Today In Latin American History
Renowned Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos was born in the city of Carolina on February 17, 1914.
i need folks to REALLY understand de Burgos impact. She was not only an active independendista for PR, she was also divorced (at a time women didn’t do that ish), openly lived w/her lovers (at a time when that ish led to you being isolated), and claimed her African identity (as many PR still refuse to do). She’s not just an amazing poet. She left us with an amazing legacy to follow and continue.
Her poems are RIDICULOUSLY FEMINIST for the time she lived in. And they are amazing. Her name should be right up there with Neruda’s. My mom always loved her poetry so I grew up with her poems, and was one of the reasons I wanted to be a poet (before I realized I had no talent, lol). She’s been an inspiration my entire life. <3 My personal favorite is Yo misma fui mi ruta (I was my own route), but I’ll post Jack Agueros’s translation of To Julia de Burgos here because I feel like it’s more of a general introduction to her life and her work:
TO JULIA DE BURGOS
by Julia de Burgos
Already the people murmur that I am your enemy
because they say that in verse I give the world your me.
They lie, Julia de Burgos. They lie, Julia de Burgos.
Who rises in my verses is not your voice. It is my voice
because you are the dressing and the essence is me;
and the most profound abyss is spread between us.
You are the cold doll of social lies,
and me, the virile starburst of the human truth.
You, honey of courtesan hypocrisies; not me;
in all my poems I undress my heart.
You are like your world, selfish; not me
who gambles everything betting on what I am.
You are only the ponderous lady very lady;
not me; I am life, strength, woman.
You belong to your husband, your master; not me;
I belong to nobody, or all, because to all, to all
I give myself in my clean feeling and in my thought.
You curl your hair and paint yourself; not me;
the wind curls my hair, the sun paints me.
You are a housewife, resigned, submissive,
tied to the prejudices of men; not me;
unbridled, I am a runaway Rocinante
snorting horizons of God’s justice.
You in yourself have no say; everyone governs you;
your husband, your parents, your family,
the priest, the dressmaker, the theatre, the dance hall,
the auto, the fine furnishings, the feast, champagne,
heaven and hell, and the social, “what will they say.”
Not in me, in me only my heart governs,
only my thought; who governs in me is me.
You, flower of aristocracy; and me, flower of the people.
You in you have everything and you owe it to everyone,
while me, my nothing I owe to nobody.
You nailed to the static ancestral dividend,
and me, a one in the numerical social divider,
we are the duel to death who fatally approaches.
When the multitudes run rioting
leaving behind ashes of burned injustices,
and with the torch of the seven virtues,
the multitudes run after the seven sins,
against you and against everything unjust and inhuman,
I will be in their midst with the torch in my hand.