Louis Reyes Rivera Known as the Janitor of History, poet/essayist Louis Reyes Rivera has been studying the craft of writing since 1960 and teaching it since 1969. The recipient of over 20 awards, including a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (2003), a Lifetime Achievement Award (1995), a Special Congressional Recognition Award (1988), and the CCNY 125th Anniversary Medal (1973) --each of which were given in recognition of his scholarship and impact on contemporary literature-- Rivera has assisted in the publication of well over 200 books, including Adal Maldonado's Portraits of the Puerto Rican Experience (IPRUS, 1984), John Oliver Killens' Great Black Russian (Wayne State U., 1989), and Bum Rush The Page: A Def Poetry Jam (Crown Publishers, 2001), co-edited with Tony Medina.
An internationally recognized literary figure with translations of his work appearing in the Russian, Latvian, Spanish and Italian languages, Rivera has been consistently viewed by many as a living bridge between the African and Latino American communities. He has distinguished himself as a professor of Creative Writing, Pan-African Literature, African-American Culture and History, Caribbean History, Puerto Rican History, and Nuyorican Literature, and has taught these courses at such institutions as SUNY@Stony Brook, Hunter College, College of New Rochelle, LaGuardia College, Pratt Institute, and Boricua College, among others. As well, he has completed the translation of Clemente Soto Veléz's Caballo de Palo/Broomstick Stallion, and was presently working on the collected poems of Otto Rene Castillo of Guatemala, Por el bien de todos/For the good of all.
Over the past 28 years, his essays and poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Areyto, Boletin (Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter), The City Sun, African Voices, and in several award-winning collections: In Defense of Mumia; ALOUD: Live from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe; Of Sons And Lovers; and his own Scattered Scripture, for which he received the 1997 Poetry Award from the Latin American Writers Institute.
Since 1996, Louis Reyes Rivera hosted a reading series in Brooklyn, 1st & 3rd Sundays Jazzoetry & Open Mic @ Sistas' Place (where he continues to conduct a writing workshop), and has appeared in Jazz clubs and festivals with The Sun Ra All-Stars Project, Ahmed Abdullah's Diaspora, Ebonic Tones, the James Spaulding Ensemble, and his own band, The Jazzoets. He appeared on the Peabody award-winning HBO show, DEF POETRY JAM, and was heard every Thursday, at 2pm, on radio station WBAI (99.5 FM) hosting PERSPECTIVE (streamed at wbai.org/ archives).
Louis Reyes Rivera