Giannina Braschi

Giannina Braschi (born February 5, 1953) is a Puerto Rican poet, novelist, dramatist, and scholar. Her notable works include Empire of Dreams (1988), Yo-Yo Boing! (1998) and United States of Banana (2011).

Giannina Braschi
Giannina Braschi.jpg
Born (1953-02-05) February 5, 1953 (age 68)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Poet
  • novelist
  • dramatist
  • philosopher
NationalityPuerto Rican
Genrepoetry, theater, novel, political philosophy
SubjectImmigration, independence, Capitalism, terrorism, Puerto Rico, revolution, love, American imperialism, September 11 attacks
Literary movementPostmodernism, Postcolonialism, Nuyorican, McOndo
Notable worksYo-Yo Boing!; Empire of Dreams; United States of Banana
Notable awardsNational Endowment for the Arts Fellow, PEN/Open Book Award, New York Foundation for the Arts, Danforth Scholarship, Ford Foundation, Rutgers Faculty Grant
RelativesMiguel Braschi, brother

Braschi writes cross-genre literature and political philosophy in Spanish, Spanglish, and English.[1] Her work is a hybrid of poetry, fiction, theatre, memoire, manifesto, and philosophy.[2] Her writings explore the enculturation journey of Hispanic immigrants, and dramatize the three main political options of Puerto Rico: independence, colony, and state.[3][4]

Early lifeEdit

Giannina Braschi was born to an upper-class family in San Juan, Puerto Rico.[5][6] In her teen years, she was a founding member of the San Juan Children's Choir, a fashion model, and a tennis champion.[7] Her father Euripides ("Pilo") Braschi was also a tennis champion.[6][8]

In the 1970s, Braschi studied literature and philosophy in Madrid, Rome, Rouen, and London, before she settled in New York City.[7] She credited her start in poetry to the older Spanish poets who mentored her when she lived in Madrid: Claudio Rodríguez, Carlos Bousoño, Vicente Alexandre, and Blas de Otero.[6][9]

Academic careerEdit

With a PhD in Hispanic Literatures from State University of New York, Stony Brook (1980), Braschi was a professor at Rutgers University, City University of New York, and Colgate University.[10] Braschi has received awards and fellowships from institutions including Ford Foundation, Danforth Scholarship, National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Rutgers University, and PEN, among others.[11] She published a book on the poetry of Gustavo Adolfo Becquer and essays on Cervantes, Garcilaso, César Vallejo, Juan Ramon Jimenez and Federico García Lorca.[4]

Literary careerEdit

Braschi's work is situated in the Latino avant-garde, a "burgeoning body of work that testifies to Latino writers’ abiding interest in the avant-garde as a means for engaging ideas of material, social relevance".[12] Her writings are also placed within the fields of Postcolonial, Postmodern, and Nuyorican literatures, as well as Latino political philosophy.[2] Braschi is considered a "revolutionary voice" in contemporary Latin American literature".[13][14][15][16]

Spanish: El Imperio de los sueñosEdit

In the 1980s, Braschi wrote dramatic poetry in Spanish prose in New York City.[17][18] Her postmodern poetry titles were published in Barcelona, Spain, including: Asalto al tiempo (Assault on Time, 1980), La Comedia profana (Profane Comedy, 1985), and El Imperio de los sueños (Empire of Dreams, 1988).[17] She was part of the Nuyorican movement.[19][20] New York City is the site and subject of much of her poetry. In a climactic episode of Braschi's Empire of Dreams, "Pastoral or the Inquisition of Memories", shepherds invade 5th Avenue during the Puerto Rican Day Parade and take over the City of New York; the shepherds ring the bells of St. Patrick's Cathedral, and seize the observation deck of the Empire State Building.[21] Immigrant characters play the role of other characters, swapping names, genders, personal histories, and identities.[22] Alicia Ostriker situates her gender-bending and genre-blending poetry as having a "sheer erotic energy that defies definition and dogma."[23]

