevance,” Thursday evening, April 11, 2019, at 6 p.m. in the Sauber Gallery. Featured will be Kentucky multidisciplinary artist, Bianca Lynn Spriggs, West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman and Athens Poet Laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour.

Bianca Lynne Spriggs, Ph.D., is an award-winning writer and multidisciplinary artist. An Assistant Professor of English at Ohio University, Bianca is the author of five collections of poems, most recently Black Mermaid (Argus House Press, 2018), and the co-editor of three poetry anthologies, most recently Black Bone: 25 Years of the Affrilachian Poets (University of Kentucky Press, 2018). Bianca is currently at work on a full-length play, Medusa: A Greek Triumph, commissioned by Berea College, set to premiere during the 2019-2020 academic year. You can learn more about her work at:

Kentucky Foundation for Women Director Sharon LaRue had this to say, “Bianca’s service to the arts and to women in Kentucky is substantial. From her work teaching writing to incarcerated women to her socially conscious writing, Bianca’s art epitomizes change, activism, and regard for humanity. She is an Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem Fellow– an award-winning literary artist whose poems are filled with lush, surreal, and unforgettable images. Her diverse body of work includes a multimedia performance addressing the history of lynchings of black women and girls in Kentucky (The Thirteen), a feature-length film pursuing the definition of personal freedom (Woman at the Gate), and a forthcoming compilation of spoken word, hip-hop, and electronica by vocalists, emcees and producers in central Kentucky (Live From the Mothership).”

Marc Harshman’s collection of poems, Woman In Red Anorak, won the 2017 Blue Lynx Prize and was just published by Lynx House/University of Washington Press. His fourteenth children’s book, Fallingwater, co-written with Anna Smucker, was published by Roaring Brook/Macmillan in 2017. His poetry collection, Believe What You Can, was published in 2016 by West Virginia University Press and won the Weatherford Award from the Appalachian Studies Association. Periodical publications include The Chariton Review, Salamander, Gargoyle, Shenandoah, and Poetry Salzburg Review. Poems have been anthologized by Kent State University, the University of Iowa, University of Georgia, and the University of Arizona. Appointed in 2012, he is the seventh poet laureate of West Virginia.

For many years, Harshman taught fifth and sixth grades at the Sand Hill School, one of the last of the three-room country schools and he was named the West Virginia state English teacher of the year by the West Virginia English Language Arts Council in 1995. He was honored in 1994 by receiving the Ezra Jack Keats / Kerlan Collection Fellowship from the University of Minnesota for research on Scandinavian myth and folklore.

Renee K. Nicholson, Assistant Professor, West Virginia University, Morgantown says, “Marc Harshman’s work probes the complicated geography of the inner life while keeping us tethered in the natural world. Ordinary details of daily existence are transformed by his language into the extraordinary, beseeching us from mundane cares into a world where nothing is easy and yet everything worthwhile.”

Three times a pushcart nominee, Kari Gunter-Seymour’s chapbook Serving was recently nominated for a 2018 Ohioana Award. Her work is included in the 2019 Visible Poetry Project and won top honors from Still: The Journal and BlackBerry Peach poetry contests. Her poems can be found in many fine journals – Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, CALYX, Stirring, Main Street Rag, and The LA Times. Her full-length manuscript As the Twig is Bent, So Shall the Tree Grow is nearing completion. Learn more about her work at

Maggie Smith Author of Good Bones (Tupelo Press) says, “Kari Gunter-Seymour’s poems are so tender, reading them hurts—but it’s a sweet ache, the kind worth enduring. The poems in her chapbook Serving are so much about place—about home—whether Appalachia or Kandahar. As Gunter-Seymour shows us, poem after masterful poem, serving is not only about sacrifice, what those in the military do for our country. Serving is also what we do for one another, for the people we call home, no matter where they are. Athens–and all of Ohio–is so lucky to have Kari Gunter-Seymour.”

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. There will be a cash bar. All who attend are invited to bring a poem to share with the audience during the open mic session at the end of the evening’s performance.

For more information about the Spoken & Heard events please go to or email Kari Gunter-Seymour at