New York: Nuyorican Press/Nuyorican Poet’s Café, Inc., 1978. First Edition. 122 pp. VG+ illustrated wraps. Illustrations by Sandra Maria Esteves; cover drawing by Fernando Salicrup; photos by Suzanne Karp Krebs. INSCRIBED by Algarin on ffep: “October 29, 1979 Marilyn, So I remember your upper New York [ ] when we left with a New England portrait tucked into our non-profit-status. M. Algarin.”
Algarin, who was born in Puerto Rico, taught at Rutgers for more than 30 years, but lived most of his life in New York, died in November 2020. He co-founded the Nuyorican Poet’s Café with Pedro Pietri, Miguel Pinero, and others in the early 1970s and is considered a foundational figure in the Nuyorican literary movement, a poet who had a “keen ear for the language of the street and the power of poetry performed live.” Algarin helped popularize the term “Nuyorican” which described “the bilingual, bicultural reboot of Puerto Rican-ness blossoming in the neighborhoods of New York.”
Mongo Affair has four sections: ‘Short Circuits’ is about the Nuyorica Poet’s Café; ‘El Capitan San Miguelito’ “is a story poem dealing with the tragic-comic exploits of a lovable Francois Villon”; ‘Currents/Corrientes/Courants’ is about traveling in Europe and Tangiers with Miguel Pinero and others; ‘Nuyorical Air’ relays Algarin’s “bilingual songs of love and hate for the tar and concrete jungle of Manhattan” (“To the Reader”).
An excellent inscribed copy of Algarin’s second book of poetry, published in the wake of his groundbreaking co-edited collection Nuyorican Poetry: An Anthology of Puerto Rican Words and Feelings (1975). Uncommon in trade, scarce signed.
References: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/03/arts/miguel-algarin-dead.html; https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/04/arts/miguel-algarin-nuyorican-poets-cafe-appraisal.html. Item #820