Each Ohio Poet Laureate gets to choose a personal project. The current poet laureate, Kari Gunter-Seymour, chose to focus on addiction. “I feel so strongly about the way addiction is being treated in this country, almost ignored,” Gunter-Seymour says. Addiction is, in many ways a peculiarly Ohio issue, since “Ohio has come in second many times for overdose deaths.”
Her passion is evident in not only her poetry project with Ohio prisoners overcoming addiction but also in her views on the true culprits: “Big Pharma needs to stand up and take its beating for what it has done to the population of our country.”
Aside from working with addiction and recovery, Gunter-Seymour has strong ties to the Women of Appalachia project, which involves the 420 counties in Appalachia:
Our work is informing folks all over the country and across the pond that Appalachians in general, and in particular, women are not barefoot, we have teeth, we are not underfed, we’re not over fed, we’re not under-groomed. Most of us are well educated. And if we’re not educated in school academic settings, we’re highly educated in horticulture and animal husbandry, and those other things that those who are caretakers of the land learn, and they get passed down from generation to generation.
You can see and talk with Ohio Poet Laureate Gunter-Seymour when she appears at the Ohioana Book Festival on April 22, 2023