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Creating Latinidad: Julia de Burgos’ Legacy on U.S. Latina Literature

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Hispanic Caribbean Literature of Migration

Part of the book series: New Concepts in Latino American Cultures ((NDLAC))

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Abstract

When Julia de Burgos embarked on a journey to New York from Puerto Rico in January 1940, she was twenty-five and an aspiring poet. She had already written three collections of poetry and published two. She had been married and divorced. The repressive island culture of the 1930s had stigmatized her divorce, so she left the island on that day in January with no plans to return; “I want to be universal,” she claimed in a letter to her sister, Consuelo, shortly after her arrival in New York. In New York, de Burgos struggled to make a living off of her writing. She published her work in local Spanish-language newspapers, and worked as the Art and Culture Editor of Pueblos Hispanos. De Burgos’ writings for these New York newspapers reveal her commitment to Puerto Rican national affairs, as they simultaneously demonstrate her concern for the lives of Puerto Ricans and others of Latin American descent in New York. Thus, de Burgos forms part of a transitional generation that helps to bridge the historical divide between Puerto Rican nationalist writers of the 1930s and the Nuyorican writers of the 1970s. Julia de Burgos’ struggle to establish herself as a writer, and her Pan-American and Afro-Antillean ideas enable us to read her as a precursor to later women writers of the Puerto Rican diaspora. While it is rare for a poet to become a cultural icon, Julia de Burgos has evoked feelings of bonding and national identification in Puerto Ricans and Latinos in the United States for over half a century.

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Authors

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Vanessa Pérez Rosario

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© 2010 Vanessa Pérez Rosario

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Rosario, V.P. (2010). Creating Latinidad: Julia de Burgos’ Legacy on U.S. Latina Literature. In: Rosario, V.P. (eds) Hispanic Caribbean Literature of Migration. New Concepts in Latino American Cultures. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230107892_4

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