10 Spoken Word Poets Who Speak To Diverse Latino Experiences

April is National Poetry Month, and we’re recognizing 10 Latino artists who boldly speak their truth through poetry and spoken word.

Capturing the experiences of Latinos across the U.S. and world cannot be easily accomplished through one perspective. We need diverse voices to articulate their journeys.

With the poems below, these spoke word artists explore the complexities of bicultural identity, challenge stereotypes, and celebrate the richness of Latinos’ diverse and varied identities.

    • 1 “Afro-Latina” by Elizabeth Acevedo
“Black, brown, beautiful — viviremos para siempre. Afro-Latinos hasta la muerte.”
    • 2 “When You Say My Name” by Zachary Caballero
“I carry my surname like a samurai sword, and swore it would keep me safe. It was both what I was protecting, what would protect me.”
    • 3 “Accents” by Denice Frohman
“My mother’s tongue is a telegram from her mother decorated with the coquís of el campo. So even when her lips can barely stretch themselves around English, her accent is a stubborn compass always pointing her towards home.”
    • 4 “Brief History” by Jose Soto
“My parents remind me that home comes in the shape of brown paper bags. I’m still the palm trees. I’m still the coral beaches. I’m still the goddamn Frescolita and I will not be translated so easy because I am still venezolano.”
    • 5 “Descendancy” by Mayde del Valle
“I can’t check myself into a box.”
    • 6 “Brown Girl” by Yesika Salgado
      Youtube
“I think in English, but my tongue is always dressed in Spanish.”
    • 7 “My Blood Is Beautiful” by Mercedez Holtry
      Youtube
“So yes, I am a mix of things. But what I am not is a f*cking identity crisis. Some kind of chemistry experiment. America’s ignorant assumptions about what I am, what I feel, how I act. My character belongs to me. My identity belongs to me. My blood belongs to me, and I’ll be damned if anyone calls my blood anything but beautiful.”
    • 8 “On Realizing I Am Black” by Gabriel Ramirez
      Youtube
“Born American. Raised Dominican. Found black.”
    • 9 “My Spanish” by Melissa Lozada-Oliva
“If you ask me if I am fluent in Spanish, I will tell you that my Spanish is an itchy phantom limb; it is reaching for words and only finding air.”
    • 10 “Chicanismo” by Manuel Gonzalez
“Chicano is the blood that feeds my soul. It’s the blood of my ancestors racing through my veins. It’s the passion in my heart.”
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