Raquel Salas Rivera


Raquel Salas Rivera was born in Puerto Rico and grew up there and in the United States. He received a BA from the Universidad de Puerto Rico and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Rivera is the author of several collections of poetry, including antes que isla es volcán/ before island is volcano (Beacon Press, 2022); x/ex/exis (poemas para la nación) (poems for the nation) Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2020), which was selected by Alberto Ríos for the 2018 Ambroggio Prize; while they sleep (under the bed is another country) (Birds, LLC, 2019), which was longlisted for the 2020 PEN America Open Book Award and was a finalist for CLMP’s 2020 Firecracker Award; and lo terciario/the tertiary (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2018), which received the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry and was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry.

Rivera also authored tierra intermitente (Ediciones Alayubia, 2017) and Caneca de anhelos turbios (Editora Educación Emergente, 2011), both of which were published in Puerto Rico. Rivera is co-editor of Puerto Rico en mi corazón (Anomalous Press, 2019), a collection of contemporary Puerto Rican poets.

In 2019, Rivera was named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow and served as the 2018–2019 poet laureate of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He now writes and teaches in Puerto Rico. Source 


what do we eat when a name dies?

yesterday your mother stopped by, but she didn't

recognize me as your friend's friend, the previous one.

what is that about, having a dead friend

in the wallet with a picture of a kidnapped kid?

have you seen my son?

he is short and collects photos of swings.


my short hair isn't professional;

your long hair doesn't prepare you.

between the two of us, we figure out how

to fake we are marionettes, not people.

it's difficult to count the days

since the last time we went out.


what is that about, going out

and not having to explain

you aren't that her

or that thing?


in this, our language,1

there exists no plural that doesn't deny me.


1 our language is spanish. ours, but never quite mine.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




LGBTQ+ Experience

Memory & The Past

Literary Devices:


the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered