Welcome, Susana Praver-Pérez!

This month we are celebrating the titles that we’ve acquired over the past twelve months. Some of them, like the one we’re pleased to present today, came to us by way of Nomadic Press. Read more about our plans to welcome Nomadic Press titles to Black Lawrence Press here. Today we bring you Susana Praver-Pérez, whose forthcoming book Return Against the Flow will be published in early 2024.

Have a manuscript you think we’d like? During our June Open Reading Period we are looking for poetry (chapbooks and full-length collections), short fiction (again, both chapbooks and full-length collections), novels, novellas, nonfiction (CNF, biography, cultural studies), anthology proposals, and translations from German. 




The Author

Susana Praver-Pérez is a Pushcart-nominated poet and a winner of the San Francisco/Nomadic Press Literary Award (2021). Susana’s first full-length collection of poetry, Hurricanes, Love Affairs, and Other Disasters was published by Nomadic Press in 2021 and won the 2022 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award. Susana divides her time between Oakland, California and San Juan, Puerto Rico and writes through the lens formed in the liminal space between languages, cultures, and geographies.




On Writing Return Against the Flow

For 28 years, my late husband José de Jesús Pérez and I dreamed of moving to Puerto Rico, the island of his birth. But the joys and struggles of daily life got in the way. In 2007 José passed away but left our dream in my safekeeping. For years, the dream sat on an altar along with his ashes. Turning the reverie into a reality seemed just beyond my grasp. But then one day in 2021, an apartment was listed for sale in a San Juan neighborhood where many of  my in-laws have lived for decades. For many reasons, it felt like a now-or-never moment. So, with family on the island as my “boots on the ground,” I bought the apartment—half of a two-family house—sight unseen.

I’ve spent considerable time in Puerto Rico over the past 45 years, but having my own home has sharpened my perceptions of the island’s day-to-day realities. I love my domestic routine,  but with it comes a myriad of problems related to living in an old building on a colonized island with acute supply-chain deficits. Fortunately, my community in San Juan is incredibly caring and has guided me through many unanticipated problems.

As poets tend to do, I found myself writing about my experiences and observations. And thus, this book was born.  Return Against the Flow is a  memoire recounted in verse centered on the theme of  “return to the island”— despite the staggering flow of Puerto Ricans leaving. This collection takes the reader on a lyrical journey towards understanding Puerto Rico’s glorious strengths and tremendous challenges in this pivotal moment of its history.



Selections from Return Against the Flow