Bronx poet provides a global outlet amid pandemic


A Bronx woman has found a unique way to battle the struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic and the year-long quarantine that’s followed through poetry and prose. 

Her ability to combat this dark time also lifts up others from around the globe.

Caridad de la Luz, of the Bronx, spends her Thursday nights with poets; she hosts an open mic café that started at the Nuyorican Poets Café on the Lower East Side.

A year ago, the pandemic prompted her to launch the weekly sessions online, with people from around the world. 

She’s no stranger to performing. Her mom, Nilsa, set the stage for her as a little girl.

The mother-daughter duo, originally from Puerto Rico, salsa danced their way through life’s biggest hurdles, including major medical procedures.

Their biggest challenge came in March 2020, when the world shutdown.

“Just surviving was worry enough, I  have two children in the workforce and in society and maintaining health and covid free,” said Caridad.

She said she turns to her family’s traditions and healing rituals to stay healthy, and her 73-year-old mom sees her through.

“She’s my healer, she taught me and she still is and she helped me get through this pandemic,” said Caridad.

So did the hundreds of poets who join de la Luz on the international microphone, a virtual experience that’s grown through her social media pages and word of mouth. 

It gives performers an outlet to navigate through the past year’s events, from political woes to social injustice.

“We were able to make sense — through poetry — of the trauma we were all suffering,” said Caridad.

The poetry sessions fill up quickly, and even when the Lower Easy Side Nuyorican Poets Café reopens, Caridad said she’ll continue her online global experience as a way to help others while giving her the fuel she needs.

“When the teacher knows to be a student, that’s a really important knowing,” said Caridad. “It is a medium that really speaks of the soul and puts the fingers on the pulse of humanity.”

For more, visit Caridad de la Luz’ website here, or Nuyorican Poets Café here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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