Kari Gunter-Seymour

Kari Gunter-Seymour

Photo courtesy of: Kari Gunter-Seymour

Featured Stories

Poet Kari Gunter-Seymour wins BlackBerryPeach Spoken and Heard competition

The National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS) is pleased to announce the first-place winner of the 2017 BlackBerryPeach Spoken and Heard competition, Kari Gunter-Seymour of Albany, Ohio.

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.

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 first-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, Texas, on July 1. “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 its eighth 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 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 first-, second- and third-place winners, four poems from each, in a 6" by 9"chapbook that it will market on Amazon.com.