Spanglish: Yo-Yo Boing! Edit

She published the first full-length Spanglish novel Yo-Yo Boing! in 1998. Yo-Yo Boing! explores "the lived experiences of urban life for Hispanics, as in the case with New York City, and her principal interest is in representing how individuals move in and out of different cultural coordinates, including one so crucial as language."[24][25] The book was written in an era of renewed calls for English-only laws, ethnic cleansing campaigns, and corporate censorship.[26] "For decades, Dominican and Puerto Rican authors have carried out a linguistic revolution", noted The Boston Globe, "and Giannina Braschi, especially in her novel Yo-Yo Boing!, testify to it".[27]

English: United States of BananaEdit

Braschi published the geopolitical comic-tragedy United States of Banana, her first book written entirely in English, in 2011.[9][10] It is a postmodern cross-genre work that opens with the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11.[12] The work is a scathing critique of 21st-century capitalism and the global war on terror.[28] Subjects include immigration, mass incarceration, financial terrorism, colonial debt structures, and "power imbalances within the Americas."[12] The work is celebratory of foreign influences.[29] Braschi stated in Evergreen Review that she considered herself "more French than Beckett, Picasso and Gertrude Stein", and identifies as the "granddaughter of Alfred Jarry and Antonin Artaud, bastard child of Samuel Beckett and James Joyce, half-sister to Heiner Müller, kissing cousin of Tadeusz Kantor, and lover of Witkiewicz".[30]

Adaptations and translationsEdit

Giannina Braschi's texts have been adapted and applied to popular culture and fields such as television comedy, chamber music, comic books, industrial design, and ecological urban planning.[31] Michael Zansky has used Braschi's texts in his paintings and Michael Somoroff has created short films with her works. There is a theater play by Juan Pablo Felix and a graphic novel by Joakim Lindengren of United States of Banana.[32][33][34] Puerto Rican composer Gabriel Bouche Caro has composed chamber music works with her poems.[35] There is a namesake Giannina chair designed by American industrial designer Ian Stell.[36] Her books have been translated into English by Tess O'Dwyer, into Spanish by Manuel Broncano, and into Swedish by Helena Eriksson and Hannah Nordenhok.[37][38][39]

Political activismEdit

Braschi is an advocate for Puerto Rican independence.[40] She declared the independence of Puerto Rico in United States of Banana[41] and stated in the press that "Liberty is not an option — it is a human right."[42] In the 1990s, she protested the United States Navy's bombing exercises in Vieques, along with politicians Rubén Berríos and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., singers Danny Rivera and Willie Colón, and fellow authors Ana Lydia Vega and Rigoberta Menchú.[43] Braschi spoke on a panel on "The New Censorship" at the PEN 2012 World Voices Festival where she offered "a critique of 21st century capitalism in which [she] condemned corporate censorship and control."[44] In July 2019, Braschi led early marches outside La Fortaleza in Old San Juan to demand the resignation of Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello, and joined massive protests, with singers Bad Bunny, Residente, and Ricky Martin, that led to the Governor's resignation.[45][46]


  • Urbanismo ecológico en América Latina[47]. Mohsen Mostafavi, Gareth Doherty, Marina Correia, Ana Maria Duran Calisto, and Luis Valenzuela (eds.). Editorial Gustavo Gili/Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2019. ISBN 9788425229480.
  • Two Crowns of The Egg, with Michael Somoroff, Donald Kuspit.[48] ISBN 886208353X
  • Estados Unidos de Banana, with Manuel Broncano, AmazonCrossing, Madrid, 2015. ISBN 978-1503934047
  • United States of Banana, AmazonCrossing, Seattle, 2011. ISBN 978-1611090673
  • Yo-Yo Boing!, AmazonCrossing, Seattle, 2011.
  • Empire of Dreams, AmazonCrossing, Seattle, 2011.
  • El imperio de los sueños, Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, 2000.
  • Yo-Yo Boing!, Latin American Literary Review, Pittsburgh, 1998.
  • Empire of Dreams (English translation by Tess O'Dwyer; Introduction by Alicia Ostriker), Yale University Press, New Haven/London, 1994.
  • El imperio de los sueños, Anthropos Editorial del hombre, Barcelona, 1988.
  • Libro de payasos y bufones, Grafica Uno, Giorgio Upiglio, Milan, 1987.
  • La comedia profana, Anthropos Editorial del hombre, Barcelona, 1985.
  • Asalto al tiempo, Ambitos Literarios, Barcelona, 1980.

