A native of Puerto Rico, Julia de Burgos is considered one of the greatest poets of Latin America and perhaps the greatest poet to have come from Puerto Rico. Her work as a civil rights activist and an advocate for independence in Puerto Rico made her a controversial figure in her lifetime.
Born in a poor part of Puerto Rico (Carolina), Burgos had 12 siblings, but still had the opportunity to attend school. Her childhood on the island of Puerto Rico gave her an appreciation for and deep love of nature. After earning her degree in teaching from the University of Puerto Rico, Burgos began to write poetry. Upon marrying Ruben Rodrigues Beauchamp in 1934, she stopped teaching to focus on her married life and on writing.
However, her marriage was not happy, and due to time constraints brought on by her participation in the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, she and her husband divorced in 1937.
Burgos published two volumes of her poetry during her lifetime (a third was published posthumously). The publication of these volumes gave her the opportunity to travel around the island.
Burgos experienced tumultuous relationships for the rest of her life--one with Dominican physician Dr. Juan Isidro Jimenes Grullón and one with her second husband Armando Marín. While these relationships allowed her to travel to Cuba and the United States, Burgos became very depressed when each ended. She died of pneumonia at the age of 39 in New York City.