Gabriela Mistral
Language Resources

Lucila de María del Perpetuo Socorro Godoy Alcayaga, better known as Gabriela Mistral, was born on April, 1889 in Vicuña, Chile. A poet, educator, diplomat and feminist, she was the first Latin American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature and was famed for being an educator and feminist. Her published work focuses on a range of topics, from love to sorrow.

Her background was impoverished, as her father left when she was only three. By the time she had reached her mid teens she was working to support her family. Her inspiration for being an educator began when she was taught at a young age by her sister. Her work was very influenced by Romelio Ureta, the love of her life, who committed suicide in 1909. This traumatic event caused Mistral to open her perspectives about death; this is evident in her first award-winning piece, Sonnets of Death, which won her the Juegos Florales contest.

After working as a school teacher, education reformer and increasingly well-known poet, Gabriela Mistral was invited to Mexico in 1922 by the country's Minister of Education to work on a plan to reform libraries and school systems. She published Desolación that year and Lecturas para Mujeres the following year.

Her international fame led to lectures at prestigious universities throughout the Americas and Europe. In 1924, as she traveled in Europe, she published Ternura, a collection of lullabies. In 1926, she retired from education and took a position in the League of Nations. She worked on conferences all around Europe and then became a consul from 1932 until she died. During this time period she produced hundreds of articles to the Spanish speaking world. In 1938, she published Tala, her second volume of poetry. Her final volume of poetry, Lagar, was published in 1954.

Gabriela Mistral Works

  • Sonetos de la muerte (1914)
  • Desolación (1922)
  • Decalago del artista (1922)
  • Lecturas para mujeres (1923)
  • Ternura (1924)
  • Nubes blancas y breve descripción de Chile (1934)
  • Tala (1938)
  • Antología (1941)
  • Lagar (1954)
  • Recados contando a Chile (1957)
  • Poema de Chile (1967; published posthumously)