José Angel Figueroa

Photo: I Morales
Photo: I Morales

Poet, actor, literary editor, and educator: José Angel Figueroa has dedicated  his work to recounting and bringing awareness to the Latino experience in the United States.


Figueroa is best known for poetry that reflects searing social commentary and is one of the poets associated with the early years of the Neorican literary movement and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Whether narrating about the conditions that force people to leave their home countries or the battles to adjust to life in the U.S., Figueroa captures the hardships and triumphs of the journey and poses broader questions about the human condition and the state of the world.


A master of poetic imagery, storytelling and metaphor, Figueroa's writings document a contemporary history and rapidly changing reality of the Puerto Rican and Latino Diasporas in the Americas. His books include Heartbeats, Rhythms, And Fire, Un Espejo En Mi Propio Bastidor (Spanish), A Mirror In My Own Backstage, Hypocrisy Held Hostage, Noo Jork, and East 110th Street, and his writings have been widely published in anthologies, literary journals and magazines in the US, Latin America, Puerto Rico, Europe and the Internet.


Figueroa is also known for his work in the theater. In 2012, he co-produced, wrote, and directed A Tribute to the Life and Times and Work of Piri Thomas, a multi-arts presentation at Hostos Community College. His play Transnightification was directed by Raul Julia at the Joseph Papp Public Theater and his jazz opera, King of the Crabs, was performed at Intar Hispanic American Theater. He also produced and directed The Grassroots Poets Series at Miriam Colon’s Puerto Rican Traveling Theater.


A lifelong educator, Figueroa has taught students of all ages in public schools, colleges and universities, community venues and prisons. His work as a children’s literature specialist and language arts consultant with public schools resulted in the editing and publishing of more than 66 volumes of original children’s and youth writings.


Figueroa was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico and migrated to New York City with his family at a young age. He studied English Literature at New York University and earned a Writing Fellowship and M.A. from SUNY at Buffalo. Presently, Figueroa is a Professor at Boricua College in New York City. The Instituto de Puerto Rico in New York honored Figueroa with its distinguished award for his achievements as a poet and educator In 2014.


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