Inside the Writer’s Head: Black History Month and Love

Written by Manuel Iris, Writer-in-Residence, Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library

Our 2023 Writer-in-Residence, Manuel Iris, is a poet, essayist, and teacher. Attend his upcoming workshops and writers' office hours. And, listen to him as host of CHPL's "Inside the Writer's Head" podcast.

Is identity a cage or freedom? How do authors write for enlightenment and hope in the midst of despair? Is it possible to be a black artist today without being an activist? What is love’s power in poetry?

In my inaugural episode of this season of “Inside the Writer’s Head,” I chose to interview two brilliant guests to have a conversation about Black history and love. Listen in to my conversation with MoPoetry Phillips and Yalie Saweda Kamara.

Guests on This Episode

MoPoetry Phillips is a national spoken word artist who cofounded of Regal Rhythms Poetry LLC, ands founded Hit the Mic Cincy. She is the author of “Equals Greatness, opens a new window,” is a member of the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition, on the Juneteenth Committee, serves on the Board for Kids4Peace, and is currently serving under the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of Women Writing for (a) Change. Find the latest about MoPoetry Phillips at

Yalie Saweda Kamara is a Sierra Leonean-American writer, educator, and researcher from Oakland, California and the 2022-2023 Cincinnati and Mercantile Library Poet Laureate. She is editor of the forthcoming anthology, “What You Need to Know About Me: Youth Writers on Their Experiences of Migration” (The Hawkins Project, 2022) and author of “A Brief Biography of My Name” and “When The Living Sing.” Learn more at Yalie Saweda Kamara's website,, opens a new window.

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