On this West Virginia Morning, Kari Gunter-Seymour is Ohio’s third poet laureate. Inside Appalachia Producer Bill Lynch spoke with Gunter-Seymour about poetry, getting published and the Appalachian part of Ohio.
I could hardly turn down the opportunity, but when Volunteer West Virginia asked me if I’d like to speak at the regional conference they were hosting, I said yes without really thinking.
This is a recurring pattern in my life.
But delivering an address sounded like an opportunity to spread the good word about Inside Appalachia and our program Folkways, which explores art and culture in Appalachia.
Sometimes to get people to listen to your radio show or podcast, you have to go tell them about it first. Volunteer West Virginia anticipated a crowd of around 400 people – 400 people who maybe have never heard of Inside Appalachia. That sounded pretty good to me, though my experience with public speaking is a little spotty.
I’ve spoken intelligently before groups of about a dozen and spoken less coherently in front of groups of nearly a hundred. I’ve given good speeches nobody remembers and bad ones I still remember, like the time I spoke at a community center during a celebration for Mahatma Gandhi.
The nicest thing anyone told me that night about my speech was that I was brief.
Honestly, Volunteer West Virginia would do better with someone who could sing or do magic tricks, but that kind of thing costs money and I’ll work for fun-sized candy bars, chewing gum and a bottle of water.
That’s what I got for dressing as Daniel Tiger at an event at the Kanawha County Public Library last year, which was more than I took home as Buster Bunny at the West Virginia Book Festival.
I say yes to a lot of things, but how often do you get to dress up like a beloved children’s cartoon character?
But I’m game to give Volunteer West Virginia a good show.
Volunteer West Virginia has asked me to talk to their guests about Appalachia and the future of our region, something our radio show and podcast explores every week.
Probably, they’d have wanted me to be a little more well-versed in the subject, but what they asked also seemed to fit the overall mission of “Lore,” which is for me to learn about Appalachian culture.
And who doesn’t love a deadline?
So, now I have four months to come up with an engaging, half-hour presentation about Appalachia, its future – and also maybe work in something about Charleston for the visitors.
The last part seemed easy. I can tell you how to get to all the bakeries in the county, and which one has the best scone.
I work for West Virginia Public Broadcasting. We aired six seasons of Downton Abbey (which I watched). I think I’m expected to like scones.
Volunteer West Virginia said I had a lot of leeway. I could do slides. I could bring in guests.
On this West Virginia Morning, more than a decade ago, Huntington made headlines as the “fattest city in the nation.” We listen to an excerpt from our latest episode of Us & Them with host Trey Kay Kay, where we look at continuing efforts to teach healthy habits in West Virginia.
In the summer of 1996 in Shenandoah National Park, two women, Julie Williams and Lollie Winans, were murdered not far from the Appalachian Trail. The case remains unsolved today. Journalist Kathryn Miles recently wrote about the murders in a new book titled, “Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders.” The book goes beyond true crime, and wraps in Miles’ personal experiences and the specter of violence in the outdoors.
Edible Mountain follows botanists, conservationists, and enthusiastic hobbyists in the field as they provide insight on sustainable forest foraging. The episodes are designed to increase appreciation and accessibility to the abundance found in Appalachia, celebrating the traditional knowledge and customs of Appalachian folk concerning plants and their medical, religious, and social uses.