Longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award
Selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best poetry books of 2018
lo terciario/the tertiary. Timeless, Infinite Light, 2018.
Written in response the PROMESA bill (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act) bill, lo terciario/the tertiary offers a decolonial queer critique and reconsideration of Marx. The book’s titles come from Pedro Scaron’s, El Capital, the 1976 translation of Karl Marx’s classic. Published by Siglo Veintiuno Editores, this translation was commonly used by the Puerto Rican left as part of political formation programs. Lo terciario/the tertiary places this text in relation to the Puerto Rican debt crisis, forcing readers to reconsider old questions when facing colonialism’s newest horrors.
“Raquel Salas Rivera’s poetry is a tongue of flame. Like flame, the poems collected here are capable of so much: They keep me warm when I am otherwise cold, they light a path when I am otherwise lost, and they give me shelter when I am otherwise very far from home. When I read their work, I feel understood and I feel able to understand others in a way that’s beyond bodily experience. Salas Rivera is a torchbearer and the tertiary is their torch. I will follow them wherever they lead.”
—Colette Arrand, author of Hold Me Gorilla Monsoon
“This book digs holes in one’s heart, from which these poems bloom luminous incantations, illuminations, and emotions that only Raquel Salas Rivera could incite. This book should be required reading. The tertiary is a shimmering spell of golden coquís to ‘defend…against the piercing tedium of colonization.’ This book makes me want to start a riot against the colonist-state that doesn’t end until we’re free. This book is a brick that smashes the glass house of the west. It’s a fearless, bioluminescent love-letter to Puerto Rico, written in a lived, blood-kissed Boricua truth. This book sets a deep fire with its call to action: a resounding call for decolonization. Reading this book felt akin to swimming, the way I had to hold my breath so often. I held this book and wept as it washed over me.”
—Angel Dominguez, author of Black Lavender Milk
“Like no poet I have ever read, Raquel Salas Rivera talks to Marx via the monstrous colonial devastation of Puerto Rico. This genius poet also speaks to Trotsky who said workers could not make art. Here is one of the most riveting, beautifully written declarative poetics of our lives! A fierce document that fully transfers its radical transformative powers into our bones!”
–CA Conrad, author of While Standing in Line for Death
Interviews that discuss the tertiary