José Angel Figueroa

2002 EP. NO. 3
JOSE ANGEL FIGUEROA, born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, came to the U.S. Mainland at a young age and settled with his family in New York City. He attended Morris High School in the Bronx, received a B.A. in English Literature from New York University and a Writing Fellowship and M.A. from SUNY at Buffalo.

His college and university teaching has included Puerto Rican Literature and History, and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, SUNY, Buffalo, Yale University, and Boricua College; poetics, and creative writing at Teachers College, C.U., Lehman College/CUNY, and Pratt Institute; and Puerto Rican/Latino and Afro-American Studies related to multicultural diversity management and leadership training at Trinity College and the University of Hartford in CT. Figueroa’s work as a children’s literature specialist and educational consultant with Teachers and Writers Collaborative (NY) and statewide boards of education has resulted in the editing and publishing of over fifty volumes of children’s poetry and stories for New York State Poets in the Schools projects since 1966. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Boricua College in New York City, where he also resides.

Figueroa has been credited as being a major contributor to the PR/Latino literary experience in the Harvard Educational Review (Vol. 68, 1999), Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America by Juan Gonzalez (Viking Books, 2000), and The Hispanic Condition: Reflections on Culture & Identity in America by Ilan Stavans (HarperCollins Publishers, 1995). His poetry and literary works have appeared in numerous anthologies, including Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (Three Rivers Press, 2001; eds. Tony Medina and Louis Reyes Rivera), Papiros De Babel: Antologia de la poesia puertorriquena en Nueva York (EDUPR, 1991; ed. Pedro Lopez-Adorno), Puerto Rican Writers at Home in the USA (Open Hand Publishing, 1991, ed. Faythe Turner); The Rican Journal (Chicago: IL, 1972); From the Belly of the Shark (ed. Walter Lowenfels, NY: Random House, 1973); Latin American Voices (Univ. of Tulsa, 1973); For Neruda, For Chile (ed. Walter Lowenfels, NY: Beacon Press, 1975); In Touch; In Common (NY: HBJ, Inc. 1975); Puerto Ricaner in New York (Germany: Nurnberg U., 1978); Nuyorican Poetry: An Anthology of Puerto Rican Words and Feelings (eds. Miguel Algarin & Miguel Piniero, NY: William Morrow Co., 1975); Revista Chicano-Riquena (Tx: U. of Houston, 1979); Herejes y Mitificadores: Poesia Puertorriquena en USA eds. Efrain Barradas and Rafael Rodriguez, PR: Edicion Huracan, 1980); Voices From The Belly (ed. Sandra Maria Esteves, NY: African Caribbean Poetry Theater, 1981); YALA Journal I, II, III (ed. Jose Angel Figueroa, NY: NYC Board of Ed., 1985-87); and the CD, “Nuyorican Symphony: Poetry Live at the Knitting Factory” (NYC, 1992; exec. Producer Michael Dorf).

He has also produced and directed many poetry series and theater performances, including “The Grassroots Poets Series” that promote well-known and emerging voices, and his own lays, “Transnightification” and jazz opera, “King of the Crabs” (with music by Bobby Sanabria), which were performed at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater, Miriam Colon’s Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, Max Ferrer’s Intar Hispanic American Theater, and Town Hall. His poetry collections include East 110th Street (Broadside Press, 1973), and Noo Jork (Instituto de Cultural Puertorriquena, 1981). His poetry collection, Hypocrisy Held Hostage is forthcoming.

Figueroa has earned an international reputation as a performer for almost two decades through his plays and musical collaborations; as editor of numerous books and journals, and most importantly, his role as a teacher, not only on the collegiate level, but in workshops as well. However, he is perhaps best known for his poetry . . . a diverse body of work that includes searing social commentary that tackles cultural, gender, economic and political issues that are written in an uncompromising manner, as well as the occasional bittersweet personal pieces that talks about family, life and love.

Last updated 2009.

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