This spring’s Youth Programs intern, Charity E. Yoro, an MFA candidate at Portland State University graduating this June, spoke with us about her experience assisting with #Virtualandia! 2021 programming, her favorite moments working with Literary Arts, and what she’s looking forward to post-MFA.
How did you find out about the internship at Literary Arts?
Through our department’s listserv at PSU. I thought it was the perfect opportunity at the perfect time for me!
What interested you about the internship?
As a former teaching artist, I had heard about Verselandia previously and Literary Arts’ other youth programming, like WITS; I was drawn to help out in some way with #Virtualandia. Also, I had just left my full-time job in marketing to finish out my last term at PSU and focus on my writing. So the opportunity felt like a good fit.
Which projects have you worked on with Youth Programs?
Mostly, I helped with editorial and administrative duties, including writing blog posts about #Virtualandia, assisting with various email communications, coordinating with students, being on hand to help with pre-production remotely, assembling thank you gifts at the office, and now, helping to consolidate post-event data.
What’s been your favorite moment at the Literary Arts events you’ve taken part in?
The actual #Virtualandia grand slam event was so well done! I felt very proud of the team, and proud that I, in some small way, could say that I helped to produce the event. To see how much the student poets enjoyed themselves was really beautiful. And the graciousness and excitement they all had after the event brought tears to my eyes!
Also, having the the opportunity to assist with author visits (both Joy Harjo and Ross Gay), as well as observe WITS classes remotely, and sit in on a few WITS workshops… was all very cool and memorable for me!
How did your previous experience in work or school inform your interest in or lay the foundation for this role?
I have a pretty generalist background in marketing, writing, and teaching/facilitating, so assisting in an administrative and operations capacity felt very natural to me. I think having a collaborative, can-do attitude helped! And the team was so great to work with; it made it all very easeful!
What did doing a remote internship look like for you? What was your “home office” like — highlights and challenges?
I had been working remotely previously, even before COVID, so my office was pretty much set up at home. I am very lucky to have that. I will recall both a highlight and challenge of the remote internship though: at my first Zoom meeting with the team. I had taken my daughter to the coast for a special trip, just the two of us, and as luck would have it, I encountered the trifecta of worst case scenarios. Teething toddler, forgotten soothie, AND spotty internet reception. I just had to laugh at it all! I think we recovered well after that first meeting though haha.
What’s something that surprised you or was unexpected in your work with us?
I am amazed by the quality of programming Literary Arts consistently puts on for the community. It really is phenomenal! And all the more impressive from the backend of things, too. I look forward to engaging more post-internship!
How would you describe the experience overall?
To use Ross Gay’s word, a delight! It was exactly what I needed in this particular season of my life.
What’s coming up next/what are you looking forward to in your creative/professional life?
Well, I’m excited to graduate with my MFA in June! It’s been a journey for me… but that’s a whole other story. Also, coincidentally, on the same day I completed my thesis defense, I received an offer to join the editorial operations team at a literary organization I really love… so I’ll be starting that job later this summer. So many wonderful things to look forward to!
Born and raised on the east side of Oʻahu, Charity currently resides on the traditional territory of the Atfalati, Clatskanie, and Kalapuya (Hillsboro, OR) with her partner, daughter, and feisty feline guide named Rumi. Charity’s work can be found in Frontier Poetry, PRISM international, Ruminate Magazine, Fourteen Hills, New York Times’ Modern Love, and others. She is the co-host of the HerMana podcast and editor of the podcast’s forthcoming anthology. Connect with her at www.charityeyoro.com