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Raquel Salas Rivera Poetry Reading

The University of Kansas Department of Spanish and Portuguese will welcome, Raquel Salas Rivera, 2018 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia and CantoMundo Fellow, for a presentation at the Hall Center for Humanities and a poetry reading at The Raven Book Store on Monday, April 23, 2018.

As a person of mixed ethnicity and heritage born in Mayagϋez, Puerto Rico and based in Philadelphia, identifying as queer and nonbinary (that is, not fitting traditional categories of male or female), Rivera’s poetry pushes political conversations about race, code-switching, sexual/gender identifications, and oppressive social and economic pressures predominantly affecting marginalized communities.

Recently selected in January as the 2018 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, Rivera has a civic responsibility to engage and empower Philadelphia neighborhoods through poetry, readings, and other special community projects. They were selected because of their activism in support of the Philadelphia LGTBQIA+ community and the poet’s eagerness to engage with Philadelphia as a sanctuary city for migrants and immigrants. They want to start a series of poetry readings called “We Too Are Philly,” inspired by Langston Hughes poem “I Too Am America.”

“I have been following Raquel Salas Rivera’s poetry for quite some time. When they were named the 2018 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, I was not surprised. This city has a large Puerto Rican community with an old history, and Rivera’s new title brings to the fore Puerto Ricans’ history and contributions in Philadelphia; and more importantly, recognizes the moving quality and political force of Puerto Rican poetry,” said Santa Arias, Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and co-chair of the Colonialism Seminar.

In their capacity as a PhD candidate of Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, Rivera will speak the University of Kansas Hall Center for the Humanities Colonialism Seminar, discussing her poetry within or in the context of anti-colonial interventions on Puerto Rico before and after Hurricane María. The seminar series examines the history and legacy of colonialism in Latin America and the Caribbean. This event is restricted to KU graduate students, faculty, and staff. Find more information and register to attend at https://hallcenter.ku.edu.

On Monday, April 23, 2018 at 7:00 p.m., Rivera will give an off-campus poetry reading at The Raven Book Store. They will read from Puerto Rico En Mi Corazón, a collection of broadsides of contemporary Puerto Rican poets, in English and in Spanish, co-edited by Rivera. Copies of the book will be sold, and 100% of sales will be donated directly to Taller Salud to assist Puerto Rico in recovering from Hurricane María. 

Danny Caine, owner of The Raven Book Store, says “we’re so thrilled to host a reading by such an inspiring activist and poet. Raquel Salas Rivera does important work and we’re honored to play a small part in bringing them to Lawrence.” The Raven Book Store is located at 6 E 7th St, Lawrence, KS 66044. The reading is free and open to the public, and a light reception will follow.

The poetry reading is sponsored by the University of Kansas Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Department of English, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, Office of Multicultural Affairs, GRASP, Latin American Graduate Organization, and Latin American Student Union.

For more information, please visit spanport.ku.edu or contact Aron Muci at aron.muci@ku.edu.

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