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Her work also explores such subjects as racism and sexism in American culture, machismo and female empowerment in Puerto Rican culture, and the challenges diasporic immigrants face in a new culture.Among Ortiz Cofer's more well known essays are "The Story of My Body" and "The Myth of the Latin Woman," both reprinted in The Latin Deli.
A central theme Ortiz Cofer returns to again and again in her writing is language and the power of words to create and shape identities and worlds.
Growing up, Ortiz Cofer's home language was Spanish.
Despite Lugo's passion for academia, he left school and joined the U. He met Judith Ortiz Cofer for the first time two years later.
It is evident that her family's move from Puerto Rico to New Jersey influenced her writing.
They often made back-and-forth trips between Paterson and Hormigueros.
Ortíz Cofer reflects on these trips in her memoir, Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood, stating they were disruptive to both her education and her social life.
Her transition between Puerto Rico and New Jersey greatly influenced her writing because she was able to contrast the two cultures. Early in her writing career, Ortiz Cofer won fellowships from Oxford University and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, which enabled her to begin developing her multi-genre body of work.
In 1967, when Ortíz Cofer was fifteen, her family moved to Augusta, Georgia, where she lived until her death in 2016. Judith and her brother, Ronaldo, initially resisted the family's move South. Cofer was fluent in English and Spanish and worked as a bilingual teacher in the public schools of Palm Beach County, Florida, during the 1974-1975 school year.
After 26 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate students, Ortiz Cofer retired from the University of Georgia in December 2013.
Ortiz Cofer is best known for creative nonfiction works but she has worked in poetry, short fiction, children's books, and personal narrative.