Lucila Godoy Alcayaga, better known as Gabriela Mistral, was born on April 7, 1889 in Vicuña, Chile, and died on January 10, 1957 in the United States, as a result of pancreatic cancer.
Throughout her life, she stood out as a poet, diplomat and pedagogue. He came into the world from a humble family that inspired his vocations.
When Mistral was three years old, her father left home, but she never stopped loving him and never held a grudge against him. She herself told, in one of her anecdotes, that one day, while she was going through some papers, she found some texts in the form of verses, and that they seemed very beautiful.
The best poems of Gabriela Mistral
They turned out to be verses written by her father, and they were the first that Gabriela read in her life. From that moment, a growing passion for poetry was unleashed in her. But things did not stop there. Her father was also a teacher, and she also followed the path of teaching, although she was unable to study formally for the degree, as she did not have the necessary resources.
However, she served as an assistant teacher for some time, and was a teacher for one more season. Subsequently, she received the title of “state teacher”, thanks to her experience and the validation of her knowledge. Since then, he dedicated a good season to teaching.
She excelled so much in this field that she was hired by the Mexican government to lay the foundations for a new educational system that would continue to this day. His work was so thorough that hardly any reforms have been made since its creation.
His literary successes began on March 12, 1914, when he won first place in the literature contest, in the Floral Games, with his “Sonnets of death.” Since then, he began to use the pseudonym Gabriela Mistral , in honor of his favorite poets, Gabriele D’Annunzio and Frédéric Mistral.
Gabriela Mistral’s poems are loaded with a lot of emotion, and are directed to feelings such as love, or to social situations that were experienced at the time. “Selva lírica”, published in 1917, became one of the most important anthologies in Chile, and in it you could read texts by Mistral, who already shone as one of the great Chilean poets.
During her journey as director of the Temuco girls’ school, Mistral met a boy named Neftalí Reyes, who would later become a famous poet known as Pablo Neruda. Neruda remembered Gabriela as the woman who had made him read the texts of those great Russian writers who influenced him so much.
In 1922, what was considered Gabriela’s first masterpiece was born: “Desolation”. Much of the poems that make up this book were written ten years ago, when he lived in the province of Coquimbito. The Mexicans, in 1923, erected an honorary statue for Mistral, and published her book «Reading for women».
Gabriela achieved fame and historical significance thanks to all the effort and work done in various fields, but it was her poems that immortalized her. She developed her poetry by assembling short and long texts , and varying the technique and theme with which she carried them out.
We find countless short poems by Gabriela Mistral dedicated to feelings, social events and even children . Thus he managed to make millions of people fall in love, leaving a poetic legacy that transcended culturally and historically speaking.
Among his outstanding works are “Tala”, where he dedicated the first part of the book to his mother, who died in 1929; “Lagar”, her fourth collection of poems, and “Desolación”, where the poet’s diversity of inner emotions are reflected.
In 1945, Mistral became the first Ibero-American woman, and, in turn, the second Latin American person, to receive a Nobel Prize . Without a doubt, her name and her work had reached the pinnacle of literature and she became a woman who made her nation proud.
Another notable short poem is: «Kisses», where Mistral takes a tour of what could be considered the multifunctionality of that gesture that people make, either to show affection, gratitude and even to disguise a betrayal.
In her work “Piececitos”, the poet emphasizes the social moment that Chile was going through at that time, especially people from the most unprotected strata, and wondered why nobody did anything in that situation.
“Amor, amor” is a poem dedicated to this powerful feeling that would not be left aside for the poet, and that describes it as an inevitable destiny that sooner or later reaches the hearts of all. Love appears as something that cannot be controlled, and that simply sneaks into our lives.
Gabriela Mistral and her poems for children
Gabriela was an imaginative and intelligent woman, and it was the great quality of her poems that led her to obtain some literary prizes and world recognition. However, poetry was not the only front on which he excelled. He was also an important figure at a diplomatic and pedagogical level.
Thus, he carried out functions as a consul and was a representative of important organizations at the international level. She worked as a teacher, professor and became director, all without having completed professional studies at the Pedagogical Institute of the University of Chile. It was his skills and dedication that earned him public and professional recognition.
Those additional trades that were developed along with her poetry were what Gabriela Mistral’s poems for children leave us today. Thus, in 1924, his book “Tenderness” was published in Madrid, in which he displayed a novel poetic form that was popularly defined as “school poetry”.
In this way, Gabriela gave a new air to children’s poetry , imprinting her own style on lullabies, lullabies and rounds. A poetry that was sober and delicate, allowed to appreciate two of the passions that drove him in life. She was a great teacher and poet who knew how to combine both facets of her personality in an excellent way.