Alfredo Matilla Rivas (PR Books #8)

yo no soy novia de nadie by Alfredo Matilla Rivas (Editorial Renopla, 1973).

Alfredo Matilla Rivas (1938-2001) was a renowned diaspora poet and playwright, as well as Pedro Pietre’s translator into Spanish. A comprehensive biography for him is here, and they say: “In literature, he published two books of poetry, titled Yo no soy novia de nadie (1973) and Catálogo de locos (1978). In his verses, he used a prosaic tone to describe both the social and political conditions of Puerto Ricans.” He taught at University of Buffalo, and they wrote a comprehensive obituary for him here. It looks like none of his poems are available in English.

This book looks interesting, especially because of it’s socio/cultural/political critique and presentation – advertisements from Puerto Rican periodicals are juxtaposed with poems that deal either obliquely or overtly with the cultural transformation of Puerto Rico into an Americanized society. The language-play of the poems is at times sadly funny, and at times bitterly critical. One of the last pieces is the “Constitution del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico” – “Constitution of the Free Associated State of Puerto Rico” which comes sandwiched between poems that overtly criticize the U.S. relationship with Puerto Rico both politically and culturally.

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