Gabriela Mistral

(7 April 1889 – 10 January 1957 / Vicuna)

Gabriela Mistral
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Gabriela Mistral was the pseudonym of Lucila Godoy Alcayaga, a Chilean poet, educator, diplomat, and feminist who was the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1945. Some central themes in her poems are nature, betrayal, love, a mother's love, sorrow and recovery, travel, and Latin American identity as formed from a mixture of Native American and European influences. Her portrait also appears on the 5,000 Chilean peso bank note. Mistral herself was of Basque and Aymara descent.

Early Life

Mistral was born in Vicuña, Chile, but was raised in the small Andean village of Montegrande, where she attended the Primary school taught by her older sister, ... more »

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  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (11/17/2015 5:01:00 AM)

    1945-2015: 70th Anniversary of Gabriela Mistral's Nobel Prize in Literature

    '' homenaje a una de las más grandes poetas de la lengua española, Gabriela Mistral, premio Nobel de Literatura en 1945 y una de las figuras hispanoamericanas de mayor prestigio internacional. Esta singular mujer, que ejerció el magisterio con excepcional vocación, sintetiza las utopías panamericanistas de una buena parte de la intelectualidad de la primera mitad del siglo xx en América. Gabriela Mistral es, por todo esto, la muestra más clara de hibridismo racial y cultural, la feliz conjunción de muchas vertientes poéticas. ''
    - Centro Virtual Cervantes -

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (11/17/2015 4:21:00 AM)

    Analysis of ''Todas Ibamos a Ser Reinas'' - ''We Were All to be Queens'' [see the 2 boxes below]

    In the poem ''We Were All to be Queens'', in her collection of poems 'Tala', Mistral writes of herself and three childhood friends.
    The poem demonstrates several themes and characteristics typical of her work. Representative of Mistal's own longings, there is a sad reminissence of the childhood fantasies of happiness and grandeur. Also present in the poem is the reverence for the Chilean landscape.

    Efigenia, Soledad, Rosalie and Lucila (the author) are all children in the small schoolhouse where Gabriel studied as a child. The ''four kingdoms on the sea'' could refer to the four corners of the one-room school. The mountains and valley that compose the far-off kingdom where the fantasy of their future lives is to take place reflects the landscape of Chile.

    The hundred mountains are the Andes prominent along the thin line Chile. Mistral creates the image of a circular valley surounded by spouting Chilean volcanos. The simili, ''that blaze red like burnished offerings or tributes of saffron ore'', not only evokes images of errupting volcanos, but also connects the landscape to the religion of the Chilean people. The offerings and tributes of the firey, volcanic land is in coexistence with the Catholic religion for which the red blood of Christ and the golden offerings to the church are fundamental parts.

    The life of the poet comes forth in this poem. Thwarted love and life plans that went unrealized are central to the poem. ''We said it, enraptured, and believed it perfectly'' manifests the emotional faith the author had that her childhood dreams would be realized.

    The ''kingdoms of the sea'' can be interpreted in several ways. The kingdoms may simply be the realization of the women's lives complete with perfect husbands, ''kings and poets like David of Judea'', and children. However, the kingdoms of the sea that the young girls dreamed of can be equated to the religious goals they had. The ''sea'' in this case, would take on its traditional meaning to symbolize death. The kindom of death being heaven.

    Mistral brings together themes of religion, love for her native country, and the young dreams of her childhood in ''We Were All to be Queens''. There is a sadness behind the poem as the poet seems to laugh at the naive hopes of her childhood.

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (11/17/2015 4:16:00 AM)

    - ENGLISH TEXT of ''Todas Ibamos a Ser Reinas'' (see box belw) -

    ''We Were All To Be Queens''

    We were all to be queens
    of four kingdoms on the sea:
    Efigenia with Soledad,
    and Lucila with Rosalie.

    In the Valley of Elqui, encircled
    by a hundred mountains or more
    that blaze red like burnished offerings
    or tributes of saffron ore,

    We said it, enraptured,
    and believed it perfectly,
    that we would all be queens
    and would one day reach the sea.

    With our braids of seven-year-olds
    and bright aprons of percale,
    chasing flights of thrushes
    among the shadows of vine and grape.

    And our four kingdoms, we said,
    so vast and great would be,
    that as certain as the Koran
    they would all reach the sea.

    We would wed four husbands
    at the time when we should wed,
    and they would all be kings and poets
    like King David of Judea.

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (11/17/2015 4:14:00 AM)

    another poem by Gabriela Mistral (in its ORIGINAL TEXT) :

    Todas Ibamos a Ser Reinas

    Todas íbamos a ser reinas,
    de cuatro reinos sobre el mar:
    Rosalía con Efigenia y
    Lucila con Soledad.

    En el valle de Elqui, ceñido
    de cien montañas o de más,
    que como ofrendas o tributos
    arden en rojo y azafrán.

    Lo decíamos embriagadas,
    y lo tuvimos por verdad,
    que seríamos todas reinas
    y llegaríamos al mar.

    Con las trenzas de los siete años,
    y batas claras de percal,
    persiguiendo tordos huidos
    en la sombra del higueral.

    De los cuatro reinos,
    decíamos, indudables como el Korán,
    que por grandes y por cabales
    alcanzarían hasta el mar.

    Cuatro esposos desposarían,
    por el tiempo de desposar,
    y eran reyes y cantadores
    como David, rey de Judá.

Read all 4 comments »
Best Poem of Gabriela Mistral

To See Him Again

Never, never again?
Not on nights filled with quivering stars,
or during dawn's maiden brightness
or afternoons of sacrifice?

Or at the edge of a pale path
that encircles the farmlands,
or upon the rim of a trembling fountain,
whitened by a shimmering moon?

Or beneath the forest's
luxuriant, raveled tresses
where, calling his name,
I was overtaken by the night?
Not in the grotto that returns
the echo of my cry?

Oh no. To see him again --
it would not matter where --
in heaven's deadwater
or inside the boiling vortex,
under ...

Read the full of To See Him Again Updates

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