Tongue in Flames is testimony to the submerged poetic vitality of New York, from the early 1990s to the early 2000s. A nocturnal foray into the spaces dedicated to poetry: Nuyorican Poets Café, St. Mark’s Church, Fez Cafe, the Bowery Poetry Club and many others.

The Nuyorican Poets Café, whose purpose has always been to provide a stage for the artists traditionally under-represented in the mainstream media and culture, is the cradle of the weekly Poetry Slams Competitions, an improvised challenge of performed verses, a free and lively stage that hosts great artists and great strangers on the same level. Poetry Slams can feature a broad range of voices, styles, cultural traditions, and approaches to writing and performance.

Bob Holman, a poetry activist and former slam-master of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and founder of the Bowery Poetry Club, once called the movement “the democratization of verse”

A new group of Nuyorican poets and movements emerged from the readings at the café. Some of these artists are: Willie Perdomo, Sapphire, Maggie Estep, Tracie Morris, Dana Bryant, Reg. E. Gaines, Paul Beatty, Edwin Torres, Emanuel Xavier, Amiri Baraka, Ishmael Reed, Nozake Shange, Zoraida Santiago, Keven Powell, Cheryl B., and poetry activists such as Bob Holman, Saul Williams, Sarah Jones, and Beau Sia.