Biography of Gabriela Mistral

Biography of Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela Mistral was actually a pseudonym for Lucila Godoy Alcayaga. She was born in 1889 in Vicuna, Chile. Mistral was raised in Montegrande, Chile by her mother, Petronila. Her father, Jeronimo Villanueva, left the family before Mistral was three years old. Mistral’s family was poor. Gabriela Mistral received a formal education only until the age of twelve. However, she continued to learn from her sister, Emelina, who encouraged Mistral to pursue a teaching career.

Gabriela Mistral’s love for poetry started at a considerably young age. Mistral did eventually become an elementary school teacher. While working as a teacher, she fell in love with a rural man. Sadly, the beloved man committed suicide, which caused Mistral grief. Her suffering was evident in the collection of poems she wrote after his death titled, Sonnets of Death. Three poems in her Sonnets of Death, won Mistral a national literary prize from the country of Chile.

In 1912, Mistral received a diploma to teach high school, and she accepted a position in Santiago. Mistral became a director of a high school for girls in 1918. In 1922, she accepted a request from the Mexican Minister of Education to teach the poor children in Mexico. She established small libraries to increase the literacy rate in Mexico. Mistral was awarded “Teacher of the Nation” by the Chilean government in 1923 recognizing her excellence in teaching.

Subsequently, Mistral immigrated to America, where she taught Spanish literature in colleges, most notably Vassar College. Gabriela Mistral continued to write poetry and publish many works in magazines.Mistral also served as a diplomat for Chile and won the Nobel Prize in 1945. Gabriela Mistral died in New York in 1957.


Categories: Biografía, Chile