10 January: Tribute to Gabriela Mistral
Gabriela Mistral (7 April 1889 – 10 January 1957), was a poet, diplomat, educator, and humanist. In 1945 she became the first Latin American author to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature.
Life and Career
She was born on 7 April 1889, in Vicuna, Chile. Early on, she started getting her poems published in local papers.
She started her career as a teacher’s aide when she was 15. Her sister helped her get a job even though she doesn’t have a solid foundation in formal education.
She started writing poetry while working as an educator, and some of it was published in local and national papers.
She wrote Sonnetos de la Muerte in 1909 after her lover died, and it won her a national award when it was published years later. As a teacher, she also had new avenues to explore because of her growing popularity as a poet. After teaching at prestigious schools, she gradually became a college professor.
She represented Latin America at the League of Nations Institute for Intellectual Cooperation in the late 1920s.
She got the title “Teacher of the Nation” in 1923 from her country.
She got a lot of invitations to speak at conferences and attend conferences as her work in education and poetry got more famous.
Between 1926 and 1932, she lived mostly in France and Italy. She also traveled extensively to Brazil, Argentina, the Caribbean, Uruguay, etc.
She worked at Middlebury College and Vassar College for a while and held a visiting professorship at Barnard College of Columbia University.
Over the years, she published hundreds of articles in Spanish-language magazines and newspapers.
She died on 10 January 1957, in Hempstead, New York.
In 1914, she won first prize in a national literary contest called Juegos Florales for her poem Sonetos de la Muerte.
In 1945, she won the Nobel Prize for Literature “for her lyric poetry, which is inspired by powerful emotions, which has become a symbol of Latin American ideals”.
She received the Chilean National Prize in literature in 1951.