Hopscotch Translation Series: Raquel Salas Rivera & Urayoán Noel

Please join us for the 4th installment of our Hopscotch Translation Series:
a reading and discussion with
Raquel Salas Rivera & Urayoán Noel


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.

"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!"—CAConrad

RAQUEL SALAS RIVERA is the 2018-19 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia. Their work has appeared in journals such as the the Journal of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (Revista del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña), ApogeePEN Poetry Series and McSweeney’s.  From 2016-2018, they were co-editor of The Wanderer and co-editor of Puerto Rico en mi corazón, a collection of bilingual broadsides of contemporary Puerto Rican poets. In summer 2018, they worked alongside Raena Shirali, Kirwyn Sutherland, and Ashley Davis organizing a festival called We (Too) Are Philly, inspired by Langston Hughes’ poem, “I, Too.” They are the recipient of fellowships and residencies from the Sundance Institute, the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, the Arizona Poetry Center, and CantoMundo.


Is poetry an alternative to or an extension of a globalized language? In Buzzing Hemisphere / Rumor Hemisférico, poet Urayoán Noel maps the spaces between and across languages, cities, and bodies, creating a hemispheric poetics that is both broadly geopolitical and intimately neurological.

In this expansive collection, we hear the noise of cities such as New York, San Juan, and São Paulo abuzz with flickering bodies and the rush of vernaculars as untranslatable as the murmur in the Spanish rumor. Oscillating between baroque textuality and vernacular performance, Noel’s bilingual poems experiment with eccentric self-translation, often blurring the line between original and translation as a way to question language hierarchies and allow for translingual experiences.

A number of the poems and self-translations here were composed on a smartphone, or else de- and re-composed with a variety of smartphone apps and tools, in an effort to investigate the promise and pitfalls of digital vernaculars. Noel’s poetics of performative self-translation operates not only across languages and cultures but also across forms: from the décima and the “staircase sonnet” to the collage, the abecedarian poem, and the performance poem.

In its playful and irreverent mash-up of voices and poetic traditions from across the Americas, Buzzing Hemisphere / Rumor Hemisférico imagines an alternative to the monolingualism of the U.S. literary and political landscape, and proposes a geo-neuro-political performance attuned to damaged or marginalized forms of knowledge, perception, and identity.

Buzzing Hemisphere reflects a fugitive life when ‘in confinement with one’s gadgets as totems.’ This creolized dada, equal parts mischief and convulsive attack, spins out into abecedarian stanzas and décima verses to reflect the dualities of incorporated territory. In Noel’s countercurrent cadences, where ingenuity beguiles command, ‘buzzing hemisphere’ stands for the location of a geopolitical diagnosis, a hereditary condition, and an acoustic prospectus. In poems that bustle with sonic proxies for the Bronx’s Grand Concourse and with the evidence of at least two islands conquered by market forces, Noel leads us through the ‘stateless hum’ of moving bodies—English and Spanish exhibited as to manifest that no rendition is impervious to the disobedient remainder. ‘I’m a mirror image of a hemisphere in shards.’"—Roberto Tejada, author of Full Foreground

URAYOÁN NOEL is a Bronx-based poet, performer, translator, critic, and intermedia artist originally from Río Piedras, Puerto Rico. He is the author of the critical study In Visible Movement: Nuyorican Poetry from the Sixties to Slam (University of Iowa Press, 2014) and seven books of poetry, most recently Buzzing Hemisphere / Rumor Hemisférico (University of Arizona Press, 2015). His work as a translator includes a bilingual edition of the Chilean poet Pablo de Rokha, entitled Architecture of Dispersed Life: Selected Poetry (Shearsman Books, 2018), and No Budu Please by Garifuna/Guatemalan poet Wingston González (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018). Other recent projects include the performance-installation CONTRAERTE (Casa de los Contrafuertes, Puerto Rico, 2017), the improvisational poetry vlog Wokitokiteki (wokitokiteki.com), the concrete text Canto Reversible Reversible Canto (Avagata Kartonera, Paraguay, forthcoming), and collaborations with dancer/performer Alethea Pace and musician/composer Monxo López. Noel is currently an associate professor of English and Spanish at New York University and also teaches at Stetson University's MFA of the Americas.

This event is co-sponsored by the following Departments and Programs:

Department of Global Studies & Modern Languages at Drexel University
Women & Gender Studies Program at Drexel University
Department of English & Philosophy at Drexel Univeristy
Latin American & Latino Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania
Hispanic & Portuguese Studies at the University of Pennsylvania


Event date: 
Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Event address: 
Penn Book Center
130 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Lo Terciario / The Tertiary Cover Image
ISBN: 9781937421274
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Timeless, Infinite Light - April 14th, 2018

Buzzing Hemisphere / Rumor Hemisférico (Camino del Sol ) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780816531684
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Arizona Press - September 24th, 2015

No Budu Please Cover Image
By Wingston Gonzalez, Urayoan Noel (Translator)
ISBN: 9781946433190
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ugly Duckling Presse - December 2018

Architecture of Dispersed Life: Selected Poetry Cover Image
By Pablo de Rokha, Urayoan Noel (Translator)
ISBN: 9781848613775
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Shearsman Books - September 30th, 2018