Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, Raquel Salas Rivera, Kicks Off HFU Distinguished Writers Series

raquel salas rivera

Raquel Salas Rivera, Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate and award-winning poet and author, will be the inaugural speaker for Holy Family University’s Distinguished Writers Series on Monday, October 28 at 6:30 pm in the University’s Education & Technology Center’s (ETC) Auditorium, a free event open to the public.

“We’re excited to launch this Speaker’s Series and honored to have the Poet Laureate of Philadelphia as our inaugural guest,” said Dr. Rochelle Robbins, Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences at Holy Family. “Our students will be enriched by the opportunity to hear from this remarkable writer, and they’ll have the chance to learn more about the poet’s process and their sources of inspiration.”

Rivera (they/them/theirs) is the author of six chapbooks and four collections of poetry: Caneca de anhelo turbios (Editora Educación Emergente, 2011), tierra intermitente (Ediciones Alayubia, 2017), both published in Puerto Rico; lo terciario/the tertiary (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2018), which was nominated for the National Book Award; and x/ex/exis (poemas para la nación) (Bilingual Press/ Editorial Bilingüe, forthcoming 2019), winner of the first Ambroggio Prize from the Academy of American Poets.

Of their work, informed by Leftist politics as well as Spanish language literary traditions, Rivera has said, “There are poems like solidarities. This is the most ideal case. It makes people reach out to me, like after a reading, when I write something and other Boricuas are like, ‘This poem about the debt made me cry.’ When I see them cry, and they're thanking me for writing it, that's not just a poem. It becomes larger than itself. It becomes an interaction in the world, which is doing a kind of political work.”

Rivera is also co-editor of Puerto Rico en mi corazon, a collection of bilingual broadsides of contemporary Puerto Rican poets. In 2019, they were named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow.

The HFU Distinguished Writers Series is dedicated to promoting diversity, social awareness, critical thinking, as well as furthering Holy Family University’s mission and core values of community, respect, integrity, experiential learning, vision, and service. Upcoming speakers in the series will be announced soon.