In The Queer Nuyorican: Racialized Sexualities and Aesthetics in Losaida (NYU Press, 2021), Karen Jaime argues that the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe has always been a queer space. While acknowledging elements of masculinist posturing among some artists affiliated with the Nuyorican, Jaime also argues that the Cafe has provided space for artists to articulate queer aesthetics since the 1970s. Jaime also investigates the contested history of the term “Nuyorican.” Is it an aesthetic label? An ethnic group? Both? Something else entirely? She situates these questions within the history of a changing Losaida (or Lower East Side), as the Cafe adjusts to a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. Jaime’s book should be of interest to anyone engaged in spoken word, immigrant politics and aesthetics, and the literary history of New York.
Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts.
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