On Monday, March 2, from 6–8 p.m., The Department of Literature and Languages at Texas A&M University-Commerce will host a reading and Q&A session by award-winning poet and McKinney resident, R. Flowers Rivera. Dr. Rivera will read from her newest book of poetry, “Heathen,” published in February 2015 by Lotus Press and distributed by Wayne State University. The poetry reading event will take place in room 203 of the Hall of Languages and is free to the public. Books will be available for purchase by cash or check.
Rivera’s first poetry collection, “Troubling Accents,” was published in July 2013 by Xavier Review Press and earned a nomination from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters and the 2014 Poetry Book of the Year award by the Texas Association of Authors. Rivera’s manuscript for “Heathen” was the recipient of the 2015 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award.
Heathen is a collection of poems that are split into four sections. The first two sections provide a modern examination of Greek Mythology in terms of race, gender, and Southern culture.
“I know the term revisionist mythology sounds high-brow,” Rivera said. “I just wanted a new way to explore these myths through the lenses of race, gender, and Southern culture. I became lost in all the ways the myths could be adapted as poems to reveal new perspectives, new voices.”
Rivera is a native of Mississippi. She completed a Ph.D. in English at Binghamton University, and an M.A. in English at Hollins University, in addition to an M.S. at Georgia State University and a B.S. at the University of Georgia. Her work has been anthologized in “Mischief, Caprice & Other Poetic Strategies” and published in journals such as African American Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Columbia, Feminist Studies, Obsidian, and The Southern Review. Her short story, “The Iron Bars,” won the 1999 Peregrine Prize. Rivera was a finalist for the May Swenson Award, the Journal Intro Award, the Naomi Long Madgett Award, the Gary Snyder Memorial Award, and the Paumanok Poetry Award, as well as a nominee for The Pushcart Prize. Rivera was awarded the 2009 Leo Love Merit Scholarship in Poetry in association with the Taos Summer Writers Conference.