Kari Gunter-Seymour (from the conversation): “I come from a long line of self-sufficient, resourceful, hardworking people. As far as poetry is concerned, my work is Appalachian through and through. Growing up near my grandparents’ farm in the very small village of Amesville, Ohio, I was sheltered. We all had a bit of twang in our voice; we were all kinds of colors and shapes; and we didn’t care because we all grew up together. A lot of people don’t even know that about a quarter of Ohio is in Appalachia proper, and that there are pockets of Appalachians throughout Ohio, those who out-migrated north to find work just before, during, and after World War II.” (web)
Comment from the artist, Kari Gunter-Seymour: “Full disclosure: I was secretly hoping for a poem that was not so obviously about an egg or the carton, or for that matter a womb or chicken. Maybe a poem that discussed texture or extremes of angle and light, as those topics often come up in conversation about this image at exhibitions. A poem that was not above roaming beyond the edges of the photograph. ‘Substance’ does all that. It dances me in and out of the frame, asks the timeless question, discusses each element so cleverly ‘a creamy complexion—,’ ‘the coarse-and-homely,’ the ‘graying angles and curves’ and lands so solid ‘… a tested cradle/ the invisible hands …’ I could go on and on. Brava!”
Kari Gunter-Seymour: “I became a military mother in 2003 when my son deployed to Korea for a year, then immediately to Iraq for a second tour. The 503rd saw some of the worst combat of the war, losing a man or more a week during their year in Fallujah/Ramadi. I started journaling and writing poetry as a way to ‘talk’ to my son, as communication was sporadic. At that time, soldiers had to stand in line, sometimes for hours, to call home. I woke up each morning wondering if my son was alive. It was poetry, finding those few precious words to explain my fear and analyze my faith that kept me grounded, got me through.”
Kari Gunter-Seymour is the guest on episode #48 of the Rattlecast. Click here to watch!