In his Lower East Side apartment, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe was born as an outspoken and passionate collective of poets, musicians, theater artists and activists.
Miguel was a brilliant poet, an influential professor and leader, and a supportive mentor who inspired and guided generations of artists.
He edited popular anthologies of poetry and theater, including "Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe" and "Action"; he helped launch the Nuyorican Literary movement; and he played an instrumental role in popularizing spoken word and performance poetry across the United States and around the world.
Miguel and the Cafe's co-founders amplified the voices and championed the work of Latinx, Black, LGBTQ+ and immigrant artists who were not accepted by the academic, entertainment or publishing industries.
Thanks to their pioneering work, and thanks to our community of friends and supporters, the Cafe has remained a vibrant home for creative expression since 1973.
The literary world owes Miguel a debt of gratitude. He will be greatly missed.
In the early 1970s, Algarín ... began inviting other Nuyorican poets to his apartment on East Sixth Street for readings and performances. Algarín and his contemporaries, including Miguel Piñero, Pedro Pietri and Lucky CienFuegos, were part of a growing artistic scene in what was then a primarily Puerto Rican neighborhood, drawing on their identities and daily struggles for their work.The salon quickly outgrew Algarín’s living room, so he and a few other artists began renting an Irish bar down the street to fit more people. In 1981, they bought their current building on East Third Street and, after a lengthy renovation process, formally opened it to the public in 1990 as a space for Nuyorican poets to experiment and hone their craft.
Miguel Algarin has died and I’m heartbroken. Long live The Nuyorican Poets. QEPD. 😢😢😢😢— Maria Hinojosa (@Maria_Hinojosa) December 1, 2020
We offer our deepest love, thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of Miguel Algarin. Founder of Nuyorican Poets Cafe, his work continues to influence and inspire poets, and artists alike, across the diaspora. pic.twitter.com/xsifZXj9eX— CantoMundo (@CantoMundo) December 1, 2020
Since the start, our monthly poetry slam has been inspired by the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Miguel Algarín imbued the Nuyorican Poets Cafe with joy, soul and a deep sense of community that reverberated for generations. May our work be a small honoring of his legacy.— The Philly Pigeon (@ThePhillyPigeon) December 1, 2020