PRIDA Book Club November 2017

Greetings and Happy Noviembre! 

Welcome to our monthly newsletter. We hope this finds you in good health next to those you love. We ask that you share this newsletter with your friends in each media platform you have to help us grow and highlight our writers.

This month we sat at our virtual dining table and had an e-dinner with an award-winning legacy member of our literary family. On the menu? The author’s favorite dish of bacalao con berenjena. We are honored to feature the original Nuyorican poet, playwright, performance artist, and master teaching artist, Jesus Papoleto Melendez! So grab your cafecito caliente and pull the sillón closer to the fire because this is a good one! We commemorate PRIDA and Comité Noviembre’s busiest month, Puerto Rican History Month, with this artist because he has provided so much art, history, and pride to our Puerto Rican community and the world at large!



Papoleto is a life-long resident of El Barrio NYC but his origins are rooted in Corozal and Santurce, Puerto Rico. He tells us he was made in PR and born in Long Island City, NY. Papoleto’s honors include a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Louis Reyes Rivera Lifetime Achievement Award, an Artist for Community Enrichment Award from the Bronx Council on the Arts, and a joint fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and Combined Arts of San Diego.

Papoleto has been writing since he was a kid,  sitting on his fire escape and writing about the urban goings and comings he saw first-hand. He told us he didn’t realize he was actually writing poetry but rather his observations of life as they happened. Papoleto added that he writes to preserve his thoughts including fleeting ones and that he has an obligation to memorialize the voices and personalities who appear as inspirations in his mind. He became acutely conscious of Puerto Rico and its commonwealth status during his teen years and it was then that his writing began to take on political overtones. He first visited Puerto Rico in January of 1975 with friend Pedro Pietri to continue the tradition of Pedro’s aunt, Madame Isabel La Negra, of distributing toys and gifts on El Dia de Los Reyes.

His lifelong focus has been in poetry, even when writing prose, stating that he has developed his own technique involving the use of blank spaces on the page and slashes (/) that he has trademarked “Cascadance,” because the words seem to cascade down the page. Papoleto says that irony drives his inspiration to write and that a it’s this irony that is weaved in his pieces produced by this attention to other people. He explains that he finds irony in life itself. As such, he watches out for inspiration in humans, politics, and the world at large. He writes about these observations along with other daily concerns.

Papoleto is currently working on more literary excellence with, PAPOlitico – Poems of Political Persuasion, scheduled to be published Spring of 2018 by 2Leaf Press. He is also working on non-fiction narrative, The Last Road Trip, which chronicles his close relationship with his friend, El Reverendo Pedro Pietri, and their adventures traveling to the U.S. West Coast and Puerto Rico. In this work, he details his experience of attending scholar and poet Alfredo Matilla’s funeral. He told us his favorite author in the Diaspora canon is his great friend and poet El Reverendo Pedro Pietri, because he brings poetic history into our lives. He encourages our readership to read Pietri’s Suicide Note From a Cockroach in a Low Income Housing Project, to gain some insight in our present situation in Puerto Rico, as well as our community-politic. He is open to discovering new voices that speak from the heart. “This is what the Nuyorican poets movement was principally about. The condition of our people needed voicing at that time (as now), and the poets came forward to deliver it.”

Papoleto has been published by various publishers, including 2Leaf Press, Barlenmir House, Fieldston School Graphics Offset Press in the Bronx, and Morris H.S. Graphics Letter-hand Press. His publications are varied and a true inspiration to writers and readers alike. His publishing credits include: Hey Yo/Yo Soy – 40 Years of Nuyorican Street Poetry (2012, 2Leaf Press); Concertos On Market Street (1993, Kemetic Images); Street Poetry & Other Poems (1972, Barlenmir House); Have You Seen Liberation (1971, Limited edition, 300 imprints; Fieldston School Graphics Offset Press, Bronx, NY.); Casting Long Shadows (1970, Morris H.S. Graphics Letter-hand Press, Bronx, NY.)

Papoleto is also a playwright! He penned, The Junkies Stole The Clock in 1974 which was featured at the New York Shakespeare Festival and the Joseph Papp Public Theater. You can follow his social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. Readers can find his books at El Museo del Barrio Gift Shop and at 2 in e-book format.

We asked him to suggest one book for our readers. He says you can’t miss reading, Hey Yo/Yo Soy – 40 Years of Nuyorican Street Poetry, available in soft-cover on,,,, Powell’s Books, and

Why become a member of PRIDA?

He encourages Puerto Rican writers to become sustaining members of PRIDA because as a “community of artists, as Puerto Ricans, we need organization and commitment. We need to get organized and stay organized, both here and on la Isla. We have to grow to become a people who wholeheartedly support one another, or we are going to become extinct and lose our country. Right now, even graves are being swept away in Puerto Rico! Historically, artists have always suffered, unless they’ve ‘made-it!’ and then they are just too far removed from our community’s daily concerns to be affected, even if they care. Historically, artists have been the glue that keeps culture affixed to identity, and that undeniably represents who they are. Culture is the essence of Life.”

