40. Again…Again.

May 25th, 2012

[…] I thought of my newborn son and what his life would be like here; I thought ofPuerto Rico and my folks and everything that we had left behind, just out of need; I thought of so many things that I’ve already forgotten some of them, because you know that your mind is like a blackboard, and time is like an eraser that sweeps across it when’s it’s full. (González, “The Night We Became People Again,” 747)

I keep coming back to this scene, during a celebration in a blackout, the narrator has a bittersweet moment when he realizes that people forget. That all of this, all of the important events worth celebrating will be forgotten. He has already forgotten important moments. His son will so do the same. The powerful imagery
attached to “your mind is like a blackboard, and time is like an eraser that sweeps across it when’s it’s full” is spin chilling in its accuracy. Its representation of memory being comes as philosophical fopr us as it is for him
at that very moment. However, the moment is not pointless because of its expiration. It makes it more poignant, it make it more. Here the “more” is that they became a community through their shared experiences. He realizes that all that they left behind still exists because they remember it.

39. It’s Okay, It Only Sounds Painful

May 25th, 2012

In my searches for “Nuyorican poetry” the YouTube search box suggested “Nuyorican Poetry slam.” So I clicked on it and found this. “Crushing Hard” sounds painful and it proves painful. The loud soulful singing recedes to
allow for soft, quivering, queries about the important stages of love in our life. This piece didn’t have much to do with the Nuyorican poets and their cod switching ways but it took place at the Nuyorican Poets Café so it was almost fair game for my article. Maybe as a continuation piece an article about the progression of topics at the Café?

38. My Poets

May 25th, 2012

““As a cultural construct, the meaning of the city can be deciphered by closely examining its complex relationship with the culture of which it is a part” (Domosh 1992, 475). A clearer appreciation of links between rural and urban cul-ture will better inform us about the urban experience.” (Jeffrey S. Smith, “Rural Place Attachment in Hispano Urban Centers,” 432)

I don’t think I can use this for my article. I am looking for reasons behind the use of code switching and assimilated identity. This defines more seetings to people than language to tthos e seeting and people. The
link between urban and rural cultures clearly does exist. This dimension of urbanization and the cities considered part of these centers finds definition as a “cultural construct.” Also, it doesn’t focus on the Nuyorican poets that I indend to write about. Smith focuses on Hispano Culture in the South East of the United states. While we can more fully understand the reasons for the influx of migration into the Southwestern United States and the meshing of cultures, we cannot understand the resistance to said mixing by my poets.

37. Mystical Areas

May 25th, 2012

“ As sanctuaries that possess restorative powers, rural places have become an idyllic retreat from the “increasingly urbanized and fast-paced world beyond” (Wyckoff and Dilsaver 1995, 4).” (Jeffrey S. Smith,
“Rural Place Attachment in Hispano Urban Centers,” 432)

Again I am not feeling it with this article. Okay, it is a good article. But it is definitely not what I am looking for. This particular passage starts to talk about mystical healing properties of the country. The urban centers, while they garner better wages, are mechanical “jungles.” Rural areas become “retreats” where people can rest. Rural areas become “idyllic” scenes of life and, not to overstate the seemingly inherent sentimentally of the notion, magic. The retreats connote healing properties in this return to nature.

36. So Many Yoyo Trick References

May 25th, 2012

“Yoyo thinks of her speech her mother wrote her as her last invention. It is as if, after that, her mother passed on to Yoyo her pencil and ad and said “Okay, Cuquita, here’s a buck. You give it a shot.” (Julia Alvarez, “The Garcia Girls: Daughter of Invention,” 1743)

I wanted to focus on this passage simply because of the last line of imagined dialogue: “Okay, Cuquita, here’s a buck. You give it a shot, because it uses such rich, creative language. This can have a double meaning. The word “buck” is usually associated with money, so saying here is a buck is like saying here is a dollar. A dollar for what? Your future? To spend now? Later? To keep sentimentally? But following it up with “give it a shot” makes me think of a ‘”buck shot.” That can be either a dead bullet that shatters through a victim upon impact or your “money shot,” what will increase your earnings on a given job.

