Alberto Cappas

Alberto Cappas


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Cappas is a relentless observer and commentator of what happens when a people leave their

homeland, or forget where they come from, to pursue the uncertainties of the American Dream.



Books By Puerto Rican Poet/Writer, Alberto O. Cappas  

The Pledge  /  Doña Julia and Other Selected Poems  / Never Too Late to Make a U-Turn  / Lessons for Myself

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Doña Julia and Other Selected Poems

By Alberto O. Cappas


Clear. Natural. Poignant. These words accurately describe Alberto O. Cappas’ work.


Cappas understands the suffering and struggles of Puerto Ricans living in Mainland America as well as in Puerto Rico. His poetry traces their hopes, problems, and misconceptions from the island to the mainland where they discover that dreams do die hard.

In the poem “Suicide of a Puerto Rican Jibaro,” one need not be Puerto Rican to identify with the alienation faced when entering a cold, foreign, and jungle-like world. Cappas successfully explores what such a drastic change can mean for a Puerto Rican away from his island, where he is the majority. In “…Jibaro,” for the Puerto Rican man who emigrates to the United States, “A million times his body was raped by the unfriendly cold… to pursue the American Dream…”

Cappas is a relentless observer and commentator of what happens when a people leave their homeland, or forget where they come from, to pursue the uncertainties of the American Dream. His poetry, ironic at times, questions whether this dream does exist. In “A Spoken Secret,” “Light skin Puerto Ricans forget to speak Spanish… and dark skin Puerto Ricans adopt hot combs to straighten their hair.” In “Doña Julia,” a woman is trapped like a mouse in America and so commits suicide as a last attempt to return to her homeland. And in “Maria,” a young girl sits patiently thinking about her experiences in New York since leaving Puerto Rico and now waits “for the overdose (of a drug) to take effect.”

Of course this is not to say that all Puerto Ricans who emigrate to the United States end up killing themselves but it does show that Cappas is keenly aware of a sort of cultural and spiritual death that happens to Puerto Ricans and other Latinos when they leave the tropical scenes and adopt certain American values. In the ironic humorous poem, “Her Boricua,” a woman buys the Moon, tax-free, and invites her relatives and friends on weekend nights to “admire the beauty of her new possession.” She tells them that in America, “you have the freedom to buy anything you want.”

“Haiti in Puerto Rico” explores the death theme even further. “I recited useless words of a poem to an audience of Puerto Ricans, turned into zombies, refusing to break the spell of all the misfortunes.”

Doña Julia and Other Poems by Alberto O. Cappas is a book filled with poetic stories, forceful and powerful imagery and messages that will stimulate all minds that come into contact with it. Cappas’ language is original and refreshing, which makes his writing very natural and uncluttered with abstractions. Cappas is correct, knows what he needs to say and clearly makes his point.

–Jaira Placide, New York University

About Alberto Cappas’ Poetry (From the Voice of the People)

An extremely heart felt and thought provoking insight. Absolutely brilliant! Bravo!—Stella Nkwanga (from the website)

Congratulations! Maria’s Journey is so believable. Anyone can write, but to make the reader feel and believe is a gift. Great job!—Barbara Savage (from the website)

Cappas’ poetry comes from the heart and the soul. Cappas truly captures the everyday people’s hopes, dreams, and fears. I’m fortunate to know him – as a friend and as a poet”—Pedro Cordero, Bronx, NY

This is an excellent poet, full of depth and meaning. Beautiful! For me, rhyme is just another tool. Not necessary…sometimes nice. It is the inner vision that flows through a piece, how it speaks to you, which really matters! Stunning work here. Love the flow and the vision you’ve created. Enjoying all of your poetry. You are so gifted!—T.L. Stokes, Novato, California

Que Dios te bendigo mi hermano! Your poems are slamming! I am also Puerto Rican and I’ve yet to tap into that side of my poetry. You’re making me think, hermano! Keep up the fabulous work!—Melissa Mendez, Nutley, New Jersey

Alberto Cappas is a wordsmith that paints images this side of the spiritual.  Those images invoke the hope and betrayal in our legacy to our youth.—Hugo Guzman, Washington Heights, NY

Wonderfully deep! Your poems make me have to stop and think about what your really saying. Thanks for keeping the wheels turning in my head. A playwright would find gold in your material—Frank W. Berger, Riverdale, NY

Words are the most constructive or destructive instruments to nurture or discourage the potential in every child. I really appreciate the gift that God has given to you to express this truth. I could almost feel the force of the waterfall in your words. I can relate to the feeling —so overwhelming.—Anthony Camacho, Bronx, NY

I’m a teenager in today’s society. It’s not easy to always keep your goals in front of you. I’ve lost touch with some of my goals, Thank you for reminding me of them. You put the right feelings into your words. Keep it up!—Beverly (from the website)

Your poems are a true ode for all parents and children – If only people would take the time to believe all that is written within your work. Keep up the inspirational writing – it is worth more then gold!—Ramona Montalvo, San Diego, California

You are a very deep and thought provoking writer – a reality check as well. Your talent shines through your poems. I intend to read many more. Thank you!—Elaina Silva, California

I have read many of your poems. Your expressions speak volumes. The poem “Hide and Seek” especially touches my heart. You are an excellent writer.—Patricia Oehme, Kansas

You left your reader wanting to read more—but that is the gift of a good writer.—Sylvia Lukeman, founding member, Poets Who Care, Liverpool, England, Great Britain

Alberto’s poetry was written in a time of innocence, rebellion and change. His poems are like short stories full of characters and situations that we can relate to. Finally, they have no time barrier and will be read by many generations of Latinos.—J. Enrique Rodriguez, Bronx, NY

Alberto encapsulates the essence of the soul. Read it, enjoy it – share it!—Angelica Aquino, journalist & attorney, New York City, NY

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Alberto O. Cappas, a published poet and writer, was born in Puerto Rico, raised in New York City where he attended public schools, graduating from Brandeis High School and Harlem Prep School. he graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and lived in the city of Buffalo for over 20 years before moving back to the Big Apple in 1987, where he now resides with his wife, Mayra Vega Cappas, in the East Village.

He is the author of Doña Julia and Other Selected Poems (2008); Never Too Late to Make a U-Turn  (2009), Lessons for Myself (2008); and “The Pledge: A Guide for Everyday Living” (2001)

The educational pledge is designed for students enrolled inner-city public school system. both the English and Spanish versions, have been widely published in the United States and widely used by the ducational community including community-based organizations and educational institutions.

Albert’s poetry has been included in numerous anthologies and publications throughout the United States, Canada, Republic of China, and India.

Alberto is the Director of Community Affairs for the New York City Human Resources Administration; publisher founder of The New Tomorrow (TNT), a monthly publication for African American and Latino students; founder of Don Pedro Cookies; and, founder of Nubian Speakers [212-862-4822], a speaker’s bureau marketing African American & Latino professionals, including poets and writers. Cappas Bio

Available for speaking engagements— or Tel. 212-862-4822 and/or 718-916-8251

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011  


#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as “the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field ‘cut their teeth’.”

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 17 November 2010 




Home  Guest Poets   Inside the Caribbean

Related files:  Doña Julia Review   Cappas Bio  Nubian Voices     Doña Julia    Her Borinquen   Haiti in Puerto Rico  My Home  Never Too Late to Make a U-Turn

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