Friday, April 17, 2009

El Grito de Poetas 4 Year Anniversary

Headline/Title: El Grito de Poetas Live at the Nuyorican Poets Café. By Peter Verry

El Grito de Poetas, New York City Hispanic poetry collective hailing from Long Island and the 5 Boroughs, celebrated their 4 year anniversary on Tuesday, April 14 with a performance at the legendary Nuyorican Poets Café.

Numerous guests and opening acts took the Nuyorican stage for the event including North of the South Bronx hip hop trio Division X, poet and Brooklyn, NY teacher Narubi Selah, Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry veteran Vanessa Hidary, and many more.

Many of the performers who took the stage introduced themselves by showing their appreciation and respect for El Grito de Poetas.

North of Division X took the stage and began telling a brief story about his first encounter with the poetry collective, and how he attended a show of theirs in attempt to impress a woman he had interest in. "I'm no longer with her, but I'm still rocking with them," says North.

Hidary, prior to performing a heartwarming, emotional poem influenced by an event where someone insulted her and her heritage, shared similar sentiments, and viewed the crowd braving the inclement weather as proof of the respect and admiration El Grito de Poetas receives. "They had hail, rain, time changes,” says Hidary. “Give it up for the crowd they brought out tonight.”

After a myriad of opening performers, members Advocate of Wordz, Chance, Chilo, Majestik Originality, Simply Rob, Tito and True took the stage to a visibly excited audience. The poets performed multiple poems and songs, from individual pieces to duets with other members of the group. The group’s unity was displayed by wearing hand-painted hooded sweatshirts designed by artist Aguilar Marrero, co-founder of New York City based company Taino Spirit, who specializes in paintings of the Boricua Taino, Spanish and Cherokee heritages. The poetry collective left the stage in the early hours of Thursday morning to a standing ovation and arms outreached by the crowd for hugs and handshakes.

For more information on upcoming El Grito de Poetas shows and events held at the Nuyorican Poets Café, please check out and respectively.

Additional Thoughts…

I was introduced to El Grito de Poetas through one of the members, Chilo, about two years ago, and have been a fan ever since. They all showed me nothing but love and respect from my first encounter with them, and have inspired me more than I can put into words. Regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious beliefs, when attending an El Grito de Poetas show you are treated as an equal and as a member of their community, of their family. These men (and beautiful young woman) deserve all the accolades they have and will continue to receive throughout their careers. What they do, how they perform, the messages they deliver, the emotions their art evokes, and the strength and passion of their words deserve to be experienced by all. I encourage whoever reads this to check them out, open your minds, and listen to what they have to say because you might just have the same reaction to who they are and to their poetry as I did.