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Bronx Rising! Poesía Negroide: Rhythmic Poetry of Puerto Rico

November 10, 2018 @ 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

| $10

Bronx Rising! Poesía Negroide: Rhythmic Poetry of Puerto Rico

Explore ‘poesía negroide’ through poetry and music that reflects on and celebrates the African heritage of the Caribbean.

Our event will open with a screening of the film, ‘AmeRican Poet: Tato Laveira,’ produced by the Media Unit at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, followed by a Q&A with the film’s producer, Vivian Hernández Ortiz. Tato Laviera, one of the major writers in the Nuyorican tradition, was heavily influenced by the poesía negroide tradition.

Following the film, we’ll enjoy a set of the rhythmic poetry of Puerto Rico made famous by such poets a Luis Palés Matos. Poetry will be recited by declamador Sery Colón with music by Jorge Vázquez, José Rivera, Matthew Gonzalez, Nelson Seda, and Michael Molina.

We are located steps from the 2/5 train at Freeman Street. Parking accessible.

Admission: $7 suggested donation to support the BMHC

In partnership with Teatro SEA’s Borimix: Puerto Rico Fest 2018 and the Center for Puerto Rican Studies-Centro at Hunter College. Co-sponsor City Lore.

We are located steps from the 2/5 train at Freeman Street. Parking accessible.

Luis Palés Matos (1898-1959) was born in Guayama, Puerto Rico and is one of the island’s most celebrated poets. He is most remembered as one of the first and major proponents of verso negro or poesía negroide in the Caribbean. Palés Matos first poema negro, called “Africa,” was published in 1925 (it later appeared entitled, “Pueblo Negro”) and his book, Tun Tun de Pasa y Grifería, was published in 1937. The verso negro poetry of Palés Matos reflects the African roots of Puerto Rico’s culture.

Though set to paper, the poetry itself was performance-oriented and integrated African words, a rhythmic structure evoking a drumbeat, and commented upon topics of daily life in the Black community. While the poetry of Palés Matos (and other verso negro proponents) was to celebrate Black culture and African heritage of the Caribbean, his other objective was to present, through language, the Afro-Antillean identity of the culture of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands as distinct from that of Spain.

Other major poets and prominent figures of poesía negroide include Nicolás Guillén of Cuba and Fortunato Vizcarrando of Puerto Rico, whose 1942 poem, “¿Y tú agüela, a’onde ejtá?” commented on the racial dynamics of Puerto Rican culture. Declamadores also helped to make this poetry poplar by reciting the poetry at live shows and on the radio. Two of the most famous were Eusebia Cosme, a Cuban declamadora and Juan Boría of Puerto Rico, who helped popularize the works of Palés Matos throughout Puerto Rico.


November 10, 2018
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM


Bronx Music Heritage Center


Bronx Music Heritage Center
1303 Louis Nine Blvd
Bronx, NY 10459 United States
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