Lola Rogriguez de Tió was an inspired and prolific Puerto Rican poet whose lifetime bridged the 19th and 20th centuries. Lola was born in the city of San Germán in 1843. Acclaimed as a pioneer of the feminist movement in Puerto Rico, she considered herself a liberated woman but not an active feminist.
Lola married Bonocio Tió, a distinguished writer and politician educated in Spain, who encouraged her love of poetry and helped her develop her literary style. Tió was exiled thrice -to Caracas, Havana and New York- and Lola always followed him. While in New York in 1895, her home was described by the New York World as “a charming center of the intellectual life of the Puerto Rican colony” in that city.
Lola was, above all, a poet. Her lyrics were praised highly by Spanish critics, and some of her poetry was translated by Edmond D’Amicis in Italy and Pierre Loti in France. Her patriotic lyrics won popular acclaim and were adapted to Puerto Rico’s national anthem, La Borinqueña. Lola’s spirited persuasion was also instrumental in the adoption of Puerto Rico’s flag. She favored independence from Spain for both Cuba and Puerto Rico, and was in close contact with Eugenio María de Hostos and other top intellectuals who had sided with the separatist movement. Besides her prolific poetic production, she wrote a considerable number of articles and reviews for leading newspapers in Cuba and Puerto Rico. One of her main themes was to stress the fraternal links between both islands. In 1924, she died in Havana -recognized then, and now, as a symbol of the prominent role that women have played in the evolution of the literary and artistic traditions of the Spanish West Indies.
(Based on an article, “Puerto Rico’s International Poetess,” by Aurelio Tió).
Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades
No. 3 – Winter 1979
Author: Fundació Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades
Published: September 15, 2014.
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