Nuyorican poet Tato Laviera’s works have reached out to the hearts and souls of the Puerto Rican community and nourished us for decades. Now this poet, novelist and cultural icon needs us to reach out to him.
Tato Laviera has been in intensive care for two and a half months and his health is deteriorating rapidly. Doctors have not been able to identify his illness and he needs financial support. His family is reaching out to literary and cultural groups, friends, colleagues and Laviera fans for help with donations.
Three years ago, Laviera became homeless after undergoing brain surgery. At that time, community members helped him secure the living conditions necessary for him to continue to work. Since then, he has kept busy until his more recent illness, producing the play The King of Cans, a musical that takes place in New York City and tells the story of homeless can collectors who strive to rebuild their lives while dealing with day-to-day survival on the streets. He also completed a draft of the novel, El Barrio.
The writer, poet, essayist, playwright, who was born Jesus Abraham Laviera in Puerto Rico and has lived has lived in New York City since 1960, committed himself to the social and cultural development of Puerto Ricans in New York. He has taught creative writing at universities. His poetry and plays are linguistic and artistic celebrations of Puerto Rican culture, African Caribbean traditions, and life in the city. Laviera writes in English, Spanish, and Spanglish and has been dubbed as a “chronicler of life in El Barrio.”