Hispanic Heritage

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Notable Hispanics: Luis Llorens Torres

Born on May 14, 1876, Luis Llorens Torres grew up to become one of Puerto Rico's most renowned poets of the first half of the 20th century.

Llorens Torres was born to wealthy plantation owners, growing up in a section of Juana Diaz known as Collores. It was his access to nature in the town of Collores that likely stoked his love of the outdoors, a love that was expressed in his poems, which are full of visual images of his native landscape.

After completing his secondary studies at the University of Barcelona and then earning his doctorate at the University of Granda, Llorens Torres returned to Puerto Rico in 1901. He would settle his family in the city of Ponce in southern Puerto Rico. It was in Ponce where Llorens Torres would start his own law firm and begin to collaborate with the newspaper Lienzos del Solar, a collaboration that literary historians suggest produced some of the writer's best works.

Upon settling in Ponce, Llorens Torres realized his native country had changed considerably while he was studying abroad. Most notably the country had been invaded by the United States as part of the Spanish-American War. Believing his native land deserved its independence, Llorens Torres used his poetry to express his beliefs. The poet also joined the Puerto Rican legislature, representing the municipality of Ponce from 1908 to 1910.

Two years later, Llorens Torres, along with Rosendo Matienzo Cintron, Manuel Zeno Gandia, Eugenio Benitez Castano, and Pedro Franceschi, founded the Independence party. That party was the first in the island's history to exclusively support independence for Puerto Rico.

Though that party was short-lived, Llorens Torres' literary influence was not. He would continue to write and promote Puerto Rican independence until his death in 1944. That legacy is still reflected throughout Puerto Rico, where an avenue in his name can still be found in San Juan.

The legacy of Luis Llorens Torres even lives on in the Bronx section of New York City, where the Luis Llorens Torres Children's Academy serves as a living testament to the writer's life and considerable literary and political accomplishments.