A multicultural and multi-arts institution, the Cafe gives voice to a diverse group of rising poets, actors, filmmakers and musicians. The Cafe champions the use of poetry, jazz, theater, hip-hop and spoken word as means of social empowerment for minority and underprivileged artists. By , the overflow of audience and artists led the Cafe to purchase a former tenement building at East 3rd Street, and to expand its activities and programs from the original space on East 6th Street. Our programming includes poetry slams, open mics, Latin Jazz and Hip-Hop concerts, theatrical performances, educational programs, and visual art exhibits. Our weekly poetry slams draw thousands of spectators each year and have popularized competitive performance poetry. Our educational programs which are funded in part by the city and state of New York and the NEA provide literacy and public speaking to thousands of students and many school groups each year.

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We have, at the end of the millennium, brought it to life and televised it to the masses. The driving force has been to rekindle the word and the meaning of words. The term Nuyorican meant a New York Peurto Rican and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe was a gathering of this group to discuss their place in the poetry world and to share new poems.

They were trying to figure out how to be heard and how to give the Nuyorican population a voice that could ring out above the noise of the city.

Miguel was suprised at how quickly his apartment filled up and how little space he now found within the confines of his living area. They rented the space for awhile until the group had saved up enough money to buy the building and started "The Nuyorican Poets Cafe" a non-profit threatre space for the performances of shows, poetry slams, and the awareness of the Nuyorican presence in the world of New York poetry.

The aim is to dissolve the social, cultural, and political boundaries that generalize the human experience and make it meaningless It is clear that we now are entering a new era, where the dialogue is multi-ethnic and necessitates a larger field of verbal action to explain the cultural and political reality of North America.

We had started the bottle at dusk and now had found ourselves deep into the early morning of the next day. My companion on this journey was Erika. She had just moved into my apartment and we had curled up in blankets on the living room floor with a bottle of booze and the book "Aloud: Voices From the Nuyorican Poets Cafe" to read the poems aloud to each other all night. We both dreamed of poems and reading our poetry and becoming a part of a greater poetic community.

Our marriage and the birth of our three children put a small damper on our dreams but today we are going strong. We have started our collections again and plan on taking part in local poetry readings offered downtown Reno Nevada. This time we will bring our children and show them the joy of a well read poem. On a much smaller scale, we have a desire, much like Miguel Algarin, to take our poetry to the community anyway we can.

There is a dedicated "Slam" room that is open to whomever walks in to read. The only difficulty with reading at the cafe is that the "Slam Room" hours start around midnight and go until the morning. To see listings of old or upcoming performances one can stop by their website. It is at the heart of the matter to move their work from the Cafe into other communities of the city in order to break racial patterns that tend to isolate these communities into ethnic pockets that are enclosed and without intercommunication Thus the artist becomes the catalyst through which social change is made.

I finally have found the bravery to step forward and be a part of a greater community of poets with an inspiration from the Nuyorican Poets. Granted I am only operating in the small community of Reno Nevada but one day, maybe if I try hard enough, I can be heard in a greater geographical area. What is my message? Do not abandon the self, retain the culture, return to thinking, stop the passive role of the observer, and take up the sport of life.


Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe



Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe


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