Summer Solstice Poets, Musicians and Speakers

Dr. Jarrod Burks  – Speaker

Dr. Jarrod Burks is a professional archaeologist who works for Ohio Valley Archaeology, Inc., a private archaeology firm in Columbus, Ohio. One of his great passions is relocating ancient earthwork sites through geophysical survey, which uses weird machines with names like magnetometer and ground-penetrating radar.  Jarrod has surveyed several dozen earthwork sites in Ohio, including Serpent Mound. He has made numerous unique discoveries, such as finding previously unknown earthwork sites, revealing new enclosures at well-known sites, and uncovering the remains of amazing wooden architecture.  Jarrod is a trustee of the Ohio Archaeological Council, a nonprofit organization of professional and avocational archaeologists, the President and a founding Board member of the Heartland Earthworks Conservancy, and the Treasurer of the Midwest Archaeological Conference. During his day job, Jarrod spends a lot of time trying to find things of archaeological importance for others to dig up. He is also often in cemeteries attempting to locate unmarked graves and has participated in several forensics cases and taught geophysics at forensics workshops. Looking for unmarked graves has taken him to several interesting corners of the planet, including Guadalcanal, Poland, and numerous states in the U.S. But Ohio earthworks are Jarrod’s real passion, and on any given weekend with decent weather you are likely to find him pushing a magnetometer around an ancient site in southern Ohio…or sharing stories of his expeditions with audiences big and small. Jarrod received his PhD and MA degrees in anthropology (archaeology) from The Ohio State University and his BA degree in anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.

John De Boer  – Musician

John De Boer has been a professional musician for over 30 years.
A multi-talented composer and entertainer playing every instrument in the orchestra, but his main instruments are flute and piano. He has been performing on stage and national television since he was four years old. John’s Native American flute music has been played millions of times on the internet and he has performed with over thirty major label groups such as Chubby Checker, The Crystals, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Henry Lee Summers, Johnny Paycheck, Lou Cristie, Billy Joe Royal, John Anderson, Merle Haggert, and many more. John’s original flute songs are composed and inspired while playing in natural surroundings by waterfalls or a river. The Native American flute sings and echoes in the valleys while the birds whisper melodies in the wind as the magic flutes plays. The inclusion of these backgrounds on his latest release, “Shadowland Flute Songs” a part of a Trilogy of CDs and a book “The Storytellers Flute” are a testament to nature’s inspiration. The listener is taken on a magical journey into the natural world with the ancient sound of the Native American Flute. John holds a degree in fine arts and is a certified music teacher. John is a wonderful storyteller and teaches thousands of children every year about nature with his Storyteller’s Flutes, a collection of the worlds finest Native American flutes mostly gifts to him from the makers themselves. Music is not just something that he does… music is everything that he is. John De Boer’s music is played from his heart,
and when you hear his songs you can tell they were born deep within his soul.

Steve Free  – Musician

Steve Free is an internationally acclaimed award winning singer/songwriter and recording artist. The winner of numerous Music Industry Awards, he has charted 15 songs on The National and International Charts and was the winner of the 2008 Governor’s Arts award as the #1 Artist in his home state of Ohio. He remains one of the most popular American Artist on European and Australian Radio and one of the most respected folk singers in the U.S.






Mark Hersman – Poet

Mark HersmanFollowing his early retirement with Ohio’s Division of Wildlife, Mark began the second leg of his life-long adventure. During the day he works as an amateur archaeologist and by night, he becomes the Indiana Jones of poetry. For the last twelve years Mark has hosted/emceed many poetry venues throughout north central Ohio. His current venue is the Happy Bean in Mt Vernon. His first poetry chapbook, “Unearthed ” was released by Puddinghouse Publishing, Columbus in 2009. Since that time, his work continues to embrace multiple journals and magazines. He is currently serving as Vice-President of the Ohio Poetry Association, following two terms as OPA President. Mark also lead Ohio’s effort to receive her first state wide Poet Laureate (now in place) and organized and led testimony before both Ohio House and Senate for this cause as well as led the state wide campaign for house members to record this testimony and put it on the floor for a vote. When asked about a public read vs. another poem being published, Mark will quickly assure you he prefers the connection with an audience at the mic. A few of his memorable reads were in “Larry’s” High St bar in Columbus, “A Night Club on Main” Buffalo, New York, ” The Old Mill Winery” Geneva, a coffeehouse on St Armand’s Square, Sarasota, FL and The Columbus Arts Festival over the years.


Bucky Ignatius – Poet

Bucky Ignatius is a semi-reformed hippie who has spent most of his 71 years in or near Cincinnati where he currently tends a large garden and a small cat. He has been writing most of his life, a focus on poetry sharpening over the past 20 years. Publication credits are diverse and numerous, and a chapbook of short short poems, Fifty Under Fifty, is available from Finishing Line Press. Bucky has served as president of the Greater Cincinnati Writers League since 2007, making a serious and joyful commitment to the growth and development of poetry in the Cincinnati community. He works part-time as building manager of the Pendleton Art Center, and so-called spare time is filled with visual art and music, both of which abound among his family and friends.


