Gabriela Mistral


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Mistral, Gabriela

 

(pseudonym of Lucila Godoy Alcayaga). Born Apr. 7, 1889, in Vicuna, province of Coquimbo; died Jan. 10, 1957, in Hempstead, N. Y. Chilean poet.

Mistral was the daughter of a schoolteacher. She also became a teacher and was active in public education. In 1924 she began her diplomatic career in Italy, later serving in Spain (1933–35), Portugal (1935–37), and Brazil and the USA (1938–46). In 1946 she worked for the League of Nations, the predecessor of the UN.

Even before the appearance of Mistral’s first book, Desolation (1922), her poetry, printed in provincial newspapers since 1903, had gained renown. Her early verses express the intimate feelings of a woman: tormented love and an unfulfilled desire for mother-hood. Mistral’s second collection, Tola (1938), reveals a broadening of her poetical range: the confession of a troubled soul who has absorbed the thoughts and feelings of the common people of Latin America.

Mistral was one of the first South American writers to make use of Indian lore in her poetry, combining the tradition of Spanish poetry with fresh, animistic imagery. Her last book of poetry, The Winepress, was published in 1954. In her article “Accursed Word” (1950), Mistral called for peace. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1945.

WORKS

Poesias completes. Madrid, 1958.
Anthologia. Santiago de Chile, 1957.
In Russian translation:
Stikhi. Translation and introduction by O. Savich. Moscow, 1959.
Lirika. Translation and introduction by O. Savich. Moscow, 1963.

REFERENCES

Neruda, P. [Preface to the poetry of G. Mistral.] Inostrannaia literatura, 1958, no. 1.
Ospovat, L. S. “Poeziia G. Mistral’.” Novyi mir, 1960, no. 3.
Monsalve, J. G. Mistral: La errante solitaria. Biografia. Santiago de Chile, 1958.
Ladrón de Guevara, M. G. Mistral: Rebelde magnifica. Buenos Aires [1962].
Alegria, F. Genio y figura de Gabriela Mistral. [Buenos Aires, 1966.]

L. S. OSPOVAT

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The "System" has received the UNESCO International Music Award (1993), the OAS Gabriela Mistral Award (1996), and the Principe de Asturias Award (2007), among other awards and recognitions.
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