Poetry as Pedagogy: Nuyorican Poetry

When: Saturday, April 13, 2024, 12:00pm

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A man, poet Miguel Algarín, smiles and holds up a book under a sign that reads, 'The Nuyorican Poets Cafe.'
Portrait of poet Miguel Algarín in front of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, New York, NY, 1994. (Photo by Chris Felver/Getty Images)

Join us for an immersive experience exploring the power of poetry to connect us with history and ourselves. 

Geared towards educators and open to all, participants will come away with a strong understanding of the links between the Nuyorican Poetry Movement and NYC-based activism for Puerto Rican rights, including the work of the Young Lords. Participants will have an opportunity to craft their own short poems and will come away with tools for poetry pedagogy to use in the classroom.

This workshop will reflect upon the connections between political action and poetry in New York City by looking closely at the tradition of Nuyorican poetry. We will begin with the intersection between the Young Lords’ activism for Puerto Rican rights and the start of the Nuyorican Poetry Movement, with Pedro Pietri’s “Puerto Rican Obituary” representing an important site of this convergence. We will examine how the ethos and poetics of Nuyorican art, including the work of Manny Vega, currently on view at the Museum, have allowed for specific forms of political activity, including the enunciation of Puerto Rican positionality in New York City from the 1960s to today. We will close-read poetry by Pietri, Miguel Algarín, and Sandra María Esteves, as well as contemporary poets like Joey de Jesus.

Potential Curriculum Connections:

  • The Role of Art in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Latinx culture
  • History of Puerto Rico and New York City
  • ELA writing, close-reading, and analysis skills

All are welcome! While this workshop series is geared toward educators of grades 6-12, it is open to all - educators and non-educators. Attendance at all three workshops is not required. Everyone is welcome to participate in any individual session. 

2.5 CTLE hours for eligible participants. CTLE forms will be available at the workshop.

About the Young Lords: A revolutionary civil rights activist group, the Young Lords was formed in East Harlem in the late 1960s by a group of young Puerto Rican New Yorkers. The Young Lords maintained close ties with the Black Panthers and advocated for winning rights and freedoms for Puerto Rican communities by any means necessary, as well as national independence for Puerto Rico. 

About Pedro Pietri: Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Nuyorican poet Pedro Pietri (1944-2004) grew up in Manhattan and became part of the Young Lords after serving in the Vietnam War. In the early 1970s, he co-founded the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on the Lower East Side, along with Miguel Algarín and Miguel Piñero. His books include the poetry collection Puerto Rican Obituary (1973), Invisible Poetry (1979), and Illusions of a Revolving Door: Plays (1992).

About the Facilitator:

Sylvia Gorelick (she/they) is a poet, translator, and PhD candidate at NYU. Sylvia has been an active participant in New York poetry worlds for over 15 years. Her research focuses on revolutionary feminisms in a transnational context and includes a focus on poetry of the city.


Education programs in conjunction with Activist New York are made possible by The Puffin Foundation, Ltd.

The Frederick A.O. Schwarz Education Center is endowed by grants from The Thompson Family Foundation Fund, the F.A.O. Schwarz Family Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Endowment, and other generous donors.

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