Scholarly worksEdit

  • "Breve tratado del poeta artista", Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, No. 433-36, 1986 (an essay on the poetry of Federico García Lorca).
  • "La gravedad de la armonía en ‘Soledades galerías y otros pomas’ de Machado," Plural, 1983 (an essay on the poetry of Antonio Machado).
  • "La poesía de Bécquer: El tiempo de los objetos o los espacios de la luz", Costa Amic, Mexico City, 1982 (a scholarly book on the poetry of Gustavo Adolfo Becquer).
  • "La Metamorfosis del ingenio en la Égloga III de Garcilaso," Revista canadiense de estudios hispánicos, 1979 (an essay on Garcilaso's third eclogue).
  • "Cinco personajes fugaces en el camino de Don Quijote", Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, No. 328, 1977 (an essay on Don Quixote by Cervantes).

Awards and honorsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "PEN World Voices: Giannina Braschi". PEN America. 2012-08-09. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  2. ^ a b Aldama, Frederick Luis. "Poets, Philosophers, Lovers: On the Writings of Giannina Braschi". Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  3. ^ Aldama, Frederick, and Christopher González. Latinx Studies: The Key Concepts. Routledge, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Perisic, Alexandra (November 2020). Precarious Crossings: Immigration, Neoliberalism, and the Atlantic. Ohio: The Ohio State University Press. pp. 152–173. hdl:1811/88397. ISBN 978-0-8142-5552-0.
  5. ^ Gonzalez, Christopher (2017). Permissible Narratives: The Promise of Latino/a Literature. Ohio: The Ohio State University Press. pp. 93–95. ISBN 978-0-8142-5441-7.
  6. ^ a b c Rivera, Carmen H. (2011). "El poder de la palabra y la experiencia transnacional: una entrevista con Giannina Braschi". Op. Cit. Revista del Centro de Investigaciones Históricas (in Spanish) (20): 181–201. ISSN 2578-5443.
  7. ^ a b Remeseira, Claudio Iván (August 25, 2013). "Summer reads: brilliant takes on Nuyoricans, random murder and narco-literatura". NBC Latino.
  8. ^ "Braschi Family Biographies". Biographical Dictionary - 2015-08-08. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  9. ^ a b Sheeran, Amy, and Amanda M. Smith. "A Graphic Revolution: Talking Poetry & Politics with Giannina Braschi." Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures. 2.2 (2018): United States of 3-4.
  10. ^ a b Poets, Academy of American. "About Giannina Braschi | Academy of American Poets".
  11. ^ Sommer, Doris (1998). Introduction to Yo-Yo Boing!. Pittsburgh: Latin American Literary Review Press. ISBN 978-0-935480-97-9.
  12. ^ a b c Riofrio, John (January 28, 2020). "Falling for debt: Giannina Braschi, the Latinx avant-garde, and financial terrorism in the United States of Banana". Latino Studies. SBN: 1476-3435: 66–81. doi:10.1057/s41276-019-00239-2. S2CID 212759434.
  13. ^ "Giannina Braschi". National Book Festival. Library of Congress. 2012. ’Braschi: one of the most revolutionary voices in Latin America today’
  14. ^ "About Giannina Braschi: Book Fest 12". National Book Festival Transcript and Webcast. Washington, DC: Library of Congress. September 2012. ’Braschi, a poet, essayist and novelist often described as cutting-edge, influential and even revolutionary’
  15. ^ Johnson, Hannah (May 26, 2011). "#BEA11: Books on Display, the Amazon Publishing Booth". Publishing Perspectives. ’Braschi is Puerto Rico's most influential and versatile writer of poetry, fiction, and essays’
  16. ^ "About Giannina Braschi". University of Oklahoma: World Literature Today. September–October 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-09-14. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 'One of the most revolutionary voices in Latin American'
  17. ^ a b Cruz-Malave, Arnaldo (September 1, 2014). "Under the Skirt of Liberty: Giannina Braschi Rewrites Empire". American Quarterly. 66 (3): 801–818. doi:10.1353/aq.2014.0042. S2CID 144702640.
  18. ^ Loustau, Laura (2002). Cuerpos errantes: Literatura latina y latinoamericana en Estados Unidos (Luisa Valenzuela and Giannina Braschi). Buenos Aires.
  19. ^ Marting, Diane E. (2010). "New/Nueva York in Giannina Braschi's "Poetic Egg": Fragile Identity, Postmodernism, and Globalization". The Global South. 4 (1): 167–182. doi:10.2979/gso.2010.4.1.167. ISSN 1932-8648. JSTOR 10.2979/gso.2010.4.1.167. S2CID 144342078.
