Eliana S. Rivero was born in Cuba, and immigrated permanently to the U.S. in 1961. She received her B.A. magna cum laude in 1964 and her Ph.D. in 1968 from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. She has done scholarly work and teaching in the area of Latin American and U.S. Latino literatures, especially poetry and women's writings, for over fifty years.
Rivero is Professor Emerita in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona, where she taught Latin American literatures (colonial, modern, and contemporary) and U.S. Latino/Latina literatures and cultures for over four decades. She has authored and/or coedited seven scholarly books, and has published over one hundred articles, chapters in books, review essays, notes, bibliographies, and collection entries, on topics ranging from Caribbean authors to Mexican colonial nuns. Since the early eighties she has been writing about the experience of Chicano/as, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans and other U.S. Latino/as, and has published numerous scholarly pieces as well as autobiographical essays on these topics. Rivero has been invited to give keynote addresses and lectures at more than fifty university campuses in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Cuba, and Chile, and has presented papers at over 75 national and international conferences. Her poems and autobiographical narratives are included in several anthologies in the US, Cuba, Argentina, and Spain.
She was coeditor (with Tey Diana Rebolledo, Distinguished Professor at the University of New Mexico) of the best-seller Infinite Divisions: An Anthology of Chicana Literature (University of Arizona Press, 1995, now on its third printing), which is widely used in colleges and high schools across the country. With the Chicana writer Margarita Cota Cárdenas, Rivero is also coeditor of Siete Poetas, a pioneer text of Latina women poets (published in 1978 with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts). She also coedited the award-winning Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios (Duke University Press, 2001), with the Latina Feminist Group collective. In 2005, her collection of essays Discursos desde la diáspora appeared in Spain. Rivero has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and The Rockefeller Foundation, among others. At present, she is in the process of co-publishing an anthology with Iraida H Lopez, Let’s Hear Their Voices: Cuban American Writers of the Second Generation, forthcoming by State University of New York Press in 2019.
In 2000 she was named Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, the only Latina humanist so chosen in the prestigious program’s history until that date. In the ‘90s she served as chair of the national committee for the Advanced Placement Examinations in Spanish (The College Board and Educational Testing Service). Rivero has also served on numerous professional association boards both in the US and abroad, and was chair of the Fulbright Grants for Latin America committee in the nineties.
She edited a special issue on the Cuban diaspora for Revista Caribe in the winter of 2012. A research scholarship in her name was established in 2015 at the Cuban Research Institute, Florida International University, Miami.
In 2016-2017, she participated in the documentary “The Cubans at Harvard”, a film recounting the experience of over 1,700 Cuban teachers who were invited to visit Cambridge and Washington DC in 1900 (her own maternal grandmother was one of those teachers). It was recently presented at Harvard and at Florida International University. She returned to Cuba in 2016 after an absence of 31 years, on a cultural/literary trip sponsored by Tom Miller.