Alan Chazaro is a wordsmith. For almost a decade he's been an educator, spending the last couple of years teaching English at Oakland School for the Arts, but this coming year he’s jumping from behind the teacher’s desk and getting out into the world.
In September, Chazaro will publish his first poetry book, This Is Not a Frank Ocean Cover Album.
After reading it, I kept thinking about how he painted with words and phrases, using poetry to navigate the culture of machismo he was raised in.
I recently met up with Chazaro at Lucky Three Seven in East Oakland, and over some Filipino soul food, we talked about driving around 580, common experiences at block parties in West Oakland, growing up in an all-male household, and what boxing represents to him.
Most importantly, we discussed the power of painting pictures with words, and why that’s important right now.