We enjoyed our visit with this great poet and hope you did too! He will be at this year’s Comité Noviembre Puerto Rican Book Expo so don’t forget to make time to stop by and meet him and many other talented members of the Puerto Rican writing community.

 PUBLISHED WRITERS: Don’t forget to sign up for this year’s Comité Noviembre Artisan Fair and Book Expo at Hostos Community College. Spaces are going like pan caliente!  This year we have a line up of workshops and panels and an open mic for authors and poets. Participants will have access to a bright airy space to meet and greet readers. Click on the link for author and artisan fair application. Don’t forget to invite your friends to come out and support.

This is the list of confirmed authors:

  1. Eris Garriga
  2. Victor Rodriguez
  3. Jonathan Bonhomme
  4. Theresa Varela
  5. Alidis Vicente
  6. Dania Ramos
  7. Jose Angel Figueroa
  8. Axel Garcia
  9. Arnaldo Lopez Jr.
  10. Annette Perez
  11. Rosemary Rivera
  12. Maria Aponte
  13. Manuel A. Melendez
  14. Myrna E. Nieves
  15. Elmy E. Martinez 
  16. Basilio Serrano
  17. Yadhira Gonzalez-Taylor

To sign up download your application at this link — COMBINED_2017_CN_ARTISAN_AUTHOR_FAIR_APPLICATION (092817)


PRIDA Author Yadhira Gonzalez-Taylor has published the Spanish version of Martina and the Wondrous Waterfall, Martina y La Cascada Maravillosa. A wonderful tale that brings an educational message of teamwork while teaching the reader about plena music. You can purchase your copy on Amazon or by attending the Book Expo on November 18th at Hostos Community College.


PRIDA member Carmen D. Lucca has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize by the magazine component of Poets Network & Exchange, Inc. The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses series, published every year since 1976, is the most honored literary project in America.


Image result for live big girl

 Live Big Girl!

Three women, one message! @ The National Black Theater! on December 2nd. A poetic play about three women and their different and not so different experiences of living in a body that is not celebrated.  Directed by PRIDA member Peggy Robles-Alvarado. Play written by PRIDA friend members Vanessa Chica, Karina G-Lopez and Rebeca Lois Lucret. This show offers a prescription for healing, in the taking back of their bodies from mouth of critics.  Get tickets now at: Tickets for Live Big Girl!


You still have time to get tickets! Mujeres, the Magic, the Movement, the Muse — Performative Release of the Anthology is on NOVEMBER 11, 2017.

Tickets at: EventBrite Mujeres, The Magic, The Movement, The Muse

 writing contests

Who is going to tell your story if you don’t? Looking for inspiration to start that memoir? Don’t know where to begin? You don’t want to put the world on blast but you think you have a powerful story? Well, maybe you should check out Vanessa Martir’s WOL (Writing Our Lives) workshop.  The following are dates for two separate workshops. The Reclaiming Your Voice class is scheduled for December 6, 13, and 20 (2017). \ The Writing Fiction from Real Life dates are: November 8, 15,and 29 (2017).  Visit the following link for more information and to register for a course: Vanessa Martir Workshops and Classes


Writing Contests!

Poets and Writers has over 50 contests listed in this month’s issue! For more information go to: Contests


FREE WRITING SESSIONS @ Gotham Writers Workshop

Memoir Writing: Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (52 Prince Street, NY NY) /  Grammar I: Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (126 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY) / Screenwriting: Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (126 Crosby Street, New York, NY)

Eleanor Parker Sapia, A Decent Woman, 354 pages, (Scarlet River Press) $16.99. For sale on Award winning author Eleanor Parker Sapia brings us this historical novel taking place at the turn of the century in Ponce, Puerto Rico. A comadrona is forced to make a hard choice in her quest for justice and fullfillment. A Decent Woman won Second Place for Best Latino Focused Fiction Book in 2017 International Latino Book Awards, received an Honorable Mention for Best Historical Fiction in 2016 at the International Latino Book Awards and was selected Book of the Month by Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club in 2015. A writer, artist, and photographer, Eleanor currently lives in Berkeley County, West Virginia, where she is working on her second novel, The Laments of Forgotten Souls, set in 1927 Puerto Rico.

Rosemary Rivera, The Girl Who Couldn’t Draw, 32 pages, $10.00 Meet Myra, a 7 year old determined to win the school art contest, but things get wacky when the grown-ups see her work. A funny, almost true story about what happens when adults forget how to think like a kid. A good read for kids and grownups alike. Rosemary lives in New York City with her family. She is a frequent Op-Ed contributor and a freelance writer.

Diana Gitesha Hernandez, Melao…A Nuyorican Rhapsody, 48 pages, $15.00 Available from the author, send her a request on Facebook or

0731 - banner_Send us your news

Hey there PRIDA Authors! Did you publish something new? Did you recently receive an award? Are you going to a book fair? Do you know of a writing fellowship or grant application you want to share with the rest of the Puerto Rican writing community? Do you know of a writing competition or a submission deadline? Do you possess any other golden nugget of information that could help a fellow writer? Share with us so the blessing can be sent back to you tenfold. Send email to: PRIDA member Yadhira Gonzalez-Taylor at and we will publish your news.

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