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Tato Laviera (1950- ), a poet and playwright, was born in Puerto Rico. He arrived in New York City in 1960 and spent his formative years in the urban barrio. His first book of poetry, La Carreta Made a U-Turn, was published in 1979, and he quickly emerged as an accomplished poet of the Nuyorican school, with a distinctive voice. He has published several other collections of poetry.

"AmeRican" is the title poem of a collection by the same name, published in 1985. In the title poem, Laviera affirms a vision of "a new generation," a generation for whom the possibilities of reconciliation and pluralism within the American context are real.

Laviera first read "AmeRican" at Hunter College in New York City in March 1984. We gave birth to a new generation, AmeRican, broader than lost gold never touched, hidden inside the puerto rican mountains. we gave birth to a new generation, AmeRican, it includes everything imaginable you-name-it-we-got-it society. we gave birth to a new generation, AmeRican salutes all folklores, european, indian, black, spanish, and anything else compatible: AmeRican singing to composer pedro flores' palm trees high up in the universal sky! AmeRican, sweet soft spanish danzas gypsies moving lyrics la espanola cascabelling presence always singing at our side! AmeRican, beating jibaro modern troubadours crying guitars romantic continental bolero love songs! AmeRican, across forth and across back back across and forth back forth across and back and forth our trips are walking bridges! it all dissolved into itself, the attempt was truly made, the attempt was truly absorbed, digested, we spit out the poison, we spit out the malice, we stand, affirmative in action, to reproduce a broader answer to the marginality that gobbled us up abruptly! AmeRican, walking plena-rhythms in new york, strutting beautifully alert, alive, many turning eyes wondering, admiring! AmeRican, defining myself my own way any way many ways Am e Rican, with the big R and the accent on the i! AmeRican, like the soul gliding talk of gospel boogie music! AmeRican, speaking new words in spanglish tenements, fast tongue moving street corner "que corta" talk being invented at the insistence of a smile! AmeRican, abounding inside so many ethnic english people, and out of humanity, we blend and mix all that is good! AmeRican, integrating in new york and defining our own destino, our own way of life, AmeRican, defining the new america, humane america, admired america, loved america, harmonious america, the world in peace, our energies collectively invested to find other civilizations, to touch God, further and further, to dwell in the spirit of divinity! AmeRican, yes, for now, for i love this, my second land, and i dream to take the accent from the altercation, and be proud to call myself american, in the u.s. sense of the world, AmeRican, America!

COPYRIGHT 1991 COPYRIGHT 1990 Diane Ravitch
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:history and words of the 1985 poem
Author:Laviera, Tato
Publication:The American Reader
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1991
Previous Article:Speech to the Democratic National Convention.
Next Article:The American Idea.

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