The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
Poet Miguel Algarin maintains that rather than a sign of ignorance the mixing of Spanish and English words by Puerto Ricans in New York expresses linguistic creativity. He argues that Puerto Ricans in New York are forging a new language and culture based on their bilingual and bi-national experience, which Algarin calls “Nuyorican.” He underscores that an essential component of the Nuyorican aesthetic is the creation and safeguarding of spaces in New York City where individuals can express themselves through poetry and art.
The word “Nuyorican” is generally accepted today as a descriptor of New York-born Puerto Ricans. However, in the 1950s and 1960s the term “Nuyorican” had a pejorative connotation, because it was applied to the mass of undereducated Puerto Ricans who lived in the slums of New York. In 1973, poets Miguel Algarin and Miguel Piñero described the bilingual poetry they (and their colleagues) were developing as “Nuyorican,” thus elevating and inserting the term into the canon of American literary movements. That same year, Miguel Algarin—together with poets Miguel Piñero, Pedro Pietri, Papoleto Mendez, and Sandra Maria Estevez—further institutionalized the term “Nuyorican” by founding the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on the Lower East Side of the city. Still in existence, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe is recognized as the incubator of innovative genres, such as “poetry slams,” “performance poetry,” and “spoken word.” Algarin’s essays on Nuyorican poetry and art have consistently supported the view that an important part of the work of Puerto Rican artists in The Big Apple is to create community-based workspaces that will enable future generations to develop expressive forms independent of the American commercial mainstream.