Raquel Salas Rivera was born in Puerto Rico and grew up there and in the United States. He received a BA from the Universidad de Puerto Rico and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.
Rivera is the author of several collections of poetry, including antes que isla es volcán/ before island is volcano (Beacon Press, 2022); x/ex/exis: poemas para la nación (poems for the nation) (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2020), which was selected by Alberto Ríos for the 2018 Ambroggio Prize; while they sleep (under the bed is another country) (Birds, LLC, 2019), which was longlisted for the 2020 PEN America Open Book Award and was a finalist for CLMP’s 2020 Firecracker Award; and lo terciario/the tertiary (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2018), which received the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry and was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry.
Rivera also authored tierra intermitente (Ediciones Alayubia, 2017) and Caneca de anhelos turbios (Editora Educación Emergente, 2011), both of which were published in Puerto Rico. Rivera is co-editor of Puerto Rico en mi corazón (Anomalous Press, 2019), a collection of contemporary Puerto Rican poets.
In 2019, Rivera was named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow and served as the 2018–2019 poet laureate of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He now writes and teaches in Puerto Rico.