35.Finding a New Way Home

May 25th, 2012

“Riding the seven train to Jackson Heights, I thought of our immigration to the United States eighteen years ago. But “immigration” is too big a word to describe what Happened. Let’s just say we moved from Bogota,
Columbia to Jackson Heights, Queens- from on cocaine capital to another[…]” (Jaime Manrique, “From Latin Moon in Manhattan, Chapter 1,” 1731)

I do take the seven train to Jackson Heights in Queens and I have to say after reading this I am a little leery of the people en route with me. I don’t know how much has changed, but the idea of that section of Queens
being a drug heaven is a bit much for me. It also, makes me a little upset that the enormity of immigrating is curbed for Manrique by the drug problem. It is as if to say that the problems that he left Colombia to seek refuge from followed him and that no matter where you run you will never be safe. That. To me, is a terrifying thought.

34. Coming to an Article Near You

May 25th, 2012


The conflicts are very many. Languages are struggling to possess us; English wants to own us completely;
Spanish was to own us completely. We, in fact, have mixed them both…We create poems for ourselves; poverty keeps us away from the space and time that composing long prose piece require, but that is changing too. (Algarin, Nuyorican Literature, 1352)

Algarin touches upon the ideas mentioned by Nash when he references Spanglish without actually using the word. When he says “English wants to own us completely; Spanish was to own us completely,” he attracts
attention to assimilation and the tug of war that the Puerto Ricans find themselves in as they struggle to self-identify ethnically. He highlights the fact that both languages want them. They fight to choose which language is
their dominant tongue and the result of this battle is code-switching. They theories of code switching and Spanglish work hand in hand. They are the bargaining chip which facilitates the opposition of assimilation. Here Algarin is identifying the manners in which the mixture of language and its usage connect to the Poetry of the Nuyorican Poets. The second part of this proves to dictate how the language is utilized and the brevity of each piece. The Nuyorican poems are not very long. They are structured in short sentences and small stanzas, but the impact is felt through their application of linguistic schemes and subject matter.

33. Let’s Test That Theory.

May 25th, 2012

I will argue that in the poetic works of Miguel Algarin, Pedro Pitri, Jose Figueroa, Sandra Maria Esteeves, and
Tato Laviera, formerly identified as Nuyorican Poets, identity and assimilation, as it applies to the declaration of national identity, is defined and discussed through the linguistic theory of “Code Switching.”  I will apply this theory to the amalgam of English and Spanish, hereby referred to as “Spanglish” and analyze how within
each piece discussed the discourse on assimilation is expanded. It is through the structure and subtle nuisances of their language and linguistic scheme that we understand the duality of selfhood and the hybridity of language. I will use this to help the poets define what they call themselves when they come top America (1:45-1:47).

32. Abstracting Information

May 25th, 2012

Code of Honor: A Study of Bilingualism with a Focus on the Structure, Code Switching, and Identity in the Poetry of the Nuyorican Poets


In the early 1970’s a group of Puerto Rican poets in the Lower East Side of Manhattan began meeting at the home of Miguel Algarin. As the movement grew, the poets convened at the Nuyorican Poets Café. This provided a place for writers to perform their poetry amongst their peers. These peers consisted of: Algarin,
Pedro Pitri, Jose Figueroa, Sandra Maria Esteeves, and Tato Laviera. The poems primarily focus on the idea of identity as far as it applies to national sympathies, garnered by family and history, structurally shown through the usage of language. The poems flit between English and Spanish, many times drawing attention to the change mid-line. The structure of the poems works symbolically as well as practically to represent these sentiments and in the conflict of language fight out the battle of this dual identity. I propose that this phenomenon formally known as “code switching,” or, loosely defined, the change over from one language to the other in a single conversation, helps to guide in the struggle of this Latin@ identity and the choice of assimilation.

31. Cover Letter

May 25th, 2012

I really didn’t think that I was going to enjoy this class. It is so far removed from anything that I have previously studied that the class seemed daunting. Maybe daunting is too strong of a word? Boring, I’ll go with boring. I didn’t think I would like it or be able to relate to anything we learned. Honestly the class blindsided me. I had  no idea that it was a Latin@ Literauture class until I walked in on day one. That is how observant I am: I am an English Major who doesn’t read class descriptions. I should feel ashamed.

However, somewhere along the way I started to care about what I was reading. I could appreciate the struggle of the Latin@ community even though it was no mine. I wound up enjoying the class so very much. It has been a while since an English class has challenged me, they all revolkve around the same people and themes. This one stood out. It was new and I quickly began to love it. I even appreciated the work load. It kept me on my toes. Thank you!!

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