Meet Cincinnati's New Poet Laureate, Manuel Iris

Apr 11, 2018

A high school English teacher is Cincinnati's new poet laureate, pending confirmation by Cincinnati City Council. Manuel Iris is a teacher, coach and the Coordinator of Hispanic Outreach at DePaul Cristo Rey.

Iris takes over from Pauletta Hansel whose term is ending. She was named the city's first poet laureate in 2016. Iris will serve a two-year term.

According to his biography, Iris has a Ph.D. in romance languages from the University of Cincinnati. He has a degree in Late American Literature from the Autonomous University of the Yucatan, and a masters in Spanish from New Mexico State University. He's received several awards including the National Award of Poetry Merida (Mexico, 2009) for his book, "Notebook of Dreams."

What Does The Poet Laureate Do?

The poet laureate is charged with "promoting poetry appreciation, encouraging the reading and writing of poetry throughout the city, and composing and reading poems for special events and occasions." The position also includes a "modest honorarium."

Iris will participate in events such as the State of the City address, Poetry Month activities, the Neighborhood Summit, and other city events. For example, Pauletta Hansel organized a group of poets to present an original work during Cincinnati Council's swearing-in ceremony in January.

You can read more about Hansel's activities as poet laureate on her website.