lo terciario/the tertiary

2018 Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry

Longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award

Selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best poetry books of 2018

lo terciario/the tertiary. 2nd Ed., Noemi Press, 2019.
Introduction by Urayoán Noel
Images by José Ortiz Pagán

1st Ed., Timeless, Infinite Light, 2018 (RIP 2019).

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.

Colette Arrand, author of Hold Me Gorilla Monsoon

“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.”

Angel Dominguez, author of Black Lavender Milk

“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.”

CA Conrad, author of While Standing in Line for Death

“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!”

Interviews that discuss the tertiary

Shondaland (interviewed by Candace Williams)


WHYY Radio Times

WHYY (“Philly poet laureate writes verse on Puerto Rican debt”)

NPR’s Latino USA


Latino Book Review

Philly Weekly

Breaking Waves



el roommate

Salon literario del Festival de la Palabra

Jacket 2

80 grados

the Wilds

Publishers Weekly

Laura entre mundos literarios