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Ethnicity and Performance: Bilingualism in Spanglish Verse Culture

Harald Zapf
Amerikastudien / American Studies
Vol. 51, No. 1, Multilingualism and American Studies (2006), pp. 13-27
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41158195
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Ethnicity and Performance: Bilingualism in Spanglish Verse Culture
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Abstract

This article is about contemporary Spanglish verse culture and one of its paradigmatic sites: the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. During the historical period that is covered here — 1975 to 1994— ethnic nationalism became less important at the Cafe, and transethnic performance poetry rose to its peak. Nuyorican poetry is mainly a poetry of the self, where poetic voice is a complex issue connected with performance, ethnicity, and vocal/lingual diversity. All in all, it can be said that there was a shift of emphasis from monovocalism to multivocalism, from bilingualism to monolingualism, and from bilingualism as an ethnic feature to bilingualism as a matter of performance and genuinely free choice.

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