Updated: Apr 17
LitYoungstown is pleased to announce a reading from the anthology I Thought I Heard A Cardinal Sing: Ohio’s Appalachian Voices, a one-of-a-kind collection of poetry focused specifically on the unique cultural experiences of Appalachian poets located in or connected to Ohio (Central) Appalachia. The event will be held April 23 at 2:00PM at the Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St. and will feature Diane Kendig, Barbara Marie Minney, Colby Smith, Clarissa Jakobsons, Jacob Phillis, Sarah Robinson, John Burroughs, Lee Echard Boyle, Renay Sanders & Mitch James.
The anthology was produced by Ohio Poet Laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour, who obtained a fellowship grant from the Academy of American Poets with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Gunter-Seymour designed and edited the collection—a lavish mix of voices: Affrilachian, Indigenous non-binary and LGBTQ; from teens to those creatively aging; poets in recovery, some with disabilities or developmental differences; emerging and well established; some living in the state, others from assorted locations throughout the country—all with a deep connection to Ohio Appalachia.
“People often forget, and many do not even know that nearly 1/4 of the state of Ohio rests inside Appalachia proper,” says Gunter-Seymour, “and pockets of Appalachian families who out-migrated generations ago prominently exist throughout the state, still firmly attached to their Appalachian roots. This collection is an intimate look at landscape and family from within Central Appalachia, delving far deeper than mainstream journalism.”
Dinty W. Moore, Author of The Mindful Writer shares: “I Thought I Heard A Cardinal Sing, Ohio’s Appalachian Voices brings to life the graceful rolling hills, the pockets and valleys, the generous souls, the vivid fruits and plants and birdlife that make Appalachian Ohio so entirely unforgettable. This diverse collection of precise, evocative poems sings the praises of a singular place and a people. A truly wonderful book.”
Mark Halliday Director of Creative Writing, Ohio University writes: “This abundant anthology encompasses many styles and vantage points and backgrounds, creating a richly detailed tapestry of human experience in Appalachian Ohio. There is a pervasive sense of stoical courage in dealing with the rough edges of life; and many poems recognize and honor that struggle in the lives of past generations. The cumulative evocation of imaginative persistence in wooded valleys and on winding hilly roads and in hundreds of towns is seriously moving.”
A copy of the anthology will be sent to all public libraries throughout Ohio and to all Ohio Appalachian middle and high schools, with the support and assistance of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) and Sheila-Na-Gig Editions. Copies of the anthology will be on sale from the publisher during the event and online at sheilanagigblog.com/cardinal-sing.
Cara Dingus Brook, President and CEO of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio adds: “We are thrilled to have Kari Gunter Seymour serving as a Fellow of our Arts & Culture Pillar of Prosperity and to support this wonderful anthology highlighting what it means to be a Child of Appalachia. We believe the unique collection will encourage our region’s students and educators to tell their own rich stories.”
Donna Holt Collins, Executive Director, Ohio Arts Council writes, “Ohio’s Poet Laureate, Kari Gunter-Seymour, brings to life Ohio’s Appalachian voices through her anthology. She has captured the beauty, joy, heartache, and love of those who know life in Appalachia. Kari’s willingness to bring a wealth of voices from the region to her own work demonstrates her passion for people and place. We congratulate Kari for this important literary work, that is indeed a gift to us all.”