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Tato Laviera (b.1951), one of the most influential and enduring voices in Puerto Rican poetry in the U.S., gave a rousing performance on the final evening of the Latinos 2000 conference. We were fortunate enough to have videotaped that performance and now offer it as part of our first issue of Encrucijada/Crossroads.
Tato Laviera's poetry and plays traverse the cultural and linguistic borders that separate Spanish and English. As one of the key figures in the development of the Nuyorican sensibility in literature, Tato's poetry encodes the history of the Puerto Rican Diaspora as a way to remain culturally mobile between the island and the mainland. His work documents the lives of those who have arduously carved a Caribbean space out of the concrete urban jungle. The Afro-Caribbean rhythms that pulsate in his poems fuse Spanish, English, and Spanglish together in an intoxicating articulation of transnational and transcultural identity.
Published works include:
La Carreta Made a U-Turn. Houston: Arte Público Press, 1979.
AmeRícan. Houston: Arte Público Press, 1985.
Enclave. Houston: Arte Público Press, 1985.
Mainstream Ethics-Etica Corriente. Houston: Arte Público Press, 1988.