Miguel Algarín

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Miguel Algarín Jr.
Miguel Algarín Jr.
Miguel Algarín Jr.
Born (1941-09-11) 11 September 1941 (age 76)
Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Literary movement Nuyorican
Notable awards American Book Award, Obie Award

Miguel Algarín Jr. (11 September 1941), is a Puerto Rican poet, writer, co-founder of the Nuyorican Poets Café, and retired Rutgers University professor of English.

Early years[edit]

Algarín was born in Puerto Rico and was educated and raised in a culturally-minded household. The love for all things involving culture always prevailed in his family. He received his primary and secondary education in New York and later went on to college. He developed a love and understanding of the works of Shakespeare. Shakespeare's antique tales were the force which motivated Algarin to strive to one day have a place of his own where he could tell the story of where he lives. Eventually, Algarín became a professor of Shakespeare, creative writing and United States ethnic literature at Rutgers University.[1][2][3][4][5]

In 1973, Algarín was using the living room of his apartment in Manhattan as a gathering place for poets and artists. By 1975, there were so many poets and artists gathering and reciting their works in the apartment, that Algarín decided to look for a more comfortable location.[1]

Nuyorican Poets Café[edit]

Algarín, Miguel Piñero, and other poets rented a location on East 6th Street and named it the Nuyorican Poets Café. In 1980, Algarín purchased a building on East 3rd Street to expand the café. The Café is now a non-profit organization that offers programs which include poetry and prose readings, theatrical and musical performances, and visual arts exhibits.[2] It is one of the key cultural institutions of the Nuyorican Movement.

Nuyorican Poets Café. Photo: Shankbone

The theater has won over 30 "AUDELCO Awards" and was honored with an Obie grant for excellence in theater. Of the screenplays read in the theater, 40 have been turned into films. The Latin jam session which is celebrated at the Café has been a weekly "Critics Choice" at the New York Press for six consecutive years. The Café also has a radio broadcast on WBAI, where Algarín starts the broadcast with his signature "We're live from the Nuyorican Poets Café".[1][2][3]

Algarín edited with Miguel Piñero Nuyorican Poetry: An Anthology of Puerto Rican Words and Feelings. He is the editor of Action: The Nuyorican Café Theatre Festival and co-editor of Aloud. Among his award-winning poetry books are Time's Now/Ya Es Tiempo and Love is Hard Work.[3][4][5]


Algarín holds the status of Professor Emeritus for his more than 30 years of service to Rutgers University. He has received three American Book Awards and the Larry Leon Hamlin Producer's Award at the 2001 National Black Festival. In the movie Piñero, about the life of Miguel Piñero, directed by Leon Ichaso and starring Benjamin Bratt, Algarín is portrayed by the actor Giancarlo Esposito.[1][2][3][4][5]


Algarín retired as professor from Rutgers University, but continues as the executive producer of the Nuyorican Poets Café's theater and is currently working on a piece of literature titled "Dirty Beauty".[1][2][3][4][5]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Miguel Algarin Web Site
  2. ^ a b c d e Nuyorican Poets Café Archived 27 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ a b c d e View Current TV's program on Nuyorican Power Archived 17 January 2010 at WebCite
  4. ^ a b c d American Booksellers Association (2013). "The American Book Awards / Before Columbus Foundation [1980–2012]". BookWeb. Archived from the original on 13 March 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 1981 [...] On Call, Miguel Algarín (mistaken listed as Miguel Alarin) [...] 1986 [...] Time's Now, Miguel Algarín (listed as Miguel Algarin) [...] 1994 [...] Aloud! Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café, edited by Miguel Algarín and Bob Holman (listed as Miguel Algarin) [...] 2009 [...] Lifetime Achievement Award: Miguel Algarín (listed as Miguel Algarin) 
  5. ^ a b c d "A Nuyorican Who Made Himself An East Village Legend", The New York Sun, LAN NGUYEN

External links[edit]