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Writer Residency with Manuel Iris

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

So thankful to the Ohio Arts Council and Rob Briggs & Alyssa Lenhoff-Briggs for the funding to bring this wonderful poet to our community.

Manuel began his residency Friday with 100 4th and 5th graders at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School. The kids asked wonderful and engaging questions, and wrote terrific poems. We look forward to hearing more of their work as they continue to find their voices. Thank you to Allison Scott for the invitation.

Next, Manuel helped kick off National Library Week at YSU's Maag Library. Thank you, Ana Torres for the invitation. Also, thank you to Marlene Bassil of Cardinal Mooney High School and Diana Palardy of YSU for bringing classes to hear talks on translation, immigration and the arts, and a reading from Manuel's bilingual book,The Parting Present.

The evening ended with a reading at the Soap Gallery. Many thanks to the Soap for including the reading in their busy month of programming. Poet Mathias Svalina, visiting Youngstown for the month of April with his Dream Delivery Service, read with Manuel. The readings coincided with the opening of For Your Home: An Exhibition of Works for the Home & Life, up at the Soap Gallery throughout the month of April.

At the Community Literacy Workforce Cultural Center Saturday, Manuel led a workshop for teens and a workshop on writing in translation. The Labra Brothers inspired dancing and singing with their beautiful harmonies and rhythms in English and Spanish. Lit Youngstown purchased $1000 worth of delicious cuisine from Hispanic restaurants throughout the community. Many thanks to Casa Ramirez, El Tapatio, Norma's Casa de Tacos, Plaza Mexico, El Vallarta, Papa's Bakery, Tequila Jalisco, Sr Jalapeno, Papa's Puerto Rican Cuisine, Anna's Cookin' & Cocina Maria for this crazy delicious meal.

Several community members shared stories on immigration, language and culture sparked by Manuel's poems. Manuel showed us his copy of The Parting Present, embellished by his daughter Olivia; the book includes poems to and about her. Manuel sold many copies. Purchase a copy here.

Much gratitude to our community partners Ana Torres, Diana Palardy, Ira Cross, Nicole Pettitt, Alicia Prieto Langarica, Grimilda Ocasio & Christopher Tennant for making this event a success. The Community Literacy Workforce and Cultural Center is a beautiful space. Thank you to Cindy Beach of the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County and Cheryl McArthur of the CLWCC for making this event possible.

This project is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.

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