Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Julia de Burgos


Conversations with Martin. He’s developing  some new works. He’s taken poetry and stories from refugees through a UN program and is developing flamenco dances to express the stories. He’s interested in doing similar work with stories of homeless people. I need to check with Marc and the Interfaith Assembly, but then I remember Julia de Burgos. Puerto Rican Nationalist, feminist, poet. Prominent. Well known. Travelling to Cuba. Then returning to New York City doing menial jobs. Possibly bipolar and/or alcoholic depressive. Disappeared into the streets. And found dead in Spanish Harlem in 1953 at age 39, from pneumonia, unnamed, unknown . Buried in a pauper’s grave in potter’s field on Hart Island. People who cared never gave up and eventually found her and returned her to Carolina, Puerto Rico. And I remember Leonard Bernstein’s powerful, passionate setting of her poem to herself, A Julia de Burgos. And yes, no one ever sang it like Lauren. She embodied it. Martin has to hear this. It’s almost flamenco itself. ( ) Only wish I had it by Lauren.

Julia de Burgos

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