Exploring the Latino Metropolis: A Brief Urban Cultural History of US Latinos

Nuyorican Poetry

Poetry has always been significant in New York City, but the fusion of the latino identity with it created something only that this city could lay claim to. During the 60’s poetry, written and verbal, saw a rise in popularity and began incorporating themes of politics, race, identity, struggle, and so forth. These themes resonated with the Hispanic, mostly Puerto Rican, sector of the city as they faced many of the things discussed in them as they battled “ethnic/racial and institutional invisibility” in the city (Noel). This gave rise to Nuyorican Poetry, a style all its own; “documenting the reality of [Puerto Rican] communities” and would eventually come to include broader ideas such as “gentrification of the barrio, and the national and global marketing of identity” (Noel).

With the progression of Nuyorican Poetry, there came a need to find a space for all the artists. In 1973, writer and poet Miguel Algarin began offering his living room salon as a place of congregation for all of them, but as “there were too many artists to fit in Algarin’s lining room” they would need to move only a few years. (History) In order to accommodate so many people, they rented a bar “which was christened The Nuyorican Poets Café" (History). Though called Nuyorican, the café caters to a variety of underrepresented artists though it is still at the “core of a variety of Puerto Rican poetics”(Noel, xiii). The connection between Nuyorican poetry and the city it is partially named after is undeniable and shows the way the city has shaped part of the Latino identity.
“It seems clear that Nuyorican poetry is inseparable from the city, from the distinctly cosmopolitan space and diasporic histories of New York”(Noel 165).

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