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McManus named art museum’s writer-in-residence

Staff Report //March 19, 2018//

McManus named art museum’s writer-in-residence

Staff Report //March 19, 2018//

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The Columbia Museum of Art has named award-winning poet Ray McManus is inaugural writer-in-residence and will launch the program with a reading and discussion on April 8.

McManus will host four writers who have created original work in response to Renee Cox: Soul Culture and Seen & Unseen: Photographs by Imogen Cunningham. Julia Elliott, Monifa Lemons, Maya Marshall and Jillian Weise will share their points of view on the exhibitions at the free event.

McManus earned a master’s of fine arts in poetry and a doctorate in rhetoric and composition from the University of South Carolina and is an associate professor of English at the University of South Carolina Sumter. He teaches creative writing and Irish and Southern literature and is the director of the Center for Oral Narrative, housed in the Division of Arts and Letters.

McManus jointed the editorial board for the Palmetto Poetry Series in 2014 and is the founder of Split P Soup, a creative writing outreach program that places writers in state schools and communities.

“I’m excited to be working in this capacity with the CMA,” McManus said in a statement. “So much of my relationship with the museum was forged by the literary programs held here in the past. I’m looking forward to reshaping older programs and creating new ones.”

McManus’ first book, Driving Through the Country Before You Are Born, was published by USC Press in 2007. He has published three additional books: 2008’s Left Behind, 2011’s Red Dirt Jesus, selected by Alicia Ostriker for the Marick Press Poetry Prize, and 2014’s Punch, winner of the 2015 Independent Publishers Book Award. McManus recently co-edited an anthology with USC Press called Found Anew.

“Ray is a natural fit to lead this program. On top of being a wonderful writer, he is warm, accessible and has a great sense of humor,” said Joelle Ryan-Cook, the museum’s deputy director and director of external affairs. “Ray has been a friend to the CMA for 15 years, so he’s been there all along as we’ve grown more holistic in our approach to the arts.”