  20. ^ Puga, Kristina (2013-04-27). "8 Poets Disclose their Favorite Lines of Poetry (Nuyorican poet Giannina Braschi on Vallejo)". NBC Latino. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  21. ^ Carrión, María (1996-01-01). "Geography, (M)Other Tongues and the Role of Translation in Giannina Braschi's El imperio de los sueños". Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature. 20 (1). doi:10.4148/2334-4415.1385. ISSN 2334-4415.
  22. ^ Kuebler, Carolyn. "Review of Empire of Dreams". Review of Contemporary Fiction. 15 (1).
  23. ^ Introduction to Giannina Braschi's Empire of Dreams, Alicia Ostriker, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994
  24. ^ Lengua Fresca, co-edited by Ilan Stavans and Harold Augenbraum
  25. ^ Foster, David William (1999). Review of Yo-Yo Boing!. McLean, Illinois: Review of Contemporary Fiction. pp. 202–203.
  26. ^ Introduction to Giannina Braschi's Yo-Yo Boing!, Doris Sommer, Harvard University, 1998.
  27. ^ The Boston Globe, "Spanglish is everywhere now, which is no problema for some, but a pain in the cuello for purists", by Ilan Stavans, 14 September 2003.
  28. ^ Gonzalez, Madelena (2014). "United States of Banana (2011), Elizabeth Costello (2003) and Fury (2001): Portrait of the Writer as the 'Bad Subject' of Globalisation". Études britanniques contemporaines (46). doi:10.4000/ebc.1279.
  29. ^ Braschi, Giannina, "What to Read Now: Mixed-Genre Literature", World Literature Today, September–October 2012 [1] Archived 2012-09-14 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ The Evergreen Review's 50th Anniversary Edition, (, Giannina Braschi, 2007.
  31. ^ O'Dwyer, Tess. Popping Up in Pop Culture and Other Unlikely Spaces: Latinx Author Giannina Braschi Crosses Over World Literature Today, Spring 2021.
  32. ^ Somoroff, Michael. Two Crowns of the Egg. Lens Culture Magazine. Damiani.
  33. ^ United States of Banana: A Postcolonial Dramatic Fiction, Juan Pablo Felix, Columbia University Stages, New York, 2015
  34. ^ Lindengren, Joakim (2018). "Image from United States of Banana: A Comic Book, Cobolt, 2017". Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures. 2 (2, 2018): 3–4. doi:10.2979/chiricu.2.2.02.
  35. ^ Bouche Caro, Gabriel.Latinx Spaces: On Turning Giannina Braschi's Poetry into a Song Cycle," Spring 2021)
  36. ^ New York State Writers Institute, The Conversation. "Stell designed this kinetic device to exist as a functional hybrid between typologies and named it after Giannina Braschi.December 7,2020.
  37. ^ Poets, Academy of American. "About Tess O'Dwyer | Academy of American Poets".
  38. ^ "Drömmarnas imperium".
  39. ^ Smith, Amanda M.; Sheeran, Amy (Spring 2018). "A Graphic Revolution: Talking Poetry & Politics with Giannina Braschi". Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures. 2 (2): 130–142. doi:10.2979/chiricu.2.2.10. JSTOR 10.2979/chiricu.2.2.10.
  40. ^ "Puerto Rico: 'I Took Liberties' – World Policy". Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  41. ^ Stanchich, Maritza (2020). "Bilingual Big Bang: Giannina Braschi's Trilogy Levels the Spanish-English Playing Field". Poets, Philosophers, Lovers: On the Writings of Giannina Braschi. Frederick Luis Aldama, Ed. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 9780822946182.
  42. ^ "La libertad no es una opción, es un derecho". El Nuevo Dia. September 24, 2012.
  43. ^ "The Puerto Rican Struggle and the Plight of Political Prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera". TPQ. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  44. ^ Roth, Larry (May 7, 2012). "Rushdie Brings PEN Festival to Close". The New York Times.
  45. ^ Figueroa, Jan Javier (July 16, 2019). "Diferentes opiniones sobre manifestaciones en Fortaleza Las manifestaciones exigiendo la renuncia al gobernador, Ricardo Rosselló, continuarán mañana a las cinco de la tarde". El Vocero, Puerto Rican News. El Vocero. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  46. ^ Cortez Chico, Ricardo; Lopez Alicea, Keila (July 18, 2019). "Mobilized by Indignation: Demanding the Resignation of Governor Rossello". Front Page News Image. The Daily News of Puerto Rico. El Nuevo Dia.
  47. ^ Mostafavi, Mohsen; Doherty, Gareth; Correia, Marina; Braschi, Giannina (2016). "Ecological Urbanism in Latin America". Revista Brasileira de Gestão Urbana. 8 (1): 7–11. doi:10.1590/2175-3369.008.001.SE07. ISSN 2175-3369.
  48. ^ Somoroff, Michael (2014). Two Crowns of the Egg by Giannina Braschi and Michael Somoroff. Damiani. ISBN 978-8862083539.

