Country: United States
Along with William Carlos Williams, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, and Victor Cruz, Joe English is a proud son of Paterson, New Jersey (with one "t.") He came of age in Mexico City, Mexico. He worked as a ranch hand at the Wild Horn Ranch in Florissant, Colorado. He has a B. A. cum laude from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and an M. A. from Rice University in Houston, Texas. English is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He has lived for 47 years in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s west side. When Austin resegregated from 100% Caucasian to 95+% African-American in 1970-71, English was one of a handful of residents who cast down their buckets with their new neighbors. As a minority in a majority minority community, he has a unique perspective on the state of urban America. English was featured in a 60 Minutes broadcast as a first hand witness to neighborhood resegregation in Chicago. He was a professor at Triton College in River Grove, Illinois, for sixteen years. He founded Oak Park Real Estate in 1984, which provided decent, safe, and affordable housing, primarily in the Austin neighborhood. At its peak, Oak Park Real Estate managed 900 residential apartments. He still maintains a residence in Austin but now spends much of his time in Sosua, Dominican Republic, founded by Jewish refugees in the late 1930’s. “I live in two soulful places,” English says. "I am doubly blessed.” English’s writings have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Reader and Co-Existence, the literary journal which featured the works of Henry Miller. His most recent publication, the short story Mrs. Padgett's Pearls, was selected by Zimbell House Publishing for the anthology After Effects.