The Free Library's Center for Public Life is thrilled to announce the 2018–2019 Philadelphia Poet Laureate—Raquel Salas Rivera, a Puerto Rican poet and translator who writes in both English and Spanish.
Raquel will kick off their tenure—joined by current Youth Poet Laureate Husnaa Hashim, a senior at Mastery Charter School Shoemaker Campus—with a performance at the Library's Monday Poets Reading Series, which due to weather has been rescheduled to TOMORROW NIGHT—Tuesday, January 9—at 6:30 p.m., held in Room 108 of the Parkway Central Library at 1901 Vine Street.
Raquel’s work has appeared in journals such as the Revista del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, Apiary, Apogee, BOAAT, and the Boston Review. They are the author of Caneca de anhelos turbios (Editora Educación Emergente) and tierra intermitente (Ediciones Alayubia). Their third full-length book lo terciario/the tertiary is forthcoming in 2018 from Timeless, Infinite Light. Currently, they are coeditor of The Wanderer and Puerto Rico en mi corazón, a collection of bilingual broadsides of contemporary Puerto Rican poets published by Anomalous Press, for which 100 percent of sales will be donated directly to Taller Salud to assist Puerto Rico in recovering from Hurricane Maria. Raquel has raised money and organized relief efforts for Puerto Rican LGBQTIA evacuees, while continuing to build strong ties between Philadelphia and Puerto Rico.
They were selected from a competitive pool of applicants by the Poet Laureate Governing Committee and will serve in the role for two years. Raquel will succeed Yolanda Wisher, who has served as Poet Laureate since 2016.
The City of Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate program moved under the auspices of the Free Library’s new Center for Public Life in the fall of 2017. The Poet Laureate is a civic position that recognizes an exceptional poet who also demonstrates a commitment to the power of poetry to engage and inspire people throughout Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. In addition to the Poet Laureate position, the program also supports a new Youth Poet Laureate each year—an honor that comes with an educational scholarship. The Poet Laureate mentors the Youth Poet Laureate, who represents the voice of Philadelphia’s young poets. Both poets engage with Philadelphia citizens through readings, events, and a special project of their choosing.
We are thrilled to celebrate poetry with Raquel over the new two years and to see the vibrant ways they engage our city in the power of poetry.