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Poet Manuel Iris comes to Valley

Lit Youngstown will present several events Friday and Saturday with poet-in-residence Manuel Iris and Mathias Svalina.

Iris is a recent poet laureate of Cincinnati. He is the author of five books in Spanish and the bilingual book “The Parting Present.” He has a bachelor’s degree in Latin American literature from Autonomous University of the Yucatan (Mexico), a master’s degree in Spanish from New Mexico State University and a doctorate in romance languages the University of Cincinnati.

Svalina is the author of seven books, most recently “The Depression,” a collaboration with the photographer Jon Pack. He is a founding editor of the small press Octopus Books and has taught creative writing in universities, high schools, community arts spaces, prisons and libraries.

A kickoff event is planned in the third floor gallery at Youngstown State University’s Maag Library. Iris will give a talk and take questions on translation at 2 p.m. Friday. A second talk and a question-and-answer session at 3 p.m. will focus on culture, the arts and immigration. It will be followed by a poetry reading, book signing and reception at 4 p.m.

Iris and Svalina will do a poetry reading and book signing at 7 p.m. Friday at Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St., Youngstown, in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition “For Your Home: An Exhibition of Works for the Home and Life.”

Iris will give a writing workshop for teens from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Community Literacy Workforce and Cultural Center, 436 Struthers Coitsville Road, Lowellville. It will be followed by the Mahoning Valley Hispanic Culture Celebration from noon to 2 p.m. featuring poetry, storytelling, music by the Labra Brothers and cuisine from such restaurants as Casa Ramirez, El Tapatio, Plaza Mexico, Sr. Jalapeno, El Vallarta, Taquila Jalisco, Norma’s Casa de Tacos, Papa’s Bakery & Sandwiches, Papa’s Puertorican Cuisine Campbell and Anna’s Cookin’.

A second workshop in translation writing by Iris is scheduled at 2 p.m. Both workshops are free with registration at libraryvisit.libnet.info/event/6214908

Support is provided by the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County, The Community Literacy Workforce and Cultural Center, OCCHA, Thrive Mahoning Valley, Mexican Mutual Aid Society, WYSU-FM and Rob Briggs and Alyssa Lenhoff-Briggs.

Iris is the first of three writers-in-residence who will be in Youngstown over the next two months through funding provided by the Ohio Arts Council. Upcoming writers include Mike Geither from April 29 to May 1 and Quartez Harris from May 6 to 7.

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