New York, NY -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/23/2012 -- 2Leaf Press is pleased to announce the publication of its first book, "Hey Yo! Yo Soy! 40 Years of Nuyorican Street Poetry, A Bilingual Edition" by Nuyorican poet Jesús Papoleto Meléndez. This 386-page collection, comprised of three previously published books, "Casting Long Shadows" (1970), "Have You Seen Liberation" (1971), and "Street Poetry & Other Poems" (1972), consist of 60 poems about growing up Puerto Rican in New York City’s El Barrio. Meléndez has long been considered one of the founders of the Nuyorican Movement and the political, intellectual and linguistic topics he approaches in his work remain extremely relevant to this day. This historical collection is available for sale on Amazon.com and other online outlets.
The Spanish translations, which appear alongside the English, have been superbly rendered by Adam Wier, Carolina Fung Feng, and Marjorie González. The collection includes a forward by Samuel Diaz and Carmen M. Pietri-Diaz, a commentary about the translation process by Wier, an introduction by Sandy Maria Esteves, and an afterword by Jaime “Shaggy” Flores, as well as historical photos of Meléndez and an exclusive interview. All of this material, both Melendez’ original work and the new translations and critical work, has been brought together for the first time by editors Gabrielle David and Kevin E. Tobar Pesántez.
"Hey Yo! Yo Soy!" chronicles the evolution of Meléndez’ relationship with his community, and his political and social awakening as a poet, writer and activist. Born and raised in New York City from parents who migrated from Puerto Rico, Meléndez notes, “Back then, it was a different experience being a Puerto Rican in New York City. The sense of not belonging to Puerto Rico and not belonging in the United States is something everyone was going through. Writing gave me a chance to prove that I was a human being and in doing so, I became part of a movement that connected me to my heritage.”
Meléndez is referring to the Nuyorican Movement that critiqued and challenged the social and political institutions and policies that were hindering Puerto Ricans’ life opportunities in New York City. Consequently, a Nuyorican literature emerged from a handful of writers whose main preoccupation was the survival, inspiration, and pride of their fellow community members. It is this social commitment and activism that serves as the defining characteristic of Nuyorican poetry and is evident in "Hey Yo! Yo Soy!"
A bilingual edition of Melendez’ poetic achievements has never before been published and was made possible by the Intercultural Alliance and Artists & Scholars, Inc. (IAAS), a New York-based nonprofit organization that promotes multicultural literature and literacy that publishes the quarterly publication, "phati’tude Literary Magazine." Executive Director of the IAAS and Editor-in-Chief of "phati’tude," Gabrielle David felt it essential that such an influential Nuyorican poet be published in both English and Spanish, thereby allowing the work to reach an even wider audience.
Today’s Puerto Rican writers continue the Nuyorican tradition of cultural resistance that speaks for the community and for those unheard voices within the United States. However, this tradition has expanded to include influences that range from minimalist poetry to code-switching, from Afro-Caribbean music to concrete poetry in a literature of resistance which continues to explore political and social issues of an international dimension. "Hey Yo! Yo Soy!’s" greatest legacy is the inscription of a new Pan-Latino identity of American literature that embraces the past, present and future writers of the Nuyorican Movement.
From the profound to the poignant to the comedic, Jesús Papoleto Meléndez provides an important, historical look at a pivotal period in American society. "Hey Yo! Yo Soy! 40 Years of Nuyorican Street Poetry, A Bilingual Edition" is a collection to be devoured as a single sustained narrative, from the first page to the last; a worthy addition in anyone’s library.
About 2Leaf Press
2Leaf Press is an imprint of the Intercultural Alliance of Artists & Scholars, Inc. (IAAS), a New York-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes multicultural literature and literacy.