A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen
by Kari Gunter-Seymour
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KARI GUNTER-SEYMOUR is a ninth generation Appalachian and the founder and executive director of the “Women of Appalachia Project” (www.womenofappalachia.com). She is the editor of the Women Speak anthology series and Essentially Athens Ohio; a retired instructor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and Athens, Ohio Poet Laureate Emeritus.
Her work can be found in many fine publications including Still, Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, Main Street Rag, Stirring, Lascaux Review, The American Journal of Poetry, and The LA Times, as well as on her website: http://www.karigunterseymourpoet.com.
A poem she wrote in support of families living in poverty in Athens County, OH, went viral and was seen by over 100,000 people, resulting in thousands of dollars donated to her local food pantry.
ABOUT THE BOOK
In a time of inflated posturing and relentless self-promotion, Kari Gunter-Seymour’s poems offer quiet intensity. Her work provides a refuge where one’s curiosity, intelligence, and awareness of the complexities of contemporary Appalachian female culture and the struggle to hold on to “old ways” while embracing the new, take shape. The work is firmly and unapologetically attached to the poet’s home soil.
More than merely commenting, Gunter-Seymour’s work searches for meaning. It takes readers outside and indoors, into the world and into bodies and minds, a foray into the tangled bonds of family, weighted with memories. Her work speaks to a knowing that as the threads of our lives unravel, so too, gifts materialize. Here, relationship issues, trauma and disappointment are transformed into a journey of revelation, a testament to the complexity and power of love even as it contends with circumstances beyond its control.
Each poem is earthy and rich, filled with imagery, exploring beyond the boundaries of feminism, science, and spirituality. There is specific cultural musicality of language and line, a strong sense of observation, giving readers a renewed sense of understanding and discovery of today’s Appalachian woman.
KariGunter-Seymour’s new collection, A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen, is a timeless array of poems that invites the reader to traverse memories that feel as sacred as scripture. The collection is stunning in its ability to elevate memory and hold singular experiences aloft for perusal. In concert, the poems read like a carefully preserved palimpsest, layered cohesively, suggesting there’s always more where that came from. Not a single poem is negligible. This is an airtight intersection of family and kinship, and through Gunter-Seymour’s meticulous model, we are asked to consider what we, too, have inherited from the land as much as from our people, and how any, many ways, “Everything alive aches for more.” -Bianca X, Affrilachian Poet, Author of Black Mermaid
“Generations pass and still we toil/scratch at scars, lose track of the path home” Kari Gunter-Seymour writes in her poignant new collection A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen .These searing poems, however, have no trouble tracing the path to the ground of the poet’s making—her childhood home—and to her mother and father, unforgettable, as flesh, ghost and memory. These poems feel necessary and real and stark as the Appalachian Mountains themselves. -Rita Sims Quillen, author of Wayland and The Mad Farmer’s Wife
In A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen, Kari Gunter-Seymour writes with clear, evocative language as she weaves stories of her people, especially the strong women in her life who are portrayed honestly and with compassion. She takes us along on an intergenerational journey through roles as daughter, granddaughter, mother, grandmother, all closely connected to those who came before and those yet to return home. These vivid poems, deeply rooted in place and nature, are filled with images of a life spent in northern Appalachia. Gunter-Seymour writes of planting by the signs and the music of Hank and Dolly, but moves onto contemporary themes like border walls and legacies of war. In these poems, the past meshes with the present, and provides solid footing to face the future. -Jayne Moore Waldrop, author of Retracing My Steps.
Congratulations to Kari!