In the 1960s and 70s, a community of Latinx poets in New York City created a movement. They called themselves the Nuyorican poets. Together, they broke barriers and built a cultural institution: the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
The Nuyorican Poets Café began as an informal literary salon in Miguel Algarín’s apartment living room, one of the movement’s founding poets. But soon after, Miguel and his fellow writers realized that they needed to expand to accommodate the growing roster of artists who frequented the space. They moved into a new venue nearby, and by 1981 they relocated again to the Nuyorican’s current location in New York City’s Alphabet City.
Today, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe is a haven for Black and Latinx writers and performers. In this episode of Latino USA, we stage a spoken history of the cafe featuring several artists from its storied past. We hear from poets Poet Jesús “Papoleto” Meléndez and Caridad de la Luz, known as “La Bruja,” playwright Ishmael Reed, and artist and archivist Lois Elaine Griffith.
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