In "U.S. Latino/a Social Movements: Poetics and Politics" we explore the centrality of poetry and poetics (broadly defined) to the Chicano/a and Puerto Rican Movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and we consider the import and legacy of these movements in our present day. Jesús Papoleto Meléndez's Hey Yo! Yo Soy! 40 Years of Nuyorican Street Poetry, A Bilingual Edition, which collects his foundational early poetry alongside new work, is stunning in its poignancy and insight; it is a powerful document of personal and social evolution, survival, and transformation, and a key text for the ongoing mapping of a U.S. Latino/a literary and political imagination.

--Prof. Tomas Noel (ENGL-UA 964.001 U.S. Latino/a Social Movements: Poetics and Politics)


Jesús Papoleto Meléndez is a New York-born Puerto Rican poet, playwright, teacher, and activist, and one of founders of the Nuyorican Movement. In the 1970s, Meléndez began his 30-year career as a poet-facilitator in the public schools, working at workshop programs in California and New York. In 1974, his play The Junkies Stole The Clock was the first Latino play produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival, The Public Theatre’s Nuyorican Playwright’s Unit. His latest publication, ¡Hey Yo / Yo Soy! 40 Years of Nuyorican Street Poetry, A Bilingual Edition (2Leaf Press, 2012), collects three previously published books: Casting Long Shadows (1970), Have You Seen Liberation (1971), and Street Poetry & Other Poems (1972). Over the years, he has performed his poetry with his musical group Exiled Genius, and in 1997 he formed the Nuyorican School – Original Poetry Jazz Ensemble with Américo Casiano. Meléndez is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2001 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, and he was recently named the recipient of the Pregones Theater's Master Artist Award for the 2013-14 season. His work has appeared in numerous anthologies, most recently The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature (2011).