Join Ohio Poet Laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour (Alone in the House of My Heart), and Nigerian poet, translator, and environmentalist Hussain Ahmed (Soliloquy with the Ghosts in Nile) as they read from their recent collections and talk with educator, editor, poet, and literary critic, David Baker.
Registration is on Eventbrite, closing at 6:00 pm on the day of the event. The purchase of either poetry collection waives the $5 admission fee.
OHIO POETRY ASSOCIATION and WEXNER CENTER FOR THE ARTS are Gramercy’s Community Partners for this program.
Deeply rooted in respect and compassion for Appalachia and its people, the poems in Alone in the House of My Heart are both paeans to and dirges for past and present family, farmlands, factories, and coal.
Kari Gunter-Seymour’s second full-length collection resounds with candid, lyrical poems about Appalachia’s social and geographical afflictions and affirmations. History, culture, and community shape the physical and personal landscapes of Gunter-Seymour’s native southeastern Ohio soil, scarred by Big Coal and fracking, while food insecurity and Big Pharma leave their marks on the region’s people. A musicality of language swaddles each poem in hope and a determination to endure. Alone in the House of My Heart offers what only art can: a series of thought-provoking images that evoke such a clear sense of place that it’s familiar to anyone, regardless of where they call home.
Kari Gunter-Seymour is the 2020–24 poet laureate of Ohio. Her first collection, A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen, was the winner of the 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year Award. Her poems have appeared in the New York Times, New Ohio Review, Poem-a-Day, Rattle, and numerous other publications. A ninth-generation Appalachian, Gunter-Seymour is the editor of I Thought I Heard a Cardinal Sing: Ohio’s Appalachian Voices and the founder and host of the seasonal performance series Spoken & Heard, featuring poets, writers, and musicians from across the country. She is an artist-in-residence at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus.
Soliloquy with the Ghosts in Nile explores the role of silence in a time of war. The war Hussain Ahmed accounts here is both physical and psychological, and the survivor within these poems uses his voice to tell the stories of those who were lost. The experimental poems track grief as it extends from the personal “I” to a larger community that grapples to find connections with places that are no longer in existence. These are poems that must resist the danger of fear to ensure that the victims are not forgotten, resulting in a powerful result: a collection of survival stories that insist on being told.
Hussain Ahmed is a Nigerian poet, translator, and environmentalist. He is the author of a chapbook “Harp in a Fireplace.” His poems are featured or forthcoming in POETRY, The Kenyon Review, The America Poetry Review, A Public Space, Denver Quarterly, AGNI and elsewhere. He received a 2021 Barry and Susan Hannah award from the University of Mississippi where he has an MFA in poetry. Hussain is currently a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati.
David Baker is an educator, editor, literary critic, and one of contemporary poetry’s most gifted lyric poets. He has authored twelve books of poetry as well as six books of prose. His many honors include fellowships and awards from the Poetry Society of America, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mellon Foundation, the Society of Midland Authors, and the Guggenheim Foundation. The recipient of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize, Baker teaches at Denison University and lives in Granville, Ohio.