In 1922, at the age of 33, Gabriela Mistral published her first collection of poems in New York desolation. It is one of his most recognized texts, the one that would boost his career, and in which he would also leave the main themes of his work planted; nature, childhood, spirituality, life and death, pain. Each generation, for a century, has been discovering an infinite woman, who never ceases to amaze; Her work has grown over the years and becomes more and more relevant. 100 years after the publication of this collection of poems, critics, poets, writers and specialists recount the legacy that persists to this day.
Lucía Guerra, literary critic, writer and feminist.
“Gabriela Mistral is a leading figure for generic minorities in Latin America. Already in 1906 in “The instruction of women”, an article published in Elki’s voice from the city of Vicuña, she denounces the injustices of the patriarchal system. In her poem “We were all going to be queens”, she reveals the falsity of the utopia of marriage raised as the only goal for the existence of women. Goal that keeps her in a subordinate position. Beyond the assigned role, Mistral offers the alternative of autonomy achieved through artistic creation. On the other hand, she anticipates the discourses of the feminist ideologies of the end of the 20th century by inscribing in her poetry, the relationship of women with Matter and her own body while in her writings published several years after her death, she gives voice to lesbian subjectivity that, for centuries, was silenced”
Paula Ilabaca, poet
“I think it taught us not to compromise with our ideas, our writing and what we think. In these new generations, an idea also persists that writing is a way of thinking and not only of capturing in a defined form (poetry, story, novel, dramaturgy, etc.) what we want to see come to light. We love Gabriela Mistral for that and we thank her for what we are still discovering about her.”
Diego del Pozo, literary editor, audiovisual producer and specialist in Gabriela Mistral
“One hundred years after his first book of poetry desolation, iconic work of Latin American modernism, I would say that the figure of Gabriela Mistral only continues to grow. In my opinion, she is the most important poet and intellectual in Latin America without comparison, and her message, of a timeless nature, gives us lights day by day to mark the path we must follow. She is an example of her as a woman, that she managed to get up and face all the adversities of her time, reaching the most important ranking of world letters, the Nobel Prize. Her reflections on democracy, Latin America, nature and equality are ideas that travel through time and tell us what horizon to pursue. Her story and her work are inspiring for all generations, I don’t know another character so transversal and so current at the same time occurs to me ”
June García, writer and feminist
“Gabriela Mistral’s legacy is tremendous and today we can read her with a different look than that Gabriela who wanted to impose herself on us, from a conservative society, beyond being that tender rural teacher. From the present, we can understand her as a profoundly political, desiring, complex woman, far outside this ideal of the perfect domesticated woman. It seems to me that there is something very particular about her legacy that, given the new perspectives that we can have, she feels absolutely inexhaustible. We continue to discover her with texts that did not circulate before and that today appear with great force and she continues to surprise us. She is an infinite woman. And a big part of her teaching for my generation of hers, the centennials, is that we can proudly call her the queer mother of the nation. She defied all heterosexual norms, she lived her desire freely, a life surrounded by women; that is obviously very special we have a queer woman on our bills! On the other hand, she leaves us a great responsibility with our land, our people, she was very concerned about that. When I think of environmental problems and conflicts I think of that Chile that she left us portrayed in her poems; that is the Chile that we want to rescue and care for. Not only to nature, but to the people of it.”
Daniela Schütte, Coordinator of Chilean Memory of the National Library
“The first thing that attracted me to Gabriela Mistral was the construction of the character. How from the margins she knew how to link and relate to her close and distant environment to move forward, to cement a place for her discourse and what it meant, without losing integrity, coherence or intellectual responsibility. Another matter that never ceases to amaze me is the diversity of his interests and passions, his bond with the land, the delicacy in observing people, trees, animals, the political, social, cultural, educational situation -and a long etcetera- of Chile, Latin America and the world. In other words, of everything that surrounded her and how her acute use of language not only made her pour it into the exact words, but also into the appropriate textual forms and rhythms, freely exploring from poetic texts, newspaper articles, essays, messages, among others. Lastly, I am moved by the contrasts of it. A being so complex and hard at times and so delicate and fragile at others; a person so rooted in her native land but who, in turn, lived looking for a place that would welcome her in a kind of self-imposed wandering, and how all these contrasts permeate each of her texts and her words. As she herself says, in one of her letters to Doris Dana, “I am a shy woman, despite the harshness of my verses.”