Article published in:Transnational discourses of peripheral sexualities in the Hispanic world
Edited by Michael J. Horswell and Nuria Godón
[Journal of Language and Sexuality 5:2] 2016
► pp. 155–181
Ecofeminist discourse and fluid lyrical sexualities
Julia de Burgos’s Río Grande de Loíza
The traditional reading of Julia de Burgos’s (1914–1953) poem “Río Grande de Loíza” positions the river as a male lover. An ecofeminist reading yields a very different reading and raises other questions about the gendered and sexual message circulating within the poem. In my reading, the river becomes a fluid, lyrical mirror reflecting the poet’s quest for transnational and transsexual freedom unbound by female corporeality. Burgos invokes the river as a non-human Other interlocutor in order to deconstruct both the geographic and political boundaries imposed by US colonial hegemony and the sexual ones foisted by patriarchal-oriented Puerto Rican nationalists who viewed sexuality as heteronormative. By the 1930s, landscapes had been appropriated as symbols of the fatherland and a distinct Puerto Rican identity. Burgos’s language establishes instead a fluvial proto-feminist discourse of empowerment by imagining multiple sites of corporeal pleasure that transcend national barriers and offers alternative poetic fluid sexualities.
Keywords: Río Grande de Loíza, Burgos, ecofeminism, sexuality, non-human Other
Published online: 29 September 2016
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