Poet Laureate, Madison, WI

As a poet

Oscar Mireles is a published poet and editor. Mireles’ poetry has been published in over 50 different publications. Oscar has been writing poetry for the past 35 years.
Mireles is the editor of three anthologies titled ‘I Didn’t Know There Were Latinos in Wisconsin: 20 Hispanic Poets’ (Focus Communications, 1989) and ‘I Didn’t Know There Were Latinos in Wisconsin: 30 Hispanic Writers’ (Focus Communications, 1999). I Didn’t Know There Were Latinos in Wisconsin: 3 Decades of Hispanic Writing (Cowfeather Press, 2014) He also produced a chapbook titled ‘Second Generation’ (Focus Communications, 1985).

Reviewer Tim Forkes writes ” the compilation stands as not only as a picture of Wisconsin’s Hispanic community… but also the latest of Mireles’ many contributions to society as a whole… he was the fire in the oven”

Oscar Mireles has received grants for his writing activities from the Wisconsin Arts Board, Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission, Wisconsin Humanities Committee, Wisconsin 150th Sesquicentennial Commission, Madison Civic Center Foundation and Wisconsin Center for the Book. He received a fellowship to spend a month at the Vermont Studio Center, an artist colony.

Mr. Mireles was selected as the 6th Poet Laureate of the City of Madison for the years 2016-17.

Published work includes:

  • Gathering Place of the Waters: 30 Milwaukee Poets
  • Revista Chicano-Riquena ‘Hispanic Literature in Wisconsin’
  • Visions and Voices against Apartheid
  • Viatzlan, A journal of Arts and Letters
  • Dreams and Secrets, Woodland Pattern
  • Echolocations, Cowfeather Press
  • Telling Tongues Anthology
  • Colorlines Magazine
  • Capital City Hues
  • Madison Times
  • Madison365.com

As an educator

Oscar Mireles has been the Executive Director of Omega School for the past 22 years. Omega School provides adult basic education services (GED Preparation) in Dane County.

During his tenure, Mr. Mireles has assisted over 3000 young adults with securing a GED/HSED credential. The GED/HSED credential serves as an access point for entry level employment and/or post-secondary education. Mr. Mireles helped establish an endowment for the school and raised funds to purchasing a building and permanent home for Omega School.

Mireles has been a National Trainer for the Time Warner’s Time to Read Program, the nation’s largest corporate based literacy program. For the past 17 years, he has trained over 1,500 corporate and volunteer tutors in Time to Read sites in New York, Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, Columbus and Minneapolis.

He was employed for 10 years in various positions at Centro de la Comunidad Unida/United Community Center (UCC) in Milwaukee, before being promoted to Associate Executive Director.


15 Most Influential Leaders in Dane County

by InBusiness Magazine 2016

Outstanding Educator Award

100 Black Men of Madison 2016

Impact Award

by The Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals 2014

Joyce Erdman Youth Service Award

by Capital Times Kids Fund 2013

Educational Leadership

by The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute 2013

Outstanding Service Award

by Dane County Juvenile Court 2013

Roberto G. Sanchez Educational Leadership Award

by Centro Hispano of Dane County 2012

Friend of Education Award

by Wisconsin State Superintendent Tony Evers 2012

Literacy Advocate of the Year

by Wisconsin Literacy 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recognition Award

by Dane County, Wisconsin 2009

Citizen of the Year-Distinguished Service Award

by Madison Metropolitan School District 2009

10 Who Make a Difference

by Wisconsin State Journal in 2001

89 Most Interesting People in 1989

by Milwaukee Magazine

Wisconsin Hispanic Man of the Year

by the United Migrant Opportunity Service (UMOS) 1989

Future Milwaukee Alumni Community Service Award

by Future Milwaukee 1987

I Didn’t Know There Were Latinos in Wisconsin: Three Decades of Hispanic Writing

Twenty-five years ago Oscar Mireles published the anthology, I Didn’t Know There Were Latinos in Wisconsin: 20 Hispanic Poets. This third volume in the series includes the work of more than thirty authors of poetry, essay, memoir, and fiction and demonstrates once again the breadth and depth of Wisconsin’s Latino/a population. Not strangers, not new arrivals, these authors represent an important part of the region’s cultural and social fabric.

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