lo terciario / the tertiary

Raquel Salas Rivera

Raquel Salas Rivera is the 2018-19 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia. They are the inaugural recipient of the Ambroggio Prize and the Laureate Fellowship, both from the Academy of American Poets. They are also the author of six chapbooks and five full-length poetry books. Their fourth book, lo terciario/the tertiary, was on the 2018 National Book Award Longlist and won the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry. Their fifth book, while they sleep (under the bed is another country), was published by Birds, LLC in 2019. They received their Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory from the University of Pennsylvania. Raquel loves and lives for Puerto Rico, Philadelphia, and a world free of white supremacy.

About lo terciario / the tertiary

Written in response to the PROMESA bill (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act) Bill, lo terciario / the tertiary ofers a decolonial queer critique and reconsideration of Marx. The book’s title comes 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. This re-release of lo tercario / the tertiary features a new introduction by Urayoán Noel and images by José Ortiz Pagán.

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. Rivera is a torchbearer and lo terciario / the tertiary is their torch. I will follow them wherever they lead.

Collette Arrand

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!


lo terciario / the tertiary, de Raquel Salas es un respuesta contestataria y subversiva de varios discursos de la izquierda tradicional: una laguna generacional entre la autora y su madre, y el abismo que divide a las cada vez menos comunidades comunistas en el insospechado contexto de una isla destrozada por su perpetua condición de colonia. Pero, ¿qué es la izquierda marxista? ¿Qué es realmente ante los ojos de aquellos que lo han vivido desde adentro y que ahora lo ven desde la distancia? ¿Se puede traducir a Marx para toda una nueva generación? Ciertamente. Si existe posibilidad de hacerlo, es gracias a la poesía

Eiric R. Durandal StormCrow

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. lo terciario / 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

$21 Paperback | Publication Date August 1, 2019
ISBN 9781934819821