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Braschi writes cross-genre works in Spanish, Spanglish, and English. Her story-telling incorporates elements of poetry, novel, musical theatre, metafiction, manifesto, and political philosophy. Her work explores the enculturation journey of Hispanic immigrants, and dramatizes the three main political options of Puerto Rico: independence, colony, and state.
Early life in Puerto Rico
Giannina Braschi was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to an upper class family of Italian ancestry. She was a student of Sacred Heart. In 1966, she ranked first place in the US Tennis Association's national tournament and became the youngest female tennis champion in Puerto Rico. Her father Euripides ("Pilo") Braschi was also a tennis champion. She was a founding member of the San Juan Children's Choir and a fashion model during her teen years. In the late 1970s, she studied literature and philosophy in Madrid, Rome, Rouen and London, before she settled in New York City.
Braschi's work is situated in the Latinx avant-garde, a "burgeoning body of work that testifies to Latinx writers' abiding interest in the avant-garde as a means for engaging ideas of material, social relevance". Braschi is considered a "revolutionary voice"in contemporary Latin American literature".
In the 1980s, Braschi wrote dramatic poetry in Spanish prose in New York City. 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). She lived in New York City and was part of the Nuyorican movement. "The Big Apple" 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. Immigrant characters play the role of other characters, swapping names, genders, personal histories, and identities.Alicia Ostriker situates her gender-bending and genre-blending poetry as having a "sheer erotic energy that defies definition and dogma."
Braschi published the geopolitic comic-tragedy United States of Banana, her first book written entirely in English, in 2011. It is a postmodern work using different genres and techniques to explore cultural and political shifts in the United States and the world after the attacks of 9/11. The work is a critique of 21st-century capitalism, corporate censorship, and the global war on terror. 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."
Braschi is an advocate for Puerto Rican independence. She declared the independence of Puerto Rico in United States of Banana and stated in the press that "Liberty is not an option -- it is a human right." 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 writers Ana Lydia Vega and Rigoberta Menchú. 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.
^Sommer, Doris (1998). Introduction to Yo-Yo Boing!. Pittsburgh: Latin American Literary Review Press. ISBN978-0-935480-97-9.
^Perisic, Alexandra (2019). Precarious Crossings: Immigration, Neoliberalism, and the Atlantic. Ohio: The Ohio State University Press. pp. 155-157. hdl:1811/88397. ISBN978-0-8142-5552-0.
^ abRiofrio, 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.
^"Giannina Braschi". National Book Festival. Library of Congress. 2012. 'Braschi: one of the most revolutionary voices in Latin America today'
^"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'
^"About Giannina Braschi". University of Oklahoma: World Literature Today. September-October 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-09-14. Retrieved . 'One of the most revolutionary voices in Latin American'
^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. ISBN9780822946182.
^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.
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.
Ljudmila Mila Popovich (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.
Marc Zimmerman (2011). "Defending Their Own in the Cold: The Cultural Turns of U.S. Puerto Ricans", University of Illinois, Chicago.
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.