City Announces New Poet Laureate

Manuel Iris, who has a doctorate in Romance Languages from UC and teaches at DePaul Cristo Rey High School, won a national award in Mexico for his poetry


click to enlarge Manuel Iris - PHOTO: Provided
PHOTO: Provided
Manuel Iris

Mayor John Cranley's office today announced that it wants the city's next Poet Laureate will be Manuel Iris, whose distinguished writing — according to a press release — has netted him Mexico's National Award of Poetry Merida in 200 for his book Notebook of Dreams, and that country's Regional Award of Poetry Rodulfo Figueroa in 2014 for his book The Disguises of Fire.

Iris has an M.A. in Latin American Literature from the Autonomous University of the Yucatan, an M.A. in Spanish from New Mexico State University, and a doctorate in Romance Languages from the University in Cincinnati. He teaches English at DePaul Cristo Rey High School, where he is also the coordinator of Hispanic outreach, a co-coach of the slam poetry team, and co-coordinator of the Poetry Club.

Iris was selected by an advisory committee. To actually become the Poet Laureate, he must receive City Council approval to serve a two-year term.That vote is scheduled for April 18. He would begin after the current title-holder, Pauletta Hansel, ends her term. She was appointed the city's first Poet Laureate on April 1, 2016.

To receive this honor, the person must have written poetry "that exemplifies the characteristics or spirit of Cincinnati," the press release says. The Poet Laureate also is expected to promote poetry appreciation, and encourage the reading and writing of poetry throughout the city.

An advisory committee also commended two runner-ups, Siri Huey and Annie Ruth, for their strong applications.  

Iris maintains an active literary blog at bufondedios.blogspot.com.

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