Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

A Swallow Press Book

Alone in the House of My Heart

By Kari Gunter-Seymour

“Kari Gunter-Seymour weaves memory, place, love, and pain into a vibrant, complex tapestry of her native southeastern Ohio Appalachia. ‘So much here depends upon / a green corn stalk, a patched barn roof, / weather, the Lord, community,’ she writes. The images in these poems are striking, the language fresh. We smell ‘the tang of weeping cherry,’ see up close the devastation of ‘fracking waste, red clay dust, the bitter soot / of coal’s see ya later sucka!’ Her people are flesh and blood: a great-grandfather ‘at seventy, / firm of belly, back plumb as a disc blade,’ her mother ‘bronzed and shapely’ in a field of daffodils. Alone in the House of My Heart is a deeply moving portrayal of family and home, inheritance and loss, written by a poet whose gift is to insist ‘ordinary things be somehow more.’”

Ellen Bass, author of Indigo

“‘Everything has a dream of itself,’ writes Kari Gunter-Seymour in this splendid new collection. These poems sing of apples and alcoholism, families that pass along wounding and wonder and hard-earned laughter. ‘Promise the garden will thrive, / the thirsty Ohio will hold its drink and the Zoloft / prescribed by the clinic will banish the spirits,’ ends another poem, and it is just this combination of hard truth and humor, love, and the ache of loss right below it that draws me in. These poems stubbornly celebrate the people and landscape of Appalachia; they are American, melancholy, life loving, and funny as hell. I wish I could quote every word of ‘An Appalachian Woman’s Guide to Beer Drinking’ here, but you’ll just have to read it for yourself.”

Alison Luterman, author of In the Time of Great Fires

Deeply rooted in respect and compassion for Appalachia and its people, these poems are both paeans to and dirges for past and present family, farmlands, factories, and coal.

Kari Gunter-Seymour’s second full-length collection resounds with candid, lyrical poems about Appalachia’s social and geographical afflictions and affirmations. History, culture, and community shape the physical and personal landscapes of Gunter-Seymour’s native southeastern Ohio soil, scarred by Big Coal and fracking, while food insecurity and Big Pharma leave their marks on the region’s people. A musicality of language swaddles each poem in hope and a determination to endure. Alone in the House of My Heart offers what only art can: a series of thought-provoking images that evoke such a clear sense of place that it’s familiar to anyone, regardless of where they call home.

Kari Gunter-Seymour is the 2020–24 poet laureate of Ohio and the author of A Place So Deep inside America It Can’t Be Seen. A ninth-generation Appalachian, she is the editor of I Thought I Heard a Cardinal Sing: Ohio’s Appalachian Voices and the founder and host of the seasonal performance series Spoken & Heard. Her poems have appeared in the New York Times, New Ohio Review, One, Rattle, and numerous other publications.   More info →


Order a print copy

Paperback · $14.36 ·

Retail price: $17.95 · Save 20% ($14.36)

Cover of Alone in the House of My Heart

Share    Facebook icon  Email icon


Review Copy

This book is not yet available for desk or examination copy requests. Please check back soon.

Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center


Retail price: $17.95, T.
Release date: October 2022
92 pages · 5½ × 8½ in.
Rights:  World

Release date: October 2022
92 pages
Rights:  World

Related Titles

Cover of 'Terra Incognita'

Terra Incognita
By Sara Henning

This poignant collection of masterful elegies centers on the revelatory ways in which the speaker reconciles love, loss, and grief’s legacy. Following her mother’s battle with colon cancer and her own crisis of meaning, Henning culminates the collection with her rediscovery of joy in life’s small moments.

Poetry | Subjects & Themes | Family · Poetry | Subjects & Themes | Death, Grief, Loss · Women Poets · Literature · Creative Writing | Poetry

Cover of 'Bread of the Moment'

Bread of the Moment
By David Sanders

David Sanders’s second book of poems mixes free and formal verse to search for wisdom in life’s quiet moments as well as in those jolting times when our fragility is most apparent.

Poetry | American · Poetry · Ohio and Regional · Literature

Cover of 'Planted by the Signs'

Planted by the Signs
By Misty Skaggs

Planted by the Signs brings us the contemporary Appalachian poetry of Misty Skaggs. With a knack for pointed personal and social observation, she tells the stories of generations of women who have learned to navigate a harsh world with a little help from the Farmers’ Almanac and the stars: women who know how to plant by the signs.

Poetry · Appalachia

Cover of 'Flying through a Hole in the Storm'

Flying through a Hole in the Storm
By Fleda Brown

Award-winning poet Fleda Brown’s thirteenth book examines life and death through a timely, urgent collection of contemplative poems about damage, pain, and loss.

Poetry | Subjects & Themes | Death, Grief, Loss · Poetry | American · Poetry

Sign up to be notified when new Ohio and Regional titles come out.

We will only use your email address to notify you of new titles in the subject area(s) you follow. We will never share your information with third parties.