WONDERFUL

WASTELAND

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Hello,

i am elidio la torre lagares

I live in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I teach literature and creative writing. I earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas-El Paso, but I also have a Master's Degree in English from the University of Puerto Rico and a Ph.D. in Puerto Rican Literature. During the mid 1990's and throughout the first decade of the new millenium, worked as editor and publisher for Santillana USA, the University of Puerto Rico Press, and Terranova Editores. In more academic concerns, I was appointed director to the Seminario de Estudios Hispanics at the College of Humanities, UPR, where I also coordinated the master’s degree program in Arts Management, adscribed to the Interdisciplinary Studies Program.

PUBLICATIONS

Vicios de construcción

Poetry. San Juan: Terranova, 2008.

Cuerpos sin sombras

Poetry. San Juan: Isla Negra, 1998.

Septiembre

Short stories. San Juan: Cultural, 2001.

Gracia

Novel. Bogotá: Oveja Negra, 2004.

Correr tras el viento

Novel. San Juan: Terranova, 2011.

Gran vacío a boca llena, Vol !

Short Stories. San Juan: Atelier, 2018.

AWARDS
All

I have published four poetry collections, two of which are available in electronic format: Vicios de construcción, and Ensayo del vuelo, which was awarded with the Julia de Burgos National Poetry Award in 2008 in Puerto Rico. short story collection, Septiembre (September); two novels: Historia de un dios pequeño (Tale of a Small God, 2001) and Gracia (Grace, 2004), both awarded the one the best books published in their respective years by the Puerto Rico Pen Club. My latest novel, Correr tras el viento (Chasing the wind) is currently under translation. In 2015, La Torre won Casa de los Poetas Poetry Award in 2015 with his poem “Santurcesutra,” and more recently, he won 2nd Prize in the Rio Grande Review Literary Contest in Texas. He has published in Sargasso (University of Puerto Rico), Revista Centro Jornal (City University of New York), Azahares (University of Arkansas) and Malpaís Review (New Mexico), among others.

A Book Distilled from Desolation


When Hurricane María unleashed its devastation onto Puerto Rico, thousands of lives were lost to the storm in what was the island's worst natural disaster on record. With so much of the recovery still underway and the scars still fresh, its citizens continue to contend with the reality that life on the island has fundamentally changed.
In his first collection of poems written in English, La Torre Lagares journeys through his memory in an effort to recompose his shattered land. Together, these poems form a poignant, personal account of a man facing the tragic destinies of his family and his country in the aftermath of a natural disaster. For example, the deaths of the mother and the father are resignified as the death of the poet's personal relationship, which at the same time evokes the rupture between individuals and their sense of place.
Drawing from both American and Latin American poetry, as well as global influences, to articulate a language of loss and devastation in search of a new identity, this collection illuminates a chaotic and confusing landscape that is not only physical but also cultural, social, and political. Taken together, this work serves as a stirring reminder of the dislocation and fractured attachment that speaks to many Americans, including transnationals and immigrants. Ultimately it speaks to coping with physical loss and emotional pain in the face of human adversity.

Wonderful Wasteland and other natural disasters


This is all I have to say:

This book is not to please anyone.
It is a book written with pain.
This is a book of love.
This is a book of death.
This book kept me alive.
This is a book that took me 11 years.
This is a book unfinished.
This is a book that I didn’t write: it wrote me.
This is the one book for my daughter and my sister RJ to remember me.
This is the book I gained when I let go of my losses.
This book is illuminated.
This is a book about dissolutions, a broken country, and broken people. This is a book of hope, because only when we have nothing, we are ready to have everything.

Eso es todo.

—Elidio La Torre Lagares

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Elidio La Torre
San Juan

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