Andres Castro, Mentor

Andres Castro Poetry Pic 1Andrés Castro was born in Brooklyn, grew up in the South Bronx, and has lived with his wife in Kew Gardens, Queens since 1981. Their son, daughter, and son in-law are teachers and school officials in the U.S. and U.K.

A longstanding PEN member, listed in the Directory of Poets and Writers, Andrés is an advocate for progressive humanistic education and has been an educator for over 35 years. He earned a Psychology BA followed by an English BA from Queens College (CUNY); a Creative Writing MFA from Brooklyn College (CUNY); and a Post-MFA Certificate in Creative Writing Pedagogy from Antioch University. Regarding a life’s work, he has taken the road less traveled. Loving tennis, he began teaching as an assistant pro in 1977; after USPTA certification, he held head pro positions at well-known Manhattan indoor clubs and two Queens park locations up until a back-injury sidelined him in 1998. To be brief: a short list of valued employments include working as a lumber yard hired hand, boiler company driver, rehabilitation counselor, college academic advisor, NYC Dept. of Ed. Teaching Fellow, Girls and Boys Project workshop facilitator, and Metropolitan Museum of Art Special Security Officer. He also found traveling the country as an interviewer on the U.S. Dept. of Ed. funded Even Start Classroom Literacy Intervention & Outcome Study enlightening. Still passionate about tennis, he occasionally coaches and plans to return to competition by playing in USPTA (55 and over) tournament events; however, the latest and greatly appreciated turn in his particular path has led him to teaching creative writing—especially poetry.

Andrés fell in love with poetry in his late thirties, crediting an extraordinary string of mentors for bringing him along. After getting hooked by John Tytell, Marie Ponsot, and Kimiko Hahn as an undergraduate, he completed his MFA studies with L.S. Asekoff and was one of Allen Ginsberg’s final four tutorial/thesis students. A highlight of Andrés’ Post-MFA residences was a chance one-hour conversation with the highly respected Mexican American poet and teacher, Alma Luz Villanueva, as they sat beneath a tree on a sunny day; he considers what she warmly shared about authentically being with and listening to students a blessing confirmation. Now, grateful for his new relationship with The Creative Writing Club, he looks forward to all good things.