Julia de Burgos, 1914-1953

  • Julia-de-Burgos-WWP

Woman Category: Activism & Feminism and Literature & PoetryWoman Tags: NYC Women and Poet

  • HerStory
    Julia de Burgos, 1914-1953

    An iconic poet of Puerto Rico, and an advocate of Puerto Rican independence, who served as Secretary-General of the Daughters of Freedom.

    Julia Constanza Burgos García was born to a poor family of 13 children and grew up reading and writing verses.
    She graduated with a teaching certificate from the University of Puerto Rico. As a student, she served as the secretary-general of the Daughters of Freedom, the sister organization of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party.

    At the age of 20, de Burgos published her first poem and married her first husband.
    Four years later, she self-published a collection of poetry and toured the island selling copies. She also divorced and at the age of 25, left Puerto Rico.
    Following a romantic relationship with a Dominican political exile, she lived in Cuba.
    In 1942, she settled in New York, working for the Pueblos Hispanos publication. She married a Puerto Rican musician and divorced again.

    She continued writing all along, exploring Puerto Rican nationalism and identity, with attention to the island’s legacy of slavery and American imperialism.
    Her work also addressed themes of feminism and universal social justice.
    She published about 200 poems until her early death, before her 40th birthday.

    “You are like your world, selfish; not me
    who gambles everything betting on what I am.
    You are the ponderous lady very lady;
    Not me. I am life, strength, woman.”

     

    – From her poem “To Julia de Burgos” –

    “You are like your world, selfish; not me
    who gambles everything betting on what I am.
    You are the ponderous lady very lady;
    Not me. I am life, strength, woman.”

     

    – From her poem “To Julia de Burgos” –



    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • After divorcing her first husband, she added “de” before her maiden name, Burgos. It was a symbolic subversion of the Spanish “de” – indicating marital status and possession. It was an act of taking possession of herself.
    • She was interrogated by the FBI, in suspicion of Communism, fired from her job and blacklisted.
    • In 2010, the US Postal Service commemorated her life with a stamp. In it, Julia de Burgos was portrayed by Toronto-based artist Jody Hewgill.
    • There are public schools, monuments, parks, and murals honoring her in Puerto Rico, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Cleveland.
  • More About Her Legacy
    Creations By and About Her:

    * Poetry and other books she wrote
    * Her biography

    Awards:

    * Puerto Rican literary prize for her second collection of poems (1940)
    * An honorary doctorate The University of Puerto Rico (1987)

  • Watch and Learn More
    Julia de Burgos, 1914-1953

  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • Julia de Burgos, 1914-1953

    Woman Tags: NYC Women, Poet
     

    Please Rate:

     
    51

    To Julia de Burgos: Puerto Rico

    To Julia de Burgos by the Puerto Rico Poet, is alas , only the first half of the poem..but it does get its powerful message across non the less. The translation from the Spanish is by Grace Schulman...and it is a good one. Translations are important in poetry !

  • De Burgos in the early 1950's. Photo credit - Wikipedia.


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