Gabriela Mistral

Lucila Godoy Alcayaga, who used a literary pseudonym known worldwide as Gabriela Mistral, was the first female author in Latin America to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature . An important representative figure of the entire history and culture of the continent. A great poet who managed to win the admiration of the world for her works , with their cultural values and the traditions that she had from a continent recognized in the literary field.

Personal information

  • When was he born: 04/07/1889
  • Where he was born: Vicuña, Chile
  • When he died: 01/10/1957
  • Where he died: Hempstead, New York, United States

Who was Gabriela Mistral?

Gabriela Mistral has been one of the main bastions within Chilean and Ibero-American poetry who managed to win the Nobel Prize for Literature for her lyrical poetry inspired by emotions and for having been an ideal in the Latin American world.

  • Biography of Gabriela Mistral
  • Death
  • Gabriela Mistral’s personal life
  • Style
  • Physical characteristics
  • Personality
  • Acknowledgments
  • Works by Gabriela Mistral
  • Posthumous editions
  • Poems
  • Phrases
  • Importance of Gabriela Mistral
  • Presence in popular culture
  • Curiosities

Biography of Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela Mistral was born on April 7, 1889 in the city of Vicuña in the Coquimbo region . His father was Jerónimo Godoy Villanueva , a miner, school teacher and artist, his mother, Petronila Alcayaga Rojas , had a Basque background and worked as a dressmaker. When he was three years old, his father left home and family and then lived his entire childhood as a village in the care of his mother and a half-sister. It was this sister , who was a rural teacher, who taught her her first letters and educated her .

He learned to read when he was six years old and at the age of twelve he moved with his mother to live in the city called La Serena . He was self-taught and learned a lot about things and nature. When she was 14 years old, she began working as a rural teacher, works by the Colombian writer José María Vargas and Montaigne’s philosophical essays. While later working as a teacher, she also dedicated herself to writing for regional newspapers . He also worked at the Barrancas School and in Traiguén . She was appointed as director of the Girls’ Lyceum of Punta Arenas.

She was also working on programs and teaching plans for rural and indigenous areas of Mexico where she was invited by the Secretary of Public Education, finished her work as a teacher in Chile and later visited several countries such as the United States, Italy , France and Switzerland. . In Paris he assumed various functions within the International Institute for Intellectual Cooperation which was part of the United Nations society, how to delegate on behalf of Chile.

In 1933 she worked in various parts of the world and in Spain she was honored. He gave several lectures on Hispanicism , self- learning , and Indo-American history . She visited several places such as the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador among others and in this way managed to become one of the most acclaimed women in the entire continent.


Gabriela Mistral had lived for a long time in North America , on Long Island , New York , where she had discovered pancreatic cancer . With the passage of time, his state of health deteriorated and in the early morning of January 10, 1957 he died at Hempstead General Hospital after a tribute had been paid to him by the United Nations organization . His remains are found resting in his town Monte Grande as he had decided in his will .

Gabriela Mistral’s personal life

He met Romelio Ureta who worked how to start the railroad when he was 17 years old, he was the true love of his life and who would commit suicide on November 25, 1909 . According to the story, he also had an intimate relationship with a woman named Doris Dana whom he had met in New York City. In her personal life there was also a very important person, Juan Miguel , in Czech to satisfy her maternity wishes, he was her nephew with affection as “Yin Yin”.

This this young man died on August 14, 1943 when he was 17 years old, leaving a suicide note for Gabriela Mistral. This was a severe blow in the life of the author from which she could never recover and always insisted that someone had murdered her son.


His literary style is located within the period called modernist and mundonovista , but also found within the avant – garde period . Her poems were based on verse and prose and in her stages as a poet she represented much of her life including anguish and tragedy . In his works he had no rhetoric , preferring to use a language type colloquial . Among her favorite topics were motherhood , love , death as a final destination, and a type ofreligious pantheism that made references to Christianity . He also showed all his pedagogical concerns and was against machismo and inequality.

