I must admit I know very little about poetry and over the years I have avoided reading it because I worried that I wouldn’t “get it” and would feel bad for not understanding what the author was trying to say. After hearing how wonderful Kari Gunter Seymour’s poetry is and having exchanged messages with her, I decided that I needed to put my worry aside and read her latest collection A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen.
Not only did I “get it”, it spoke to me. Giving me a look so personal into events and thoughts that I found myself visualizing the words. With each poem Kari takes you on a generational journey through life in Appalachia. Journeys that are good, bad, sad and enlightening. The stories she weaves are ones of sorrow, grit, determination and pain.
My favorite is Pack Horse Librarians. It tells of women who during the Great Depression could earn twenty-eight dollars a month for delivering books via horse or mule. They would be considered a “working woman” which at the time was not looked on too highly. Another favorite is Heartland Hospice which talks about a father and loss. Something I am very familiar with. The words brought happy memories and tears.
The characters in the works become real to the reader and I found myself wanting to know more about them. Some, if they ever found happiness or peace and if others ever paid for the suffering they caused others.
It gave me a whole new appreciation for Appalachia and what my ancestors, especially my female ones, endured.
Kari allows the reader inside private thoughts and memories and if you allow it, you will find something of yourself in at least one.
Kari Gunter Seymour is the Poet Laureate of the state of Ohio. You can find her works on Amazon and on her site https://www.karigunterseymourpoet.com.