LATINO VOICES

Tato Laviera Dead: Nuyorican Poet Dies at 63

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 20:  Honoree Jesus 'Tato' Laviera speaks at the American Diabetes Association Hosts Live The Good Life Awa
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 20: Honoree Jesus 'Tato' Laviera speaks at the American Diabetes Association Hosts Live The Good Life Awards Gala at Pier 60 on October 20, 2006 at the Chelsea Piers in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

Tato Laviera lost his sight, but not his vision. His acclaimed poems and plays captured the rhythms and language of Puerto Rico and the Lower East Side — his twin loves — with equal measures of protest, playfulness and hope.

When health problems briefly left him homeless in 2010, he took part in poetry readings with residents of the shelter where he stayed. “I can create here, and that makes me feel liberated,” he said in an interview at the time. “Being here has given me the spirit of continuity and centrality, and that’s better than a salary.”

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