What People Say

Almost every one of our Nuyorican Poetry Slam luminaries has had reams of press written about them. Their books, plays, performances, films, or TV shows have been reviewed and praised; they've been interviewed, honored and talked about a lot in media. The best way for you to see all the media attention given to these Slam Poets and Hosts is to go to their individual websites, which are linked to their bios on this site.

The idea of "Verbs on Asphalt" is to document Poetry Slam as it developed at the Nuyorican and there have been many articles written about this subject specifically. But journalists have also been interested in the relationship of Poetry Slam to earlier poetic and cultural histories, which broadens the subject quite a bit. And Poetry Slam, as a cultural phenomenon with national and international interest, has been continually covered in print and other media around the world.

A really exhaustive search for all Nuyorican Poetry Slam references would have to include the millions of words written about legendary Nuyorican poets (such as Algarin and Pinero); the plethora of text on the influence of the Beat Poets on late 20th Century American poetry, and the considerable work of "poetry activist" Bob Holman. It would have to include the profound influence that hiphop had on the form, as well as the impact that artists like The Last Poets and Gil Scott Heron were making on the scene. Powerful cultural seeds were planted long before Poetry Slam entered our consciousness and there's an entire (and separate) journalistic history that led to the "why" and "how" it came to its present popularity in the world. The Nuyorican became the place where these poetic repercussions converged; true to its mission as a New York City cultural institution, it brought the "freshest" voices to the world poetic stage through the Poetry Slam.

The articles here show a variety of perspectives on the people and ideas that created Nuyorican Poetry Slam, but they are only a small sampling of what's been written on the subject. This collection is not meant to be inclusive, but rather a cross-section of the print media attention that the Nuyorican Slam has managed to attract over the years. -CU

If you want to submit an article on Nuyorican Poetry Slam (past or present) or an article about someone on this site, please email with "article" in the subject line.


1. Various Publications

May 3,1993, New York Magazine
"The Beats Are Back: The Nuyorican Poets Cafe"
by Rebecca Mead
(Edwin Torres on the cover. Article not available online at this time)
April 1999, Poetry Calendar
The King of Friday Nights: keith roach, little intimacies and art at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe
By Dallas Galvin
Summer 1999, FYI Magazine/New York Foundation for the Arts
The Culture Of Slam: Creating Community
by keith roach

October 2000, MS Magazine
"Sarah Jones Can't Wait"
by Jennifer Block
Read in MS archive

January 2001, MS Magazine
"Dairy of a Slam Poet"
by Alix Olsen
Read in MS archive
September/October 2002, Utne Reader Magazine
30 Under 30: Young Visionaries Who Are Changing Your Future
(Highlights Sara Jones and Bryonn Bain as two of the "30 Under 30 Visionaries"...they both happen to be Nuyorican Grand Slam Champions)
Read the article in Utne's Archives.


May 14, 1976
"Nuyoricans" Express Pain and Joy in Poetry
By David Vadal
(This is way before the Slam at the Nuyorican, but it's one of many early articles about Nuyorican founding fathers).

November 19, 1990
Again, Clubs for Poets to Read and Rage
By Evelyn Nieves

January 31, 1992
The Word's Turn: Urban Poets Re-emerge
By Eve M. Kahn

September 14, 1993
By Nadine Brozan
(About Indigo, one of our legendary hosts, and his Left-Handed Poets Slam at the Nuyorican)

September 25, 1994
POP VIEW; From Beat Poet to Pop Chic
By Ken Tucker
(A bit of history that connects Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Patti Smith, Jim Carroll, Maggie Estap and Reg e Gaines).

September 26, 1994
After the Beats: A New Generation Raises Its Voice in Poetry
By Diana Jean Schemo 

September 29, 1996
From Rap's Rhythms, a Retooling of Poetry

By Michel Marriott
(Saul Williams, Reg e Gaines, Amiri Baraka, Willie Perdomo and the culture of urban poetry).

February 1, 1998
POP/JAZZ; A Hip-Hop Poet Looks Beyond Her Roots
By Somini Sengupta
(Focuses on Tracie Morris, Grand Slam Champion 1992)

July 14, 1998
A Louder Voice for Poetry; From Self-Publication in the 50's to Contests Today
By Holland Cotter
(A review of "A Secret Location on the Lower East Side: Adventures in Writing, 1960-1980", which provides some interesting backdrop references to Nuyorican Poetry Slam).

August 16, 1999
Part Art, Part Hip-Hop And Part Circus; Slammers Shake Up an Interest in Poetry
By Bruce Weber
(A general reaction to the Poetry Slam that focuses on the National scene).

January 2, 2002
The Poetry of the Nuyorican Experience; Writers Following in the Literary Tradition of Miguel Pi”ero Thrive in a Poets' Cafe
By Mireya Navarro