This week’s New York City Planning Commission’s approval of rezoning East Harlem is expected to usher in sweeping changes to the neighborhood known as El Barrio for its mostly Spanish-speaking residents. Poet Melissa Castillo-Garsow, Ph.D., GSAS ’11, foresaw the change and portrayed it in her poem “El Barrio,” which she performed at the Sept. 25 Poets Out Loud reading.

Castillo-Garsow said she wrote the poem while living in the area as a student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Latin American and Latino Studies Institute.


Tom Stoelker is senior staff writer and visual media coordinator for Fordham News. After fifteen years as a freelance designer, Tom shifted his focus to writing and photography. He graduated from Lehman College, CUNY where he majored in English literature and photography and he received his master's in journalism from Columbia University. His work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Wall Street Journal, and The Architect's Newspaper, where he was associate editor.