Published On: Tue, Dec 7th, 2010

Capicu Community Interview: Professor / Poet Carlos Manuel Rivera

Carly Capicu Community Interview: Professor/Poet Carlos Manuel Rivera 

PaPo: Introductions are in order…tell us a little bit about yourself.

Carlos: I am Carlos Manuel “Carlitos” Rivera from Santurce, Puerto Rico. I grew up in Río Piedras, and studied at the University of Puerto, Río Piedras Campus from 1980-1987. I finished a Bachelor degree in Drama and Hispanic Studies. I come from the  middle class, my parents were hard workers. My dad worked for years in the Water Company as a surveyor and my mom worked for private enterprises as an accounting clerk. Then, when I finished college, I went to Spain through a Study Abroad Program at  NYU, obtaining a Masters degree in Hispanic Literature (1988). I came back Puerto Rico and started to be a Spanish college professor until today. After that, I moved to Tempe, Arizona where I obtained a Ph D in Spanish majoring in Latin American and Puerto Rican Theater at Arizona State University (2000). I lived in North Carolina working in Davidson College (2000-2008) near Charlotte. I moved New York City in 2008, now working in Bronx Community College (CUNY), as a Spanish Associate Professor. 

PaPo: Aside from all that, what is the one thing you'd like for people to remember about you?

Carlos: Since 1979 I began to be an actor when I was 14 years working for community theater in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1980 when I studied in UPR, Rio Piedras, I started to write poetry and continued to perform my own poetry as well as acting for different professional productions. I did television, radio, and film until 1995 when I moved to Arizona. I have performed in Puerto Rico, USA, and Mexico, as well as I lectured about my performance work and my theater research in Dominican Republic, Chile, Colombia, Perú, and Spain.

PaPo: What are some of the inspirations and motivations behind your creative work?

Carlos: Some inspirations to me are: the classic, the modern, and the Avant Garde, especially the Spanish poets: Ramón Del Valle Inclán, Juan Ramón Jiménez and Federico García Lorca, and the Latin American writers: Jorge Luis Borges and Rubén Darío. From Puerto Rico my favorite are Luis Palés Matos, Julia de Burgos, Francisco Matos Paoli, Pedro Pietri, and Angela María Dávila, who also was my close friend until her death. My published book is Soplo mágicos disparates (I Blow Magical Non Senses), Orbis Press, 2004. I use pseudonym Carboinael Rixema, which I play with it as an imagined poet and writer within my creative and scholarly writing. Today my project is “ASI MI NATION”, which I recorded a CD contains various poems from the book as well as new poems. This project is about the Puerto Rican voiceless and subaltern, which were not included in the cultural and political national discourse because of their race, political vision, class, language, and gender. According to this, they affected the patriarchy and Creole bourgeoisie in order to construct and to imagine a homogeneous Puerto Rican Nation. The Puerto Rican Nation would have to be masculine, heterosexual, Hispanic (Spanish language without interference of the English), bourgeois, and with a race from European descendants. "The Other" within the Nation would be a Trouble Maker that cannot be accepted.

PaPo: Tell us about your first time performing… in that experience, what stood out?

Carlos: My first performance as an actor was in 1979 when I was 14 years. My first poetry performance of my own was in 1985 with the Puerto Rican poet, Daisy Mora de León in the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. It was amazing and I love to perform. I think this is my life's heart and I’m very passionate about that. 

PaPo: How did you first hear about the Capicu Open Mic?  

Carlos: I met the people (of Capicu) by facebook and personally. They have become my FAMILY because I participated in their events as an open mic poet or a featured performer. They are so kind people, lovely , and friendly. Now, there is a big movement of Poetry, Spoken Words, Performance Art, Visual Art, Fiction Literature of many of us, led by the magnificent brothers, sisters , and colleagues, like: Charlie Vásquez, Raúl Ríos, La Bruja, Mike Geffner, Vanessa Mártir, Papo “Swiggity” Santiago, Divino Di Negro, Steven “Callejero”Maldonado, Mark Vigo, and Blaze A Page. Thanks to of all you, you are doing amazing work. Blessings to them!! VIVA NUESTRO TRABAJO y PA’ ALANTE LATINOS!!! 

PaPo Swiggity Santiago
Capicu Poetry & Cultural Showcase

anilogosmall.gif picture by PaPoSwIgGiTy

Capicu Community Interview: Professor / Poet Carlos Manuel Rivera