Judith Ortiz Cofer was born on February 24, 1952, in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico, to J. M. and Fanny Ortiz. Her family immigrated to the United States in 1956 when her father joined the U.S. Navy. The family made several trips back to Puerto Rico from their home in Paterson, New Jersey. In an interview for Melus she describes her experience in both cultures:
I write in English, yet I write obsessively about my Puerto Rican experience...That is how my psyche works. I am a composite of two worlds...I lived with...conflictive expectations: the pressures from my father...
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