Saturday, April 22, 2017

OPA member Kari Gunter-Seymour wins NFSPS Competition

Contact: Joseph Cavanaugh
jcavanaugh1@gmail.com

Poet Kari Gunter-Seymour is selected national winner

April 16, 2017 – The National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS) is pleased to announce the 1st place winner of the 2017 BlackBerryPeach Spoken and Heard competition, Kari Gunter-Seymour of Albany, OH. BlackBerryPeach is a major NFSPS competition that challenges poets to present their original poetry in print and spoken word, requiring submission of an audio file in mp3 or WAV format of four poems along with a manuscript.

Kari Gunter-Seymour
Vice President Joe Cavanaugh, chair of the contest stressed the importance of reaching out to all poets, by recognizing stage poetry in its many forms as a powerful poetic genre. All entries were reviewed for compliance and approximately 100 entries were selected as finalists and sent on to an independent judge for final selection.

As 1st place winner, Gunter-Seymour receives the grand prize of $1,000 and is invited to speak her work at the NFSPS national convention in Ft. Worth, TX on July 1, 2017. “NFSPS is excited to showcase Kari and her signature Appalachian poetry and voice,” Cavanaugh says.

Twice a pushcart nominee, Gunter-Seymour holds a B.F.A. in graphic design and an M.A. in commercial photography and is an instructor in the School of Journalism at Ohio University. She blames her method of writing and performing on the rich soil of Appalachia, her wildly eclectic family and neighbors and her upbringing. Her chapbook Serving was chosen runner up in the 2016 Yellow Chair Review Annual Chapbook Contest. Her poems can be found in numerous literary journals – Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, Still: The Journal and Stirring, as well as on her website: www.karigunterseymourpoet.com.

Gunter-Seymour is the founder/director of the “Women of Appalachia Project,” an arts organization in it’s 8th season she created to address discrimination directed at women from the Appalachian region. The project encourages participation from women artists (spoken word and fine art) of diverse backgrounds, ages and experiences to come together, embrace the stereotype, show the whole woman; beyond the superficial factors people use to judge her — providing opportunities to share art, receive recognition and encouragement, and build strong networks. In doing so, diverse populations are introduced to one of Appalachian’s greatest assets, its artists. (www.womenofappalachia.com).

The National Federation of State Poetry Societies (www.nfsps.com) is a non-profit organization, exclusively educational and literary. Its purpose is to recognize the importance of poetry with respect to national cultural heritage. It is dedicated solely to the furtherance of poetry on the national level and serves to unite poets in the bonds of fellowship and understanding.

A video of Gunter-Seymour’s convention performance will be posted on YouTube via the NFSPS website and NFSPS will design and publish the prizewinning entries from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, four poems from each, in a 6" by 9"chapbook that it will market on Amazon.com.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Take Time to Celebrate National Poetry Month 2017



With April’s arrival comes the beginning of National Poetry Month, and in 2017, there’s no shortage of great events and activities to experience in Ohio. If you haven’t yet kicked off your celebration by attending a great reading or just plain reading great poetry this past weekend, take a look at some of the things offered by both OPA and local groups throughout the state, as well as offerings at the national level.

Events

LaWanda Walters
John Drury
OPA is pleased to offer another of its free poetry workshops at Otterbein University on Saturday, April 8, when we welcome from Cincinnati the husband-and-wife poetry team of John Drury and LaWanda Walters. Get the full event details from the OPA website and come prepared for an engaging afternoon of wordsmithing.

 If you’re looking to make a weekend of poetry in the Columbus area, why not put the Ohioana Book Festival on your list? OPA is excited again to be partnering with the Ohioana Library to bring the 11th annual festival to life. Happening this weekend on April 78, the festival kicks off on Friday night with a poetry reading at The Book Loft in the German Village neighborhood, featuring some terrific Ohio poets, including Nin Andrews and Rikki Santer. Click here for details


Saturday features a book fair, readings, and plenty of panel discussions. If you go, stop by the OPA table and say hi to Grace Curtis and Logan Morales. We’ll also have copies of the new ekphrastic anthology available for purchase. Get complete festival info here.

Juan Felipe Herrera
A drive to Toledo on April 13 would be well worth it to hear a reading by the current U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera. He’ll be reading at the Main Branch of the Toledo Public Library. Get full event and ticket info here.

Amit Majmudar
 And speaking of poets laureate, you might want to mark your calendars for April 2122 and head for the Hocking Hills Festival of Poetry in Logan, Ohio. The Check out the Power of Poetry website for complete details on this free event. The theme this year is Three Generations and features current Ohio Poet Laureate Amit Majmudar, the venerable Herb Martin, and performance maven Shameaca Moore.



Other Tools & Resources

Need a little help finding poetry events in your area? Never fear, OPA website and Facebook page to keep up to date on happenings. We share info about OPA events but also info that’s passed along to us by other groups and organizations. The Resources & Links page on the OPA website is a great resource for info on Ohio presses, festivals, and more.

as there are a number of tools at your disposal. First, use the the Ohio Poetry Calendar is also a great way to learn about poetry events, including readings, workshops, and more. And if you’re looking or an open-mic venue to share your work, try openmikes.org.

