Author Manuel Iris

I talked to Manuel Iris at the Ohioana Book Festival.

Manuel Iris author of The Parting Present, Lo Que Se Ira at the Ohioana Book Festival. Instagram: @manuelirispoet. @onhioanalibrary @columbuslibrary,  
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Manuel Iris author of The Parting Present, Lo Que Se Ira at the Ohioana Book Festival.

Tell me about your book and why you wrote it.

I am a poet. I was born in Mexico. I write all my poetry in Spanish. Then, I am my own translator into English. I am the former poet, Laureate of the City of Cincinnati, Ohio. I am the current writer in residence for the public library system of the City of Cincinnati. I am here because of this book. It won the Ohioana readers’ choice award. It is a book about my daughter and how much I love her. I talk about being a parent about being an immigrant, getting to know who I am and getting to know my daughter when she is being raised in a country that is not mine, with a language that is not mine. I talk about how we can still connect. My love for her doesn’t depend on any of these things. When I wrote this book, I was not aware of the fact that there are not many books of poetry or other genre where the father expresses love. Usually, when a father shows up in literature, he is a villain or an absent father. It is a figure that the kids talk about. The voice of the father almost never talks about the kids. The voice of the mother does. There are many books with the mom declaring love or talking about motherhood in a troubled way. There are not many books where the father is talking about being a father. Even less books about being an involved, loving, tender father. I was just trying to tell my daughter that I love her. I finished writing the book during the pandemic because I didn’t know if I was going to survive it. I was afraid like everyone else. I wanted to leave behind an artifact, something that would help my daughter to know how much I loved her if I passed away. I didn’t want people to tell her, ‘you know your dad loved you.” I wanted to tell her, “I love you” every time she needed it. There are poems that talk about fears. The world becomes a more beautiful place; but, also a more terrible place when you love someone that much. She is in this world that is constantly terrible and dangerous. But in a world, that, because of her is more beautiful. My daughter is five years old now. She is about to start learning how to read. 

Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you think I should have asked you? If so, go ahead and answer that question.

The book is in Dos Madres Press which is a printing house in Cincinnati. My other book is with Artepoetica Press. If you google my name or go to my website, the books will show up.