Raquel Salas Rivera: “poets per square foot”

Poet Raquel Salas Rivera’s work, “poets per square foot,” was featured this month in Words without Borders. The author recently won the 2022 Juan Felipe Herrera Best Poetry Book Award at the International Latino Book Award. [See previous post Antes que la isla…] Words without Borders writes:

Congratulations to Raquel Salas Rivera, winner of the 2022 Juan Felipe Herrera Best Poetry Book Award at the International Latino Book Award! Rivera’s “Poets per square foot” (translated by the author) rounds out our series on queer Puerto Rican poets. Described by Cristina Pérez Díaz as “provokingly epic,” Rivera’s poems summon the muse, queer Caeneus, and the persistence of poets. 

poets per square foot

Translated from Spanish by the author. In three epic and defiantly celebratory poems, Raquel Salas Rivera—in his own translations—summons the muse, queer Caeneus, and the persistence of poets.

“someone asks if i feel i’m a poet.
we don’t have a national press, i answer.
we don’t have a national press and sometimes,
never watered, we burn books before
they go to print, thinking who reads poetry
from puerto rico in puerto rico.”

Read “poets per square foot.”

Raquel Salas Rivera (Mayagüez, 1985) is a Puerto Rican poet, translator, and editor. His honors include being named Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, the New Voices Award from the Festival de la Palabra, the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry, the inaugural Ambroggio Prize, the Laureate Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship to translate the poetry of his grandfather, Sotero Rivera Avilés. He is the author of six full-length poetry books, which have been longlisted and shortlisted for the National Book Award, the Pen America Open Book Award, and the CLMP Firecracker Award. He works as investigator and head of the translation team for El proyecto de la literatura puertorriqueña/ The Puerto Rican Literature Project (PRLP), a free, bilingual, user-friendly and open access digital portal that anyone can use to learn about and teach Puerto Rican poetry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s