Abortions and Puerto Rican background influenced poet


Poet Sandra Garcia Rivera recites her writing during a college hour Tuesday. Garcia talked about how her life decisions influenced her work. (Photo by Lena DoBynes)

Joseph Daniels

A previous version of this story mistakenly reported the speaker’s name to be Sharon Garcia Rivera. In fact, it is Sandra Garcia Rivera. 

A poet visited the American River College campus Tuesday to discuss her life story and how her cultural background and her abortions have had a huge impact on her work.

Sandra Garcia Rivera recited a poem that discussed that she had three abortions and how later in life she began to regret the decision, but ended the poem by saying that women should live their life on their own terms.

“I’m working on a manuscript now, and the heart of it is about my decisions and how it is I don’t have children right now, and how super fly I am, but it is a process of healing, we are super fly because we have to love ourselves in the process,” said Rivera.

While Rivera said that current events are not the driving factor for her writing, she did acknowledge that how the news media have been covering Planned Parenthood has inspired her to write new poems.

Rivera said that her identity as a Puerto Rican who lived in New York, or a Nuyorican, has had a major impact on her writing.

“Nuyorican is an identity like Chicano that describes a kind of an ordered relationship in existence in worlds where we are both of and not of, and finding our own grounding and empowerment as we are,” said Rivera.

Rivera was originally going to be speaking at the event with Lorna Dee Cervantes, but had to pull out of the event for an undisclosed reason.

Rivera said that one of her greater muses is music and that growing up in a hip-hop culture influenced how she delivered her poetry.

Some of the attendees said during the question and answer portion of the event that they would be interested in reading a book published by Rivera.

“Because I was a writer, she really did inspire me to want to write again,” said attendee Yesenia Hernandez. She said that her writing was influenced by her identity as a Latina.

Laura Llano attended the event and said that she had previously seen Rivera perform.

“She said, ‘I understand now from my age, I can forgive that 19-year old, I can forgive that because she has been carrying that guilt,’” Llano said. “At some point you have to forgive yourself, and say ‘hey, I have grown,’” Llano said.