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.