Monday, September 21, 2020

October 3rd 2020: Ohio Poetry Day Celebration Online

Update from Amy Jo Zook:

The 83rd celebration of Poetry Day is October 3 and is like no other, because of the various strictures demanded by the Coronavirus. Instead, we will do as many of our traditional things as possible and make substitutions for the rest until we can resume our customary ways.

We are producing our usual book of winning poems, BEST OF 2020, which will be available at and after Poetry Day, and may possibly be ready a week or so before, so it can be ordered to have in-hand by October 3. As always, order from Amy Jo Zook, the usual cost-plus-mailing of $14.

The booklet of Workshop poems, with critique / comments attached, will be available also, for $2, no extra postage if mailed with BEST OF, or $2.55 if mailed separately. Winners and those who usually attend the workshop will want this.

As an experiment, we are producing a CD of Ohio Poet of the Year Kari Gunter-Seymour reading from her book, that will be available for $5 postpaid separate from the other items from Poetry Day, or it can be included in a book mailing for $3.

The Ohio Poetry Association is hosting a ZOOM event on Poetry Day (October 3) , from 1:30 to 4 pm. you will hear first Ohio Poet of the Year Kari Gunter-Seymour, and then as many of the other winning poets as can get registered. Anyone who won an OPD 2020 contest or received an honorable mention and would like to read during the open mic, should also email Ohio Poetry Association president Chuck Salmons at

Space is limited, so register early. Register via Eventbrite at 14368551416.

To order Kari's book, A Place So Deep Inside America lt Can't Be Seen:

PayPal: - Click on “Add a note" to leave your Name and mailing address.


send a check with your Name and mailing address to Kari Gunter-Seymour, P.O. Box 351, Albany, OH 45710

All these items will be easier to obtain if you order early. The 2020 books are trying print-on-demand rather than ordering and stocking books that may not sell. But we hope we will actually sell more of them when you can't attend the event.

BEST OF 2O2O, the workshop book, and the CD will be mailed with all the year's prizes and certificates, from Amy Jo Zook, 3520 State Route 56, Mechanicsburg, OH 43044. All checks should be made payable to Ohio Poetry Day.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Ohio Poetry Day Virtual Celebration - October 3rd 2020

Our friends at the Ohio Poetry Association will be sponsoring a significant part of this year’s Ohio Poetry Day (OPD) celebration to honor this year’s Ohio Poet of the Year, Kari Gunter-Seymour, and the OPD contest winners.

Join the celebration during a virtual reading on Zoom. The afternoon kicks off with a reading by Kari Gunter-Seymour, who will then be interviewed by OPA President Chuck Salmons. After a short break, the OPD contest winners will be invited to read their winning poems.

This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Registration is available via Eventbrite.

For more information, please visit the Ohio Poetry Association website.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Kari Gunter-Seymour is named Ohio Poet of the Year 2020

The Ohio Poetry Day Association has selected Kari Gunter-Seymour as its Ohio Poet of the Year for 2020. Gunter-Seymour was selected for her latest book of poems, A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2020).

Residing near Athens, Ohio, Gunter-Seymour is a ninth generation Appalachian and seeks to honor that heritage in her poetry. She often writes in the voices of those she encounters and uses a regional accent when she performs.

“As an Appalachian poet, I take great pride in my heritage,” Gunter-Seymour says. “For generations my ancestors have loved and worked the land, read their Bibles and migrated as the weather or wanderlust prescribed, handing down their knowledge and experiences through story and song.”

Chosen from among eight books nominated for Ohio Poet of the Year, A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen is Gunter-Seymour’s second poetry collection.

“This [Ohio Poet of the Year] award feels like a victory for all who came before me,” she said, “as well as all yet to come and for the untold number of Appalachian poets, writers and singer/songwriters who have touched my life and my writing in so many ways.”

Kathy Fagan, one of four judges and the 2017 Ohio Poet of the Year for her book Sycamore, calls Gunter-Seymour “a poet for whom family and region provide a well-source of words.”

Gunter-Seymour’s winning the award comes on the heels of her recently being selected as Ohio’s third State Poet Laureate by Governor Mike DeWine. She also previously was Poet Laureate of Athens, Ohio.

Gunter-Seymour is also the founder and Executive Director of the Women of Appalachia Project. This organization offers opportunities for women artists of Appalachian descent and diverse backgrounds, ages and experiences to participate in artistic programs as a way, according to its website, “to embrace the stereotype, to show the whole woman.” The Women of Appalachia Project sponsors spoken word events, poetry readings, fine art exhibitions and other artistic programs and publications.

The Ohio Poetry Day Association was founded in 1937 by authorization of the Ohio Legislature. Since 1976, it has selected annually an Ohio Poet of the Year, basing its choice on a book published in the previous one to two years. The award is based on the one book and not on an aggregation of work published over time. Four judges are selected to review the nominees, one of which is always a previous poet of the year winner.

“I was honored to read books by all the outstanding nominees for Ohio Poet of the Year,” said Fagan. “Gunter-Seymour joins an impressive list of previous winners, re-inscribing for each of us just how rich and deep Ohio’s poetic heritage has been.”

Another judge, Robin Mullet (co-author with Holli Rainwater of The Curve of Her Arm) said that being a judge was one of the most challenging tasks she has ever had because each of the nominees was deserving of the award.

“Although I have long known that Ohio was a treasure chest of poetry, I was still blown away by the depth, diversity and richness of the language of these skilled poets,” she said.

For more about our 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year, please visit

Monday, April 20, 2020

Accepting 2020 Poet of the Year Nominations through May 1st

[Crossposted from the Ohio Poetry Association (not to be confused with the OPDA) blog:]

The Ohio Poetry Day Association (OPDA) is now accepting nominations for Ohio Poet of the Year. Handed out annually since 1976, the award is given for a single collection of poems. The award is based on the one book and not on an aggregation of work published over some time.

