Saturday, February 18, 2012

Juan Boria

Juan Boria was born in Dorado, Puerto Rico on February 17, 1905. He started his primary education in his hometown, continued in the neighboring town of Toa Baja and completed high school in Santurce, in 1923. He attended the University of Puerto Rico, where he received a Masters in Industrial Arts, Drawing and Carpentry. In 1968, after 37 years of teaching carpentry, drawing and bookbinding, he retired.

In 1938, during a poetry recital, he became very interested in a poem his friend, Pablito Rivera, recited. His love for Afro-Caribbean poetry grew so much that he began to recite poems on a radio station. It was there that poet Fortunato Vizcarrondo heard and offered him his poems to recite. It was during that time that fellow poet Ramón Rivero (known as "Diplo") began to call Boria "El Faraón del Verso Negro" (The Pharaoh of the Black Verse).

In later years, Boria joined forces with Ramón Rivero "Diplo" and Jose Luis Torregrosa. Together,they traveled all over the island performing at various functions; Boria, both as a poet and as an actor. Under the recommendation of Luis Palés Matos, he traveled to Havana, Cuba, where he showcased his talents for two months. He was also sent to the Panama Canal, by the U.S. Government, to entertain the troops there. Soon after, he traveled to the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Venezuela, Spain and various cities in the U.S.

Boria also made television and film debuts, traveled to cultural centers, schools, and public squares in Puerto Rico and participated at the Cultural Olympics, held during the Ninth Pan American Games, in 1979.

Boria received over 200 awards during his career and an Honorary Doctorate, 'honoris causa', from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón (Sacred Heart University of Puerto Rico).

Juan Boria died May 29, 1995.

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