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Multicultural ReviewSurvival/Supervivencia is a collection of some of the best-known poetry and prose from the past 35 years by the Nuyorican (Puerto Rican living in New York) writer. The book opens with an introduction by novelist Ernesto Quinones; at the beginning, it includes Algarin's introduction to his 1975 anthology of Nuyorican poetry explaning the invention of the Nuyorican language as a survival strategy. It also includes, toward the end, the introduction to his 1994 anthology of poetry from the famed Nuyorican Poets Café.
Written in Nuyorican "Spanglish," or presented in paralled English and Spanish language versions, the poems are sharply executed, finely honed neighborhood portraits, snapshots and vignettes, personal reminiscenes, social observations, and political commentaries. They are suffused with the music, rhythms, and flavors of Nuyorican experience and history; they are the stories of family, love, friendship, violence, struggle, and resistence that give voice to the poor and disenfranchised. A group of love poems and elegies near the end are spiritual, philosophical, passionate, and transcendent. Arranged in chronological order, the poems begin with chronicles of Puerto Rican experience in New York's Loisaida (predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood formerly Alphabet City), move on to incisive indictments of international conflicts in Latin America and the Middle East, and close with intimate reflections on life and morality.