The South Carolina Arts Commission welcomes Zuri Wilson-Seymore as the new part-time Poetry Out Loud coordinator. Wilson-Seymore will work with teachers and schools participating in Poetry Out Loud and coordinate competitions with regional and state partners.
A Columbia native, Wilson-Seymore is a poet, yogi, actress and community activist. In 2000, she studied theater at Stony Brook University in Long Island, NY, and received her bachelor’s degree in theatre with an emphasis in performance arts from Winthrop University in 2001. She completed her thesis for her masters in Creative Writing with an emphasis on poetry at Southern New Hampshire University in 2016. She is working on a poetry chap book and on a book of poetry titled Nekot Cookie Crumbles: A Daughter remembering her Father, dedicated to her late father, Barry Wilson. Wilson-Seymore has appeared in a sitcom, a soap opera and a commercial and recently booked her first major voice over with G.E.M. Studios.
Wilson-Seymore has collaborated with the Richland Library to direct and co-produce the African American History Month Productions of Voices of Our People and has worked with the City of Columbia and C.A. Johnson High School to improve the literacy of youth through writing and poetry workshops. In addition, Wilson-Seymore has facilitated Poetry Meets Screenwriting Workshops for USC’s Media Department.
Wilson-Seymore is the founder and executive director of the cultural arts event Zuri’s Parallel Worlds, which included poetry, theater, song, dance, visual art, music, deejaying, and drumming. The organization went on a sabbatical in October 2008 and re-launched in August 2011 as a band. Wilson-Seymore released her debut album, Zuri’s Parallel Worlds, in August 2007 and directed the video for the single, She.
The Arts Commission partners with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to bring Poetry Out Loud to South Carolina high schools. The program seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry—recitation and performance. Poetry Out Loud begins at the classroom level, with winners from each classroom advancing to a school-wide competition and then to regional competitions. Regional winners advance to South Carolina’s statewide competition. Ultimately, one student from each state will compete in the national finals in Washington, D.C.