Physical characteristics

The Mistral was also expected to be average and dark-skinned, with a well-shaped nose as well as her eyebrows, and her hair was black and straight.


Gabriela Mistral had a quite sincere personality and temperament , she was characterized by being a rebellious woman and having a lot of sensitivity . She believed completely in education and in the protection of children , she defended women and the races that were persecuted, thus promoting social justice for the most humble.


There were many recognitions given to Gabriela Mistral for her work and for her work, some of them are mentioned below.

  • He received an Honoris Causa doctorate from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala.
  • The Swedish Academy presented him with an award in 1945, giving him the Novel Prize for Literature.
  • The Organization of American States created in 1979 the Gabriela Mistral Inter-American Culture Award in his honor.
  • In 1977 , the Gabriela Mistral Order of Educational and Cultural Merit Award was created .
  • private university that was inaugurated in Chile also bears his name in his honor.
  • The Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center was created in Chile.
  • The University of Chile founded the Gabriela Mistral Museum Room.
  • Chilean National Prize for Literature in 1951.
  • His image was captured on the 5000 Chilean peso bill and has been in circulation since 1981.

Works by Gabriela Mistral

Among his main works are the following:

  • Desolation : it was the first poetic work that made her known, a collection of poems full of expression and feeling in which she put aside reason and thought and whose main theme was love, suffering, religion and infidelity.
  • Tala : another of his significant collections of poems, he set aside the sentimental field to focus on those of vindication of idiosyncrasy. It was a work that had 3 sections and different titles.
  • Sonnets of death and other elegiac poems : it was a set of poems that he wrote when he began his career as a teacher and many verses were inspired by his love affair with Romelio Ureta.
  • Lagar : this was his last public work while he was alive and recounts the experiences he lived.

Posthumous editions

  • Desolation, Tenderness, Tala y Lagar
  • Poem from Chile
  • Gabriela Mistral in El Coquimbo
  • Complete poems
  • Gabriela Mistral essential. Poetry, prose and correspondence
  • Dear daughter
  • Dance and dream. Unpublished rounds and lullabies by Gabriela Mistral
  • Tales and autobiographies


  • Little Boy’s Feet
  • Ballad
  • We were all going to be Queens
  • Master’s Prayer
  • The Guardian Angel
  • Decalogue of the Artist and La Flor del Aire.


Some of his best known phrases were:

  • “I have a day. If I know how to take advantage of it, I have a treasure ”.
  • “The future of children is always today. Tomorrow will be late”.
  • “What the soul does for its body is what the artist does for his people.”
  • “Education is, perhaps, the highest way of seeking God.”
  • “The happiest days are those that make us wise.”
  • Wherever there is a tree to plant, plant it yourself. Where there is a mistake to amend, you amend it. Where there is an effort that everyone dodges, do it yourself. Be the one who moves the stone out of the way ”.

Importance of Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela foreigner, one of the most important in Chilean and Latin American literature . It was considered as the main reference to female poetry worldwide. He also wrote several poems related to education and many have been and continue to be part of the literary training of young children because thanks to his poetry it is possible to create musicality in language .

Presence in popular culture

In popular culture it is possible to find most of his history and his works and even in some documentaries that have been broadcast on television. Some of them are the following:

  • The Gabriela . A Story about Gabriela Mistral (2009)
  • Goodbye to Gabriela Mistral . Documentary short film.
  • Gabriela Mistral , a Chilean-Mexican film that deals with the controversy over her lesbianism.


Some of its main curiosities are mentioned below:

  • Gabriela Mistral managed to exert an important effect on Chilean literature including Pablo Neruda.
  • He had a political position as a control in New York.
  • After the mother of his nephew Juan Miguel Godoy died , he passed into the hands of Gabriela Mistral who took charge of his upbringing and whom he saw as his son.
  • Today the 5000 Chilean peso bill still shows his face.

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