This poetry and spoken-word collective initially started in 1994 as a poetry series at the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park called “Taco Shop Poetry,” hosted by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez. At one point, it grew to a collective of over 30 poets, band members, and performance artists who founded and utilized El Campo Ruse on 16th Street in downtown’s East Village as their home base.
The Taco Shop Poets are often credited with single-handedly reviving, redefining, and revolutionizing the face of spoken word. They employ a very aggressive style of "guerilla" poetry often noted for having an improvisational nature, with the consciousness of punk and the directness of hip-hop.
In 2002, members of the Taco Shop Poets and other like-minded individuals came together to create an artistic space in which to house and develop art. That artistic space came to be known as the nonprofit organization Voz Alta. Although the poets as a collective are no longer active on Voz Alta's board, most members participate in the Voz Alta movement as it continues to host events and artists.