José Gautier Benítez
|José Gautier Benítez|
José Gautier Benítez
|Born||April 12, 1849
Caguas, Puerto Rico
|Died||January 24, 1880
|Notable work(s)||A Puerto Rico|
|Relative(s)||Alejandrina Benítez de Gautier (mother); María Bibiana Benítez (aunt)|
Benítez was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico to Rodulfo Gautier and the Puerto Rican poet, Alejandrina Benitez de Gautier. His great-aunt, Maria Bibiana Benitez, was also a well known Puerto Rican poet. He was mostly influenced by the exponents of the Romantic poetry of the 19th century.
Benítez's father wanted him to take up a military career and so in 1865, he was sent to military school in San Juan. When he graduated, he went to Madrid, Spain, where he continued his military education.
When Benítez returned to Puerto Rico from Spain, he found a job in the provincial government office. According to his military records, between September 26 and November 8 of 1868, Benítez fought against the members of the "Revolution Committee of Puerto Rico" involved in "El Grito de Lares", a short lived independence revolt against Spanish rule in Puerto Rico.
In 1873 he joined the Liberal Reformist Party and became a principal force behind the creation of the Ateneo Puertorriqueño. In 1878 he became the co-founder, along with his friend Manuel de Elzabura, of the Puerto Rican Review. That same year he wrote his first poem A Puerto Rico (To Puerto Rico), was highly acclaimed by his contemporaries as one of his greatest works. A Puerto Rico also received an award from the Ateneo.
In 1879, Benítez's mother, Alejandrina, died and he also became terminally ill with tuberculosis. He retired to his house where he would live until he died. Benítez died in San Juan, aged 32 years of age and is laid to rest in Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery in Old San Juan.
Benítez's verses, entitled Poemas (Poems) were published posthumously in 1880.
Poems by Gautier Benítez
Among his works are: A Puerto Rico (Ausencia) (To Puerto Rico (Absence)), A Puerto Rico (Regreso) (To Puerto Rico (Return)) and the following:.
- Como Tu Quieras
- Deber De Amar
- El Manzanillo
- El Poeta
- Ella y Yo
- La Barca
- La Nave
- Las Aves De Paso
- Los Ojos De T.
- Un Encargo A Mis Amigos
- Un Sueño
Puerto Rico has named various avenues and schools after Benítez.
In the city of Caguas there is a high school and a housing project named after Gautier Benítez. The Municipal Island of Vieques honored him by naming its public library the José Gautier Benítez Public Library. In the municipality of Hatillo an elementary school was named after him. The sculptor Tomás Batista created a monument of Gautier Benítez which can be seen in Caguas. Also in the song "Lamento Borincano" the composer Rafael Hernández honored Gautier by mentioning him in it, "Borinquen, la tierra del edén. La que al cantar, el gran Gautier llamó la perla de los mares."
- List of Puerto Rican writers
- List of famous Puerto Ricans
- Puerto Rican literature
- French immigration to Puerto Rico