I got word on this yesterday but wanted to wait until something more official came through before reporting it. See the info below….
Piri Thomas, a Latin American poet and novelist who gave lyrical voice to the “gente” of New York City’s barrios, has died. He was 83.
A longtime resident of the city, Thomas gained fame for his 1967 best seller, “Down These Mean Streets,” an unvarnished account of racism and economic hardship he experienced while growing up in old Harlem’s rough-and-tumble blocks.
“I feel a profound loss for my father. And it’s a loss for the community, as well,” said his stepdaughter, Renee Shank, 33. “All of his children are so incredibly proud of the person that he was during his life.”
He was born in Harlem Hospital to a Puerto Rican mother and a Cuban father. He fell in with the wrong crowd and was once arrested for armed robbery. He was sentenced to 15 years, and served seven between Sing Sing and an upstate prison….
For those who have never read his powerful memoir, Down These Mean Streets, or his equally strong prose, check out the NPR report that summarizes Mr. Thomas’ life and writing below….
Read more here: Piri Thomas, Latin American poet and novelist who wrote on NYC’s barrios, dead at age 83.