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Nuyorican Women Artists Remember Julia de Burgos

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Abstract:

When Julia de Burgos embarked on a journey to New York from Puerto Rico on January 18, 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. Her frustration with the institution of marriage and limiting gender roles for women in Puerto Rico is revealed in her poems “A Julia de Burgos” and “Pentacromia.” The repressive island culture of the 1930s had stigmatized her because of her divorce, and so she left the island on that day in January with no plans for her 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 those of Latin American descent in the States. 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. While it is rare for a poet to become a cultural icon, Julia de Burgos has evoked feelings of bonding and identification among Puerto Ricans and Latinos in the United States for over half a century. Her experience of migration, dissidence in relation to the nation island, and her fight for survival resonate with these communities. De Burgos’ legacy as a cultural icon is revealed in the work of various writers and visual artists both on the island and in the States. My presentation on De Burgos is part of my new book project currently in progress entitled Becoming Julia de Burgos: Feminism, Transnationalism, Diaspora which is a comprehensive study of de Burgos’ life, work, and legacy on the island and in New York exploring the home-diaspora connection, and new dimensions of scholarship in gender studies and transnationalism. During this panel, I will focus specifically on the way that Nuyorican women artists and writers such as Sandra María Esteves, Luz Maria Umpierre, and Yasmín Hernandez memorialize de Burgos. They make Julia de Burgos the subject of their art and establish an alternative artistic and literary tradition that creates transnational imagined communities of resistance.
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Name: American Studies Association Annual Meeting
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Perez, Vanessa. "Nuyorican Women Artists Remember Julia de Burgos" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p509443_index.html>

APA Citation:

Perez, V. Y. "Nuyorican Women Artists Remember Julia de Burgos" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Baltimore, Baltimore, MD <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p509443_index.html

Publication Type: Internal Paper
Abstract: When Julia de Burgos embarked on a journey to New York from Puerto Rico on January 18, 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. Her frustration with the institution of marriage and limiting gender roles for women in Puerto Rico is revealed in her poems “A Julia de Burgos” and “Pentacromia.” The repressive island culture of the 1930s had stigmatized her because of her divorce, and so she left the island on that day in January with no plans for her 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 those of Latin American descent in the States. 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. While it is rare for a poet to become a cultural icon, Julia de Burgos has evoked feelings of bonding and identification among Puerto Ricans and Latinos in the United States for over half a century. Her experience of migration, dissidence in relation to the nation island, and her fight for survival resonate with these communities. De Burgos’ legacy as a cultural icon is revealed in the work of various writers and visual artists both on the island and in the States. My presentation on De Burgos is part of my new book project currently in progress entitled Becoming Julia de Burgos: Feminism, Transnationalism, Diaspora which is a comprehensive study of de Burgos’ life, work, and legacy on the island and in New York exploring the home-diaspora connection, and new dimensions of scholarship in gender studies and transnationalism. During this panel, I will focus specifically on the way that Nuyorican women artists and writers such as Sandra María Esteves, Luz Maria Umpierre, and Yasmín Hernandez memorialize de Burgos. They make Julia de Burgos the subject of their art and establish an alternative artistic and literary tradition that creates transnational imagined communities of resistance.


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