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by Angel Nieto Romero
Teacher and poet Angel Nieto Romero (Abu to his grandchildren) is a native of Cuenca, Spain, where he spent his childhood and later studied to be a teacher. As a young adult, he hitchhiked to France, England, and Germany and then settled in Madrid where he studied tourism and worked at Iberia Airlines.
He met and fell in love with Sonia Cortes, an exchange student from the United States and within several months, they were married in Madrid. They subsequently moved to New York City where he worked at the Spanish National Tourist Office and then at Berlitz School of Languages. He studied at Queens College and Brooklyn College, graduating with a degree in anthropology. Moving to Massachusetts in 1975, he held several part-time positions, including teaching Spanish at Hampshire College, Greenfield Community College, and the New England Language Institute before taking a full-time job as a bilingual teacher, and later Spanish teacher, in the Holyoke Public Schools, where he published several student poetry journals.
He has been a community activist in Holyoke and Hampshire County, and was a founder of what later became the Latino Scholarship Association, also serving on the board of several community organizations. While he retired from the Holyoke Public Schools to become a full-time caregiver for his granddaughter Jazmyne, he continued his community involvement by volunteering to teach poetry to youths and adults. A poet for many years, he has had five children’s books published by Scholastic, and numerous poems, in both Spanish and English, in other books by Scholastic and two textbooks by other publishing companies. He has also had several poems published in adult books, and he has been a translator of a number of books written in English. He continues to write poetry to celebrate his daughters and grandchildren, and his wife and friends. He has been happily married to Sonia for 44 years and they have two daughters and eleven grandchildren—From El Sol Latino, April 18, 2012