Hey Yo! Yo Soy! 40 Years of Nuyorican Street Poetry, A Bilingual Edition


JESÚS PAPOLETO MELÉNDEZ  is a New York-born Puerto Rican award-winning poet associated with the Nuyorican movement. He is also a playwright, teacher and activist.

Affectionately known as “Papo,” he published his first poem, “Message To Urban Sightseers” in Talkin’ About Us (1969). The publication of his earliest volumes of poetry, Casting Long Shadows (1970), Have You Seen Liberation (1971), and Street Poetry & Other Poems (1972), firmly established Meléndez as a prominent poet in the Nuyorican community.

In 1974, Meléndez’s play, “The Junkies Stole The Clock,” was the first Latino play produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival, The Public Theatre’s Nuyorican Playwright’s Unit. Beginning in the 1970s, he began his 30-year career as a poet-facilitator in the public schools, working at workshop programs in California and New York. In 1993, he published the poetry collection, Concertos On Market Street, merging his Nuyorican melodies with a Southern California sensibility.

Over the years, Meléndez has performed his poetry with musical groups in California, Tijuana, México and New York, and has opened for such artists as Tito Puente, Urban Bush Women and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. His works have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and is often cited in textbooks. He is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the Union Settlement Association “Innovation Award” (2011). Meléndez, now an elder statesman of the Nuyorican poetry scene, has become a mentor for emerging poets and writers that follow in the Nuyorican tradition.

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