Meet award-winning poet Ángel García. Ángel began his journey as a student at Millikan High School. At Millikan, Ángel was a part of the Upward Bound program. He wasn’t ready for a four-year university, but he knew that he wanted to continue with his education, so he enrolled at Long Beach City College. As he began his career at LBCC, Ángel continued to participate in the Upward Bound program and found his passion in the many service opportunities that the College had to offer. He continued to tutor students in Upward Bound and as a part of Project Launch. He flourished as a member of Puente, the Latino-focused literature program. His work with Man to Man, a mentorship program started by Sociology professor Janét Hund, also had a profound effect on him. This program paired LBCC students with LBUSD middle school boys, providing male role models and mentorship opportunities. It was here that Ángel began to explore the stereotypes of “manhood” and their impact, a frequent subject of his poetry.
Ángel’s academic pursuits led him to the poetry workshops at LBCC. It was Frank Gaspar’s Poetry Workshop that began to shape his ideas about what he wanted to do. As he describes it, half of the class were typical students and the other half were older members of the community. These older voices are what caught his attention. “There was a different kind of poetry being shared, a different narrative that came from different times and places, and a lifetime of experience.” After that, he was hooked! Ángel finished his A.A. in Creative Writing at LBCC, a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Redlands, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside. He is currently working toward his Ph.D. in Creative Writing/English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His recently published collection of poems, “Teeth Never Sleep” won the 2018 CantoMundo Poetry Prize.
After leaving LBCC, Ángel has maintained relationships with many of his professors and advisors and continues to explore opportunities to engage with the College and its students. In October Ángel returned to the College to speak at the Visiting Writers Reading Series. In January he will be the Keynote Speaker for the Upward Bound Alumni Panel. He loves working with LBCC and helping students to discover their career paths. He sees LBCC as a community that helps guide students in ways that extend beyond their academic life. It is this community-focused approach that Ángel has taken in his own career, modeling his teaching style so that he can “help to guide students the same way that LBCC taught me.”