Poet and writer Miguel Algarín was born in Puerto Rico and raised in a culturally-minded household, before moving to Manhattan in the early 1950s. He earned degrees in literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Penn State University. In the early 1970s, he co-founded the Nuyorican Poets Café with Miguel Piñero, Pedro Pietri, and others, and continues to serve on its board of directors.
Algarín books include Love is Hard Work: Memorias de Loisaida (1997), Time’s Now/Ya Es Tiempo (1985), Body Bee Calling from the 21st Century (1982), and Mongo Affair: Poems (1978); and he translated Pablo Neruda’s Songs of Protest (1985). He has co-edited Action: The Nuyorican Poets Café Theater Festival (1997), Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café (1994), and Nuyorican Poetry: An Anthology of Puerto Rican Words and Feelings (1975).
Algarín has received four American Book Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009, becoming the first Latino to win the coveted honor. He was also given the Larry Leon Hamlin Producer's Award at the 2001 National Black Festival. He taught Shakespeare, creative writing, and U.S. ethnic literature for many years at Rutgers University, where he has retained the title of professor emeritus.
Algarín made an appearance in the film Piñero (2001), directed by Leon Ichaso, about the life of fellow Nuyorican founder Miguel Piñero.
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