the flog

This is Fine: “Un-poetry” for the modern reader

Peddling poetry in the 21st century


Local author and owner of independent publishing house Broken Sword Publications Santino Rivera is back in the saddle again. His newest book, This is Fine, is a compilation of his poetry spanning the six years from 2011 to 2017, celebrating his love/hate relationship with the craft in his own self-proclaimed style of "un-poetry." Sometimes irreverent and always unconventional, Rivera spews thought onto paper in a way that he hopes will make his poetry palatable to even those who hate poetry-including him.

Rivera's relationship with poetry-loathing is succinctly explained in the book's intro, where he writes, "If Rodney Dangerfield were still alive, even he would get more respect than most poets. If someone asked what 100 poets on the bottom of the sea floor was, the overwhelming response would be: a good start. Save the lawyers, kill the poets, that's most people's motto."

Rivera even goes so far as to say that this may be his last foray into poetry. Yet for someone who seems to loathe something so much, Rivera doesn't seem to have lost much steam over those six years. A writer will always write. As Rivera continued in the intro, "Contrary to popular belief, poetry is an affliction, not a talent... I tried to quit poetry many times over the course of the past couple of decades, but it never took."

What started off as Denver street poetry during college--going around with a mobile PA system in the car doing free-verse spoken word at traffic lights--morphed into a career as a journalist with an independent newspaper he co-founded. After growing tired of covering committee meetings and local softball games, Rivera pulled up his roots to begin a career as an EMT/firefighter shortly after 9/11-writing poems and stories in the back of the ambulance between calls-which later morphed into his present life as an independent author/publisher.

This makes for what one might call a wealth of experiences--all of which he draws from in his work--and makes for an altogether interesting perspective on the turbulent happenings of society from 2011 right up to now. Politics, religion and "keeping up with the Joneses"--detailing the delivery of a corpse to the city morgue--are all just scraping the surface of what's in store for the reader once the cover is cracked. You'll laugh and you'll cry. You'll learn to like/loathe poetry again.


For more info on the book and author, visit

Paperback copies of the book are for sale on Broken Sword Publication's Big Cartel site and on Amazon for $18.95. If you order directly from, your copy arrives signed and the package includes two bookmarks.

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