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Charting the personal and the political, the lyrical and the prosaic, with an intense interrogation of anti-Blackness that centers Trans-Atlantic and Latinx Blackness in all its vastness, beauty, and pride, this necessary book compiles the best of Garcia’s three poetry collections. These selected poems will introduce Garcia’s work to a broader audience. Like the poem it takes its title from, What Can I Tell You conveys a poet wrestling with what it means to make poetry from the bread of life. At times formal and playful, and at others deadly serious, Garcia’s full range of themes and obsessions is on full display within its pages.


“Garcia walks through the world as a poet, seeing the invisible aspects of the human condition that he writes with familiarity and integrity. Reporting from the inside, not the outside, the poetic voice within these essays simply sings.” 

—Randall Horton, author of Dead Weight

"Reading Traveling Freely, is exactly like the joy of reading James Baldwin for the very first time. Here is an important AfroLatinx voice illuminating valuable insights for not only understanding global race politics, but also for obtaining concrete counsel on what we can all do wherever we are. Like Baldwin, Roberto Carlos Garcia does this labor of love with the elegance of a poet that can both inform and transform us."

—Tanya Kateri Hernandez, author of Racial Innocence: Unmasking Latino Anti-Black Bias and the Struggle for Equality

In Traveling Freely: Essays, Roberto Carlos Garcia explores intersecting topics such as race, identity, American socioeconomic inequality, police violence, our inability to partake in our culture as innocents, and our complicity as Americans in all that’s wrong with the United States from the author’s specific vantage point as a Black Dominican American man. The voice in these essays is both clear and nuanced, and as readers move through the collection, the various themes cohere into a multilayered investigation of institutional racism and the inherent exploitations of capitalism.

In essays that are uniquely straightforward and accessible, Garcia insists that in order to resist state-sanctioned violence against marginalized bodies and populations, we must understand our shared history of oppression—so that we can rise against it effectively and find new paths forward.

Roberto Carlos Garcia

                    Poet  Essayist  Storyteller 


Poet, storyteller, and essayist Roberto Carlos Garcia is a self-described “sancocho […] of provisions from the Harlem Renaissance, the Spanish Poets of 1929, the Black Arts Movement, the Nuyorican School, and the Modernists.” Garcia is rigorously interrogative of himself and the world around him, conveying “nakedness of emotion, intent, and experience,” and he writes extensively about the Afro-Latinx and Afro-diasporic experience. 

His poems and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in POETRY Magazine, The BreakBeat Poets Vol 4: LatiNEXTBettering American Poetry Vol. 3, The Root, Those People, Rigorous, Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, Gawker, Barrelhouse, The Acentos Review, Lunch Ticket, and many others.

He is founder of the cooperative press Get Fresh Books Publishing, A NonProfit Corp.

A native New Yorker, Roberto holds an MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation from Drew University, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.