This teaching guide focuses on the life and work of “revolutionary poet” Clemente Soto Vélez. The guide is built around the documentary, “Clemente Soto Vélez: A Revolt through Letters,” a film that traces major moments in the life of Soto Vélez, from experiences in his early school years that were to mark the course of his life until his passing in San Juan in 1993. Six critical moments in Clemente’s life are brought to life through words, images (photographs and video clips) and music. Although we learn about Clemente through his own words, mostly it is from testimonials offered by those who were closest to him. Students will learn about Clemente’s work in New York City as a community organizer who created spaces where people could gather, learn and plan community activism and who took under his wings Puerto Rican artists, educators, and writers in their formative years like Pedro Pietri, Tato Laviera, and Sandra Maria Esteves.
Clemente Soto Vélez was a Puerto Rican revolutionary poet, journalist, and activist in New York and Puerto Rico. This documentary explores the life of this controversial man with an emphasis on his contributions to community, literacy and cultural identity, his political activism, and his undying support for the arts.