Further readingEdit

  • Aldama, Frederick Luis, Ilan Stavans, and Tess O'Dwyer. (2020) Poets, Philosophers, Lovers: On the Writings of Giannina Braschi. U Pittsburgh. ISBN 9780822946182
  • Gonzalez, Christopher. (2017) Permissible Narratives: The Promise of Latino/a Literature. The Ohio State University Press. ISBN 978-0-8142-5441-7
  • Gonzales, Madelena and Laplace-Claverie, Helene, “Minority Theatre on the Global Stage: Challenging Paradigms from the Margins," Cambridge Scholars, Newcastle, England, page xix and pages 255–264, 2012.
  • Marting, Diane E. (2010). "New/Nueva York in Giannina Braschi's 'Poetic Egg': Fragile Identity, Postmodernism, and Globalization." The Global South 4:1.
  • Torres-Padilla, J.L. (2007). "When Hybridity Doesn't Resist: Giannina Braschi's Yo-Yo Boing! In Complicating Constructions: Race, Ethnicity, and Hybridity in American Texts. U. of Washington P. Eds. David S. Goldstein and Audrey B. Thacker, 290-307.
  • Popovich, Ljudmila Mila (2010). "Metafictions, Migrations, Metalives: Narrative Innovations and Migrant Women’s Aesthetics in Giannina Braschi and Etel Adnan." International Journal of the Humanities 9:10. pp. 117–128.
  • Zimmerman, Marc (2011). "Defending Their Own in the Cold: The Cultural Turns of U.S. Puerto Ricans", University of Illinois, Chicago

External linksEdit

  1. Library of Congress, National Book Festival, Giannina Braschi.
  2. [2], The Evergreen Review:"United States of Banana" Reviewed by Cristina Garrigos and Daniela Daniele (2011)
  3. [3], WAPA TV, "Escritora puertorriqueña que poco a poco se ha abierto paso en Estados Unidos" by Normando Valentín, December 2011.
  4. Video on YouTube, television program in Spanish, "Celebrities desde Nueva York," con Alfonso Diaz, (Giannina Braschi on the collapse of the American Empire on September 11), November 2011.
  5. [4], "What to Read Now: Mixed-Genre Literature," World Literature Today, September–October 2012.