Kari Gunter-Seymour – Poet

Kari Gunter-Seymour is a poet, photographer and graphic designer. She holds a BFA in graphic design and an MA in commercial photography. She has lived in her rich corner of Appalachia her whole knowing life, not far from her grandparent’s farm, where she spent many seasons learning the ways of those who depend on the whims of weather and the Lord for their living. She is proud to be of such stock, to have learned to value the earth, its creatures and her neighbors who share in the bounty. Her poetry appears in several publications including, Rattle; Crab Orchard Review, Kudzu, Chiron Review and The LA Times. Her piece “I Knew Bad New Had Come” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and “Serving” was chosen first place at the Hocking Hills Power of Poetry Festival. Her photography has won many awards and been published nationally in The Sun Magazine, Storm Cellar Quarterly and Appalachian Heritage Magazine. Kari is the founder/curator of theWomen of Appalachia Project,” an arts organization she created to address discrimination directed at women from the Appalachian region by encouraging participation from women artists (fine art and spoken word) of diverse backgrounds, ages and experiences to come together, to embrace the stereotype, to show the whole woman; beyond the superficial factors that people use to judge her — providing opportunities to share their art, receive recognition and encouragement, and build strong networks, so they might grow and thrive. In doing so, diverse populations are introduced to one of Appalachian’s greatest assets, its artists.


Wendy McVicker – Poet

WMcV author picWendy McVicker lives and writes in the green hills of Athens County, Ohio. She has been for many years a Teaching Artist and Literature Field Consultant for the Ohio Arts Council’s Arts Learning program. She loves to stir up poetry (generously defined) with people of all ages whenever and wherever she can (schools, libraries, art galleries, nursing homes, prisons). When not involved in writing, she can be found doing yoga or dancing, teaching karate, reading, or walking those green hills with friends. Her chapbook, The Dancer’s Notes, released in 2015 by Finishing Line Press, is a collection of poems inspired one way or another by dance. She also performs with instrumentalist Emily Prince as the duo another language altogether, often in collaboration with dancers and other musicians. Her family includes one husband, two sons, and a Hemingway cat named Dora.




Susann Moeller  – Poet

Susann Moeller’s award-winning poems have appeared in many poetry journals, here and abroad.  Two collections of her work I Dance in Your Light that is also My Own and From the Periphery have been published by Mellen Press. A semi-retired professor of creative writing, humanities and ecological studies, she founded EPOC (Eco Poetry of Ohio Collective), a poetry salon dedicated to the advocacy and cross-pollination of those fields. She conducts EcoPoetry workshops at different venues such as after-school programs, festivals and special events  She also serves as editor to the EcoPoetry Collection of Open Earth, published by Pudding Magazine. She coordinates the Wisconsin Farm-to-School Apple Poem Contest, serves as judge to Ohio Poetry Out Loud and is a frequent reader on occasions such as Arbor Day, Earth Day, Herb Day, and at Coffee Houses.
When she drops her hat as secretary of OPA (Ohio Poetry Association), President of WGRN (Women’s Green Radio Network), and Executive Director of IWLA-COC (Central Ohio Chapter of the Izaak Walton League), she may be found advocating for the environment as a Master Gardener, Master Urban Farmer, Ohio Naturalist, and Wildlife Rehabilitatior. Hence Moeller’s poetry is inspired by a myriad of sources and adventures. Her work can be characterized as deceptively appeasing on the surface covering a vast array of topics, usually relating a specific experience to a universal phenomenon.  As she sets the stage for each poem, she draws from song, fairy tale, fable, legend, and other genres to lure the audience into certain expectations only to reveal them later as delusions.

“English as a foreign tongue provides for me the very distance needed to express thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs otherwise “too close for comfort”.  In the process of uncovering my native past and present, I try to create an under-current that leaves the reader with a sense of uneasiness. Hence, especially the juxtaposition of rhythm and mood changes is characteristic in my lyrics.”


Chuck Salmons – Poet

Native Columbus resident Chuck Salmons earned his B.A. in English from Otterbein College (now University) in 1998 and his M.A. in English from Northern Michigan University (2005). He is the current president of the Ohio Poetry Association (OPA), a statewide, nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to arts education. His primary duties involve programming and fundraising. He has also served as Vice President, Secretary, and newsletter editor, contributing book and chapbook reviews of works by OPA members. He also maintains the OPA website. Chuck’s poems have appeared in several journals and anthologies, including Appleseeds—Or, how we got here; Common Threads; Evening Street Review; Everything Stops and Listens; The Fib Review; and Pudding Magazine. He won the 2011 William Redding Memorial Poetry Contest, sponsored by The Poetry Forum of Columbus, and regularly gives readings throughout the state of Ohio. Education and public service are of utmost importance to Chuck and are reflected in every stage of his professional life. His career experiences include working in the construction industry which, along with his roots in a blue-collar family, has influenced many of his poems; teaching high school English as well as college composition at Columbus State Community College; and editing educational textbooks. As one who loves and has a strong background in science, which has influenced his more recent poems, he thoroughly enjoys his day job as Publications Editor for the Ohio Geological Survey.


David & Guilda Altman  – Drummers

GADADavid and Guilda Altman were introduced to hand drums in 1992 when they were invited to a drum circle, A gathering of people that sit in a circle and play the hand drum. That was it, they were hooked. David commented at the time, “it was like coming home”. Over the years, “GADA”, Guilda A. and David A. became their stage name, as they started playing drums for performances and drum circles. David and Guilda have hosted and facilitated many many drum circles in a lot of different venues, including Nursing homes, Senior Centers, private parties, local fairs, Poetry readings, Solstice/equinox events. In April of 2000, they were featured in the Sandusky Register for Facilitating a Drum Circle at the Sandusky Senior Center. They use primarily African style drums, Djimbe’s and Ashiko’s, but the sound is uniquely theirs. They say, “It is totally improvisational drumming from the heart.”