44¢ Julia De Burgos
Literary Arts Series
Issue Date: September 14, 2010
City: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Offset lithography
In 1953, a young woman of mixed Hispanic-African ancestry collapsed on a Harlem street. Without identification or a family to claim her, the woman was given a pauper’s burial. Weeks later, her friends traced her whereabouts and returned her remains to Puerto Rico, where Julia de Burgos was given a funeral befitting the national hero she was.
De Burgos (1914-53) lived life with passion. A poet, civil rights activist, and Puerto Rican nationalist, de Burgos defied convention before feminism was accepted in her culture. De Burgos was fiery and independent, yet the pain she suffered in three broken marriages is revealed in her verse.
Considered one of Latin America’s greatest poets, de Burgos’ works also reflect her love of Puerto Rico – and her mounting anguish as she battled depression and alcoholism. Among her most important works are Poema para mi Muerte (My Death Poem) and Yo Misma Fui Mi Ruta (I Was My Own Path). De Burgos published two books during her lifetime, which she promoted and distributed herself. A third volume of her work was published after her death.
Respected for her literary accomplishments, de Burgos is also greatly admired by Hispanics and Latin Americans, who have named many schools, women’s shelters, landmarks, and cultural centers in her honor.