José Gautier Benítez

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José Gautier Benítez
José Gautier Benítez
Born April 12, 1849
Caguas, Puerto Rico
Died January 24, 1880
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Literary movement Romanticism
Notable works A Puerto Rico
Notable awards Ateneo
Relatives Alejandrina Benítez de Gautier (mother); María Bibiana Benítez (aunt)

José Martín Antonio Gautier Benítez [note 1] (April 12, 1849 – January 24, 1880) was a Puerto Rican poet of the Romantic Era.[1]

Early years

Gautier 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.[2]

Gautier 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.[2]

When Gautier 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, Gautier 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.[3]

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.[2]

Later years

In 1879, Gautier 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. Gautier 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.[2] Gautier Benítez's verses, entitled Poemas (Poems) were published posthumously in 1880.[2]

Poems by Gautier Benítez

File:José Gautier Benítez (statue).jpg
Statue of José 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:.[4]

  • Americana
  • Como Tu Quieras
  • Deber De Amar
  • El Manzanillo
  • El Poeta
  • Ella y Yo
  • Enfermo
  • La Barca
  • La Nave
  • Las Aves De Paso
  • Los Ojos De T.
  • Oriental
  • Romance
  • Un Encargo A Mis Amigos
  • Un Sueño
  • Zoraida

Legacy and honors

The city of Caguas named a high school[5] and public housing project after Gautier Benítez.[6] The islandmunicipality of Vieques honored him by naming its public library the José Gautier Benítez Public Library.[7] In the municipality of Hatillo an elementary school was named after him.[8] The song "Lamento Borincano", from Rafael Hernández mentions Gautier Benítez in it "Borinquen, la tierra del edén. La que al cantar, el gran Gautier llamó la perla de los mares."[9]

See also


  1. This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Gautier and the second or maternal family name is Benítez.