5 Questions with Robert Lopez, Author of Dispatches From Puerto Nowhere: An American Story of Assimilation and Erasure

Mar 16, 2023

Headshot of Robert Lopez

Robert Lopez is the author of the novels, Part of the World and Kamby Bolongo Mean River, named one of 25 important books of the decade by HTML Giant, and All Back Full; two story collections, Asunder and Good People, and a novel-in-stories titled A Better Class of People. His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry has appeared in dozens of publications, including Bomb, The Threepenny Review, Vice Magazine, New England Review, The Sun, and the Norton Anthology of Sudden Fiction – Latino. He teaches at Stony Brook University and has previously taught at Columbia University, The New School, Pratt Institute, and Syracuse University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Find out more about the author here: robertlopez.net

Robert Lopez will be in conversation with Sarah Rose Etter on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. PST to celebrate the release of his new book Dispatches from Puerto Nowhere: An American Story of Assimilation and Erasure, published by Two Dollar Radio. This will be a virtual event taking place over Zoom.

Where are you writing to us from?

Brooklyn, NY.

What is bringing you joy right now, personally/artistically/habitually?

Tennis, when I play well and the Rangers, when they play well. We finally found a decent Chinese restaurant that delivers, so that was nice, too. Past that I might be joyless at the moment. 

Which writers, artists, and others influence your work in general, and this book, specifically?

For this book, Gornick, Abigail Thomas, John D’Agata, Eula Biss, Pessoa. Plenty of others. In general, Beckett, Paley, Hannah, Markson, Stevens, WCW, Whitman, Ray Charles, Waits, Dylan, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, TVZ, Gillian Welch, plenty of others. 

What books are you reading right now and would you recommend any to others?

I can’t say I’m reading any books at the moment. During the semester I tend to only read student work or books that we discuss in class. Today we’re going to talk about Justin Torres’ We The Animals and I highly recommend that one. 

If you opened a bookstore, where would it be located, what would it be called, and what would your bestseller be?

There’s an empty storefront right down the block from our apartment and it seems like a perfect spot for a bookstore. The bookstore would be called No News Today and the bestseller would be anything by David McCullough. 

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