3 Tato Laveira Poems to Get You Started


One of the few heavily celebrated and studied poets from the Nuyorican Movement is the late and great Tato Laviera. Though he was born and raised in Puerto Rico for a few years, Laviera lived much of his life in New York eventually becoming one of the most prominent members of the literary and artistic movement that documented the experience of the Mainland Puerto Rican. The following listicle provides a few poems for readers seeking for a starting point into the author’s work.

(cover for Bendición: The Complete Poetry of Tato Laviera)

“my graduation speech”

Throughout his career, Laviera explored the experience of being Nuyorican and bilingual and this poem serves as a perfect starting point to this type of text. As one reads the verses, one can appreciate Laviera’s and his people’s ability to use both Spanish and English and how this brought some sort of prejudice upon them in the eyes of “traditional” Americans.

(picture of Laviera as found on The Poetry Foundation)


With “AmeRícan,” one of his most studied and discussed works, Laviera explores the relationship between Puerto Ricans and the United States. Throughout the poem, he provides a few examples of the many contributions by Puerto Ricans into American culture making the reader reflect about the Puerto Rican experience.


Finally, “boda” provides a bit of Laviera observational and comical poetry as he provides a stream of consciousness and storytelling blend of poetry that uses a variety of dialogues to provide the image of what seems to be a traditional Puerto Rican wedding.

(picture of Laviera as found on NBC Latino)

In short, Tato Laviera’s contributions to literature are a brief glimpse into the Mainland Puerto Rican experience as well as that of his environment and surroundings. Through the use of a variety of techniques such as bilingualism, stream of consciousness, storytelling and, at times, musical beats, Laviera managed to capture one of the most unique aspects of Puerto Rican and American culture.

Find Bendición: The Complete Poetry of Tato Laviera on Amazon