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The Nuyorican Poets Café kicked off a movement. Intentional or not, poetry fans across the world know the name of the little building known as the Nuyorican Poets Café. The Nuyorican is also synonymous with slam poetry, a genre of literature and competitive performance style, thanks to its Friday night open slams that draws people from everywhere to its space. Most importantly they have been touched and inspired by what goes down in the famous brick edifice that sits on East 3rd in New York City’s Lower East Side. In honor of the Nuyoricans four and a half decades of existence here are some of the essentials.

 

It was a place for outcasts

The original poet’s salon (think old school European drawing room meetings and 60s beatnicks) was held in co-founder Miguel Algaríns’ East Village apartment. What started as a meet up for Puerto Rican writers and artists became an opportunity for collaborators to share their work that couldn’t find a home in traditional artistic spaces. Co-founder Miguel Piñero, a playwright and actor and former con, shared his work here and his play “Short Eyes” made it to Broadway, catapulting Piñero to fame. His life was even made into the movie, Piñero.

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