Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that he will be reappointing Kari Gunter-Seymour of Albany, Ohio as the state’s poet laureate. Gunter-Seymour’s next term begins Jan. 1, 2024.

“Fran and I are pleased that Kari Gunter-Seymour will continue to serve as Ohio’s Poet Laureate where she will continue her work of creating connections through poetry with communities all across Ohio,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “Kari shared her poem ‘Perfect Pitch’ during our Inauguration in January and it was a highlight of the celebration of all things Ohio.”

“Kari Gunter-Seymour has been an exemplary poet laureate – a true leader and innovator in her field,” said Ohio Arts Council Executive Director Donna S. Collins. “Kari inspires so many through her service to Ohioans to advance the art of poetry, elevating the voices of her fellow Ohio poets, both from Appalachia and beyond. Through her public appearances and projects, her work has brought well-deserved national recognition to Ohio’s literary community, and we look forward to continuing to facilitate her efforts.”

Gunter-Seymour will focus her new term as poet laureate to continue to build appreciation for poetry, cultivate the next generation of state and local poets laureate in Ohio, and offer events and workshops throughout the state.

Gunter-Seymour is a ninth generation Appalachian and the current Poet Laureate of Ohio. She is the editor of I Thought I Heard A Cardinal Sing: Ohio’s Appalachian Voices, winner of the “2023 Poetry Anthology Best Book Award” from the American Book Fest, funded through an Academy of American Poets Fellowship Grant. She is the executive director of the Women of Appalachia Project and editor of its anthology series, Women Speak.

Gunter-Seymour focuses on lifting up underserved voices including incarcerated adults and women in recovery housing. She is a retired instructor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and the founder, curator, and host of “Spoken & Heard,” a seasonal performance series featuring poets, writers, and musicians from across the country. She was selected to serve as a 2022 Dodge Poetry Festival Poet, is an artist in residence for the Writing the Land Project, and a Pillars of Prosperity Fellow for the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio.

Her poetry collections include Alone in the House of My Heart, winner of the “American Book Fest 2023 Best Book Award” and finalist for the “National Indie Excellence Award”; A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen, winner of the “2020 Ohio Poet of the Year Award”; and Dirt Songs (forthcoming, 2024). Her work has been widely published and featured in The New York Times, World Literature Today and on Poem-a-Day.

The Poet Laureate of Ohio, Kari Gunter-Seymour, reads her poem, GEAUX JEAUX.

Kari Gunter-Seymour, a Poets Laureate Fellow of the Academy of American Poets, reads “I Come From A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen” as part of Dear Poet, the Academy of American Poets’ educational project for National Poetry Month 2022.

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