‘The Fatal Conscience’: Julia de Burgos, Puerto Rico’s Greatest Poet

Julia de Burgos’s life spanned Puerto Rico’s full entrenchment as a colony of the United States, while her public life as the island’s most celebrated and acclaimed poet took place against the backdrop of the twentieth-century’s global conflict between fascism and democracy. The problems Puerto Ricans face today, as their impoverished island fights for survival in an era when the international order seems to be coming apart, are the legacy of the struggles De Burgos faced. In January, I traveled to Puerto Rico with my father, carrying a copy of Julia de Burgos’s letters, visiting the places she had lived, trying to hear her voice. 

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