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Recovers and celebrates the contributions of women artists to the history of this iconic performance venue


The Nuyorican Poets Café has for the past forty years provided a space for multicultural artistic expression and a platform for the articulation of Puerto Rican and black cultural politics. The Café’s performances—poetry, music, hip hop, comedy, and drama—have been studied in detail, but until now, little attention has been paid to the voices of its women artists. Through archival research and interview, Nuyorican Feminist Performance examines the contributions of 1970s and ’80s performeras and how they challenged the Café’s gender politics. It also looks at recent artists who have built on that foundation with hip hop performances that speak to contemporary audiences. The book spotlights the work of foundational artists such as Sandra María Esteves, Martita Morales, Luz Rodríguez, and Amina Muñoz, before turning to contemporary artists La Bruja, Mariposa, Aya de León, and Nilaja Sun, who infuse their poetry and solo pieces with both Nuyorican and hip hop aesthetics.

Patricia Herrera is Associate Professor of Theatre, American Studies, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Richmond.

“Groundbreaking . . . an extremely important and very timely intervention in the fields of Latina/o studies, women’s studies, and literary, theater and performance studies. The book engages valuable, understudied and unknown archival materials and offers interesting and relevant analysis.
—Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, University of Michigan

“A tour-de-force that fills a significant void in the literature of Latina/o/x cultural expression within the context of New York City. It will appeal to scholars of Latina/o/x art, art history, cultural studies, theater and performance studies.”
—Wilson Valentín-Escobar, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Honorable Mention: Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) 2021 Outstanding Book Award

- ATHE Outstanding Book Award

"Nuyorican Feminist Performance is a book I wished I had in graduate school... Nuyorican Feminist Performance is a timely intervention and will be of use to scholars in a variety of fields including, but not limited to, Latinx studies, theatre and performance studies, ethnic studies, and gender and sexuality studies."
-Trevor Boffone

- Trevor Boffone

"This study, therefore, provides indispensable knowledge about the Nuyorican Poets Café through a Nuyorican feminist aesthetic lens. . . Herrera’s methodological use of ethnography as well as textual and visual analysis will be beneficial not just for students of theatre and performance, but for Latinx studies as a whole."
Theatre Topics

- Judith Rodríguez

Read: reviewed by Intervenxions 10/27/2020
Read: reviewed by Theatre Survey | December 2020