Pedro Pietri

Pedro Pietri

Pedro Juan Pietri was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and began the art of writing from his childhood. He came to be known for his participations in the foundation of the Nuyoricans Poets Café. Through his work, Pietri chronicled the joys and struggles of Nuyoricans (urban Puerto Ricans whose lives straddled Puerto Rico and Manhattan). His poetry explored the competing cultural tugs of New York and Puerto Rico. In addition to being humorous, his work was also deeply political, looking at the status of Puerto Rico as an island that is neither independent nor a state, capturing his nationalist beliefs. His poems critique social and political inclinations from poverty to racial prejudice. 

Biography Source

Pietri's Works

This is a poem written about the Puerto Rican experience in the U.S., encapsulating the lives of boricuas whose cultures remain eternally tied to Puerto Rico, but live on mainland U.S.A. Although Spanish colonizers named it “rich port”, it will always remain in its Taino name, “Boriken,” to them. The poem was first read in a rally in support of the anti-imperialist Latino youth group, the Young Lords Party. The poem follows 5 characters for whom the American dream is deferred, Pietri all the while addressing themes of racial injustice, labour, and death. His poem looks to create a cultural consciousness among the Puerto Rican community, and also a social awareness around social institutions, alienation in urban life, the socio-economic and political status of Puerto Rico, and the fact that the American dream was made for a certain kind.

Pietri collaborated with graphic artist Adal Maldonado on this artistic endeavor, founding a website, This encompassed a ‘Puerto Rican passport’, naming ambassadors to the arts, and composing a national anthem written in what is known as ‘Spanglish’. El Puerto Rican Embassy, described as a ‘sovereign state of mind’, affirmed Puerto Rican Identity in the metropolis, proclaiming artistic liberation by challenging the confines of Puerto Rico’s colonial condition which deprives islanders of their own citizenship and diplomatic and political representation.