LOWELLVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) — A renowned poet spoke Saturday in Lowellville as part of Lit Youngstown’s Writer-in-Residence series.

The Hispanic community came together for a day of writing workshops and discussion at the Community Literacy Workforce and Cultural Center in Lowellville.

Various Hispanic restaurants donated food for the event. There was also live music and writer workshops.

Cincinnati poet Manuel Iris held multiple youth writer workshops on Friday and Saturday and spoke to dozens of elementary-school kids the day before.

He said encouraging young people to communicate well and be creative is important to him.

“They will be adults one day, and they will be making decisions, and if we help them right now, and we nurture them with love for others, hopefully, we will have a more loving society,” said Iris.

Manuel said, to him, the event is more than just poetry — it’s about bringing the community together after two years of isolation and separation.

“Poetry could help us also heal from everything that has happened. There has been in the world, and it’s still there, a lot of dismembering of communities. There is so much hate. There is so much misunderstanding. There is so much fear, and poetry is exactly the opposite,” said Iris.

He also held a workshop on writing and translating different languages.

Lit Youngstown coordinator Cassandra Lawton stressed the importance of bringing different cultures together through art.

“There are so many really wonderful community members, writers, people who just love literature here, and we just want to offer this space for them and for everyone coming together to celebrate it,” said Lawton.

Lit Youngstown plans to hold multiple other Writer-in-Residence events throughout the summer made possible by funding through the Ohio Arts Council and a Robb Briggs and Alyssa Lenhoff-Briggs grant.