My AfroRican State of Soul is a blend of narrative nonfiction and poetry that chronicles Lucas Rivera's journey through life. In her foreword, Ruha Benjamin, Princeton University Professor of African American Studies, describes this journey as a model of "intergenerational healing," which she points out "can only emerge from a new poetics."
This debut collection of poetry speaks to both budding young creatives and OG hip-hop heads who remember the dawn of an artistic era. As a BIPOC man, Rivera has struggled against traditional conceptions of masculinity toward a path of love, acceptance, vulnerability, and shared healing. His work speaks to everyone who has struggled with imposter syndrome, displacement and disempowerment.
As a child, he could speak to his father but would never actually know him. He grew into a man who learned to salvage healing from that loss, building an artistic vision for identidad, struggle, love, and faith that has spread across the United States. Art is a means of survival for him, from turntables to Latin dance to painting to stained glass to writing. These mediums opened his world, and allowed him to experience true love, accept faith and reconciliation, and eventually grace his own father with Aché (blessings) despite the pain of his absence.
Inspired by the culturally dynamic tradition of Afro-Puerto Rican poets such as Piri Thomas and Pedro Peitri, Rivera draws upon their unfiltered approach in this decades-spanning body of work, while also drawing from the emerging tradition of contemporary poetry and lyricism. My AfroRican State of Soul is crafted to stand alone, but can form the backbone of a riveting stage performance with a full dance ensemble, drums, bass, keys, and powerful voices.