Looking for tools to help spark your own writing? Or did you dare to take the 30/30 challenge during National Poetry Month? If so, try signing up for the Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry email list is a great way to read the works of Ohio poets and to get a daily prompt for writing your own poems.
Other resources worth exploring include the Wick Poetry Center, the Academy of American Poets, and the Poetry Foundation.

In the coming days, we hope you get inspired to write, to read, and to share your own work or perhaps a poem you love with friends, family, fellow poets, or even perfect strangers. One way to share is on Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 27. Take time that day to share with someone the magic that comes from poetry. Whatever steps you take to celebrate National Poetry Month, we hope you have a great time doing it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ohio Poetry Day Contest -- May 15, 2017 Deadline for Submissions

Don't miss this opportunity to be a part of Ohio Poetry Day. May 15 is the deadline for the dozens of contests that are a part of the event.

Here is a copy of the submission form. We realize the type is small. This is how it comes to OPA from Ohio Poetry Day staff in the mail. It's chocked full of great contest information, and as a result, the type is small. OPA recommends that in order to see it best, you should print a copy of the form which is in jpg or photo format. You can do that by saving the image to your computer and printing it.

You can also use your own paper as an entry form if you don't want to print off a copy of the form. Be sure to provide all the information required, including which poems you want to be considered for which contests. Follow all the submission instructions. (Many photo viewers will allow you to zoom out thereby enlarging the type so you can check to see that you have included everything.)  It is recommended that you contact the Ohio Poetry Day by writing to Amy Jo Zook at 3520 St. Rt. 56, Mechanicsburg, Ohio 43044, and ask to be placed on their mailing list so that next year you will get a form delivered to your home.





Friday, February 24, 2017

Ohio Poetry Association Releases New Poetry Anthology Focused on Art in Ohio

A Rustling and Waking Within cover
The Ohio Poetry Association (OPA) is releasing a new ekphrastic poetry anthology, titled, A Rustling and Waking Within. The collection is a celebration of art and poetry in Ohio. The 139-page perfect-bound book contains poems written by friends and members of OPA in response to various forms of art featured in Ohio's museums, galleries and many other venues, including homes. Works by Ohio artists, both older art and more contemporary, are included.  On the cover is a painting by Camille Pissarro (French, 1830–1903), titled, "The Roofs of Old Rouen, Gray Weather " used by permission from the Toledo Museum of Art. The project marks the culmination of four OPA writing events that were held in major art centers in Ohio.

An initial release event, at which contributors will read their poems against a visual projection of the art to which they responded, is slated for Saturday, March 11, 2017, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, at the Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 N. High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43210. The event is free and open to the public and promises to be of interest not just to poets and artists but also to the general public. Along with a multimedia poetry reading, the afternoon will feature food, beverages, and raffles. Books will be sold at the event and poets will be available to sign them.

A second release event will be held on Sunday, March 12, 2017, at the Toledo Museum of Art, 2445 Monroe St., Toledo, Ohio 43620, beginning at 2:00 pm. Several more events at Ohio's art museums, coffee shops, and bookstores throughout the state are being planned. Information on these events can be found on the OPA website or on the OPA Facebook page as it becomes available.

The anthology was edited by Sharon Fish Mooney, herself a contributing poet and OPA member. Mooney organized the book by region of the state based on the art, and within each region, she organized poems based on when the art was created or displayed. She says: "The Ohio Poetry Association hopes that through this collection, the reader will want to view art that is currently located in Ohio or that has traveled through Ohio. We want the reader to get up close and personal by visiting the various venues where the art resides. Through these poems, we hope readers will experience some of what we as poets experienced when we viewed it."

The book features an introduction by Terry Hermsen, Professor of English, Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. In his introduction, he suggests "that the primary task of ekphrastic writing, whether in the form of poetry or not, lies in seeking out a dialogue between that original silence" that is art "and the cradle of words" that is poetry. He goes on to state: "Through entering that open space which lies like a hidden valley somewhere between a painting and poem, we might come to know art all over again."

A complete list of the 48 poets and poem titles featured in the book, as well as links to the art that inspired their poems, is available at the OPA website: ohiopoetryassn.org. Any organization that would like to sponsor a reading should email team@ohiopoetryassn.org.

The Ohio Poetry Association (OPA), chartered originally as the Verse Writers’ Guild of Ohio, is a nonprofit, educational volunteer organization with a 501(c)(3)Federal designation and a member of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Chartered in 1929, the Ohio Poetry Association promotes poetry and supports Ohio poets of all ages and in all stages of their writing lives by providing a variety of learning events, readings, and contests.

For more information about the event, contact Chuck Salmons, President, Ohio Poetry Association, at charles@ohiopoetryassn.org.