My journey as a writer was inspired by the lives around me and the tribe of women who continuously work to support each other. My craft is dedicated to penning their stories of hardships and triumphs, so we will always remember our history and humanity in its truest form.
Divided into four sections, Heathen is a unified collection of poetry satisfying both intellectual and emotional appetites. The vocabulary, phrasing, and figurative lan- guage prove author R. Flowers Rivera to be a master of technique. A few of the poems include "Black English" suggesting that they are universal in their application.
Review for Heathen
In Heathen, R. Flowers Rivera remixes the classical and the Biblical, the usual and the typical until what we thought we knew of ourselves and others is new again. The mythic becomes particular; the particular becomes mythic in these fascinating poems of personalities and personas. Rivera’s work is rich in empathy and invention. Heathen is a book of psalms for the present day.
– Terrance Hayes, author of Lighthead, Wind in a Box, and Hip Logic
R. Flowers Rivera's Troubling Accents is an impressive act of storytelling and at times ventriloquism. With a compelling mix of tenderness and ambivalence, yearning and loss, the poems embrace 'brutal and beautiful' human experience and histories, returning often to the subjectivity of black Southerners, women in particular. The insights these poems offer are grounded in Rivera's evocative images, her diction that weds the vernacular and the formal, and her sustained attention to voice/persona. The subjects and scenes of the poems vary widely and wildly—flirtation at a funeral, the silence in a family surrounding one member's death [complicated by] AIDS, domestic violence, conflicted love and sexuality, the indomitable Bessie Smith, and more. What remains constant through the collection is Rivera's gift for upending expectations and exposing each moment's facade." —Shara McCallum, author and Director of Stadler Center for Poetry
Review for Troubling Accents
“R. Flowers Rivera's poems come up from the delta, like so much of America's great music and literature, sustained by beans and greens, hot grease and hooch. Sassy backwater gal and blues mama, adept formalist and innovative improvisateur, Rivera is a poet whose eye attends to history, and whose ear attends to the pleasures of song.”
—D. A. Powell, author of Tea, Lunch, and Cocktails
Listen to my work
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