Meet Angel Hogan
Where are you from? Where do you currently live?
I grew up on a farm in rural Pennsylvania. In addition to 30 or so award-winner Quarter horses, through the years my family raised and loved dozens of chickens, and 14 barn cats. Also goats, dogs, rabbits and pet rats. I now happily call West Philadelphia my home.
Tell us a little about your family.
My current family includes my Mom, who lives in Merida, the capital of Yucatan. I have two much beloved older brothers; one lives with his family outside the city, and the other is incarcerated. I am incredibly blessed to have an extended chosen family of close friends. My tribe also includes a cat named Mamacita and dog called Busker Xunan-Coal Hogan, MC.
Tell us a bit about your work or educational experiences so far.
After graduating from college, I worked as a waitress and bartender, then moved into hotel restaurant management. Both jobs allowed great opportunity to test my mettle and grow. From restaurant jobs I moved into university administration and worked at Penn for several years, followed by my current position as a department manager at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business.
Throughout all of my “day jobs,” I remained active in the arts community. I was teaching artist for ArtWell and Mighty Writers; I acted as a peer review panelist for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. I was a competitive storyteller, contested in the Literary Death Match, was a featured reader at the Black Women’s Arts Festival and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, among others. This year, I completed my first film, a documentary called “By Law, By Love”which explores racial identity and genetic testing. Currently I serve on the board of two local non-profits: 5 Shorts Project and The Head & The Hand. I am also a contributing editor and writer for Philadelphia’s newest literary mag, Root Quarterly.
What is something surprising about you?
Although I am a bit of a foodie, I also furtively enjoy junk like Mountain Dew and Cool Ranch Doritos.
What influenced you to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at Drexel?
I would like to grow a stronger art for social change practice in my body of work. I’d also like to better define my community, and my relationship to that audience. A Drexel MFA represents an ideal progression in my artistic and career growth, with a university I highly value. I will not only benefit from the tools and training of the program, but plan to be a vibrant contributor to workshops, sharing knowledge and skills with my cohort. The Drexel MFA program is perfectly aligned with my experience, abilities, and my desire to once again be a part of an academic writing community.
Civic engagement is a key part of this program; what does civic engagement mean to you?
I truly believe in the magic and power of words. I live the truth that art and stories serve as a vehicle for positive change and community building. Storytelling allows us to say the difficult things, to look life in the face and see our own strange, loving eyes looking back. I believe this particular brand of empathy is especially urgent now, during a time when so many are divided afresh by current politics and horrors. I have been civically engaged my entire life, and have no plans to stop.
What sparked your passion for creative writing?
I’ve loved reading and writing since I was very small. Books, poems and writing are my safe-harbor, my church. It wasn’t a choice; words chose me.
Do you have any advice for someone thinking about pursuing creative writing?
I’ll share a favorite quote (poem) that guides my life:
Don't you hear this hammer ring?
I'm gonna split this rock
And split it wide!
When I split this rock,
Stand by my side.