Nomination guidelines:

  • Poets may not self-nominate. Books can be offered by others: a publisher or editor, a college faculty or member thereof, a writers' or poets' organization, any other person of poetic standing in the state, or from the lists of books newly published that are put out by the Ohioana Library several times a year.
  • The poet must be a native or a resident of Ohio, or if neither, must have lived in Ohio long enough to have formed serious ties to the state. (The list of former winners of Poet of the Year is below.)
  • The nominated book must be longer than a chapbook (i.e., more than 48 pages) and not a "collected" or "complete" works.
  • The book may be from a commercial or university press or self-published, but it may not come from a vanity press. Books nominated will be screened for quality and to ensure that there are not too many of them for judges to consider.
  • The nominated book may have received previous awards or honors.
  • Poets who previously were nominated may be so again, for a different book; but no one will be chosen a second time as POY.
  • Nominations must be submitted by May 1, 2020. Mail a single copy of the book to:
Amy Jo Zook
3520 State Route 56
Mechanicsburg, OH 43044

The POY winner will be notified in the late summer and invited to be the luncheon speaker at Ohio Poetry Day weekend, October2–3. The award consists of $200 and a commemorative plaque, with one poem from the chosen book also being published in the year's BEST OF collection.

For more background and a look at the history of the award, see the OPA blog article here.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

2020 Ohio Poetry Day Contests

For more information, please contact:

Ohio Poetry Day Association
c/o Amy Jo Zook
3520 State Route 56
Mechanicsburg, Ohio

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Laura Grace Weldon Is Named Ohio Poet of the Year

Laura Grace Weldon has been named Ohio Poet of the Year 2019 by the Ohio Poetry Day Association on the strength of her second collection, Blackbird (Grayson Books, 2019). Topics in that collection include coyotes, cows, pay disparity, rare disorders, weeping icons, and astrophysics. A journal review called her poems “experiential works of luminous simplicity.”

Laura grew up a voracious reader thanks to public libraries and discovered a love of poetry early. She incorporated poetry everywhere her career took her. She developed a poetry project at a nursing home culminating in a book of poems collaboratively written with residents, shared poetry with support groups she facilitated as a social worker, used poems to get across principles while teaching nonviolence workshops, and now offers poems as prompts for her memoir students. But she didn’t write her own poems until she was in her late 40’s, brought to it by what she calls “sideways procrastination.”

Ten years later over 140 of her poems have been published in journals and anthologies,  Thanks to Lit Youngstown, some of her poems have been interpreted into sculpture, video, and painting, with one even stamped into a public sidewalk. In addition to Blackbird she’s published an earlier collection, Tending (Aldrich Press, 2013) as well as a handbook of natural learning titled Free Range Learning (Hohm Press, 2010).  

Laura lives on a small farm in Medina County’s Litchfield Township. She works as an editor and particularly enjoys teaching community-based classes in memoir, poetry, and creativity. She is still a voracious reader, as her often-maxed out library card can attest. 

Find Laura on Facebook, Twitter, and at

Ohio Poetry Day 2019 Events

Troy Hayner Cultural Center, 301 W Main Street, Troy, OH 45373

Friday Evening, October 18 7:00 p.m.
Refreshments, Evening Workshops & Overnight Contests

Saturday Morning, October 19:
9:00 a.m. registration
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Evan Lodge Memorial Poetry Workshop $1.50 charge, free to students

Saturday Noon, October 19 Lunch
Box lunch must be pre-ordered.

Contact Amy Zook to register and order lunch.
Amy Jo Zook
3520 State Rte. 56
Mechanicsburg, OH 43044

Saturday Afternoon, October 19, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Readings by the Ohio Poet of the Year
& Contest Winners

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Susan F. Glassmeyer is Named Ohio Poet of the Year

Susan F. Glassmeyer has been imagining poems since childhood when her Kentucky Grandfather explained the language and meaning of train whistles. HER AWARD-WINNING BOOK OF POETRY "Invisible Fish" is a poetic chronicle from girlhood to post-middle age.

In a Michigan schoolhouse, a young nun woke her up to the rich world of storytelling. And in Ohio, a wise art teacher taught her how to see. Susan paid attention, took notes, whittled poems out of paragraphs, and along the way came to understand these things are inseparable from the life of her body. In addition to her first full-length collection, Invisible Fish (Dos Madres Press, 2018), publications include two chapbooks: Body Matters (Pudding House Publications, 2010) and Cook’s Luck (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Individual poems have found homes in these and other journals: Rattle, Naugatuck River Review, Sixfold, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, Dunes Review, The GHAZAL Page, Gratefulness.Org, and Ohio Poetry Association anthologies.

Reading thousands of poems and studying the lives and practices of hundreds of poets has been key to Susan’s education. In a decade-long project, she created “April Gifts” for National Poetry Month, sharing with readers her annotated presentations of select poems by 300 poets who have inspired her. Susan is a longtime member of the Greater Cincinnati Writers League. She serves as co-director of the Holistic Health Center of Cincinnati where she works as a somatic therapist and Feldenkrais® practitioner, helping people restore the poetry of presence and movement in their lives and bodies.

Learn more about her work at:

Invisible Fish is a poetic chronicle from girlhood to post-middle age by Midwestern author and somatic therapist, Susan F. Glassmeyer. These compelling lyrics and merciful narratives do not shy away from suffering or death, nor from what is poignant and joyful. The whole realm of the visible—the world as it is—is held together by what we cannot see. Because the poems in this full-length collection are grounded in the sensory life of "the body", they ring true to the reader, inviting mindfulness and evoking curiosity and reverence for what is invisible.