Endearing Quotes by Gabriela Mistral, Latina Nobel Prize Winner

Gabriela Mistral, born Lucila Godoy Alcayaga (April 7, 1889 – January 10, 1957), was a Chilean poet, educator, diplomat, and feminist. Following is a selection of quotes by Gabriela Mistral.

Notably, Mistral was the first Latin American woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. Born in Vicuña, Chile she was raised in the small Andean village of Montegrande where her family was rather poor.

Though she stopped formally attending school at the age of twelve, she became an educator just three years later. As devoted to her work as a diplomat as she was to her writing, she began writing poetry and using her pen name, Gabriela Mistral.

Her poetry was fueled by heartbreak and wide, varied life experiences. Enjoy a sampling of 9 poems by Gabriela Mistral

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“Let the earth look at me, and bless me, for now I am fecund and sacred, like the palms and the furrows.”

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“I have all that I lost and I go carrying my childhood like a favorite flower that perfumes my hand.”

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gabriela mistral

Learn more about Gabriela Mistral
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“I have a faithful joy and a joy that is lost. One is like a rose, the other, a thorn. The one that was stolen I have not lost.” – Selected poems of Gabriela Mistral (1971)

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“All night I have suffered; all night my flesh has trembled to bring forth its gift. The sweat of death is on my forehead; but it is not death, it is life!”

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“We are guilty of many errors and many faults, But our worst crime is abandoning the children, Neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, His blood is being made, And his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer ‘Tomorrow.’  – “His Name Is Today”

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“For me, religiosity is … the constant remembrance of the presence of the soul.”

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“At this moment, by an undeserved stroke of fortune, I am the direct voice of the poets of my race and the indirect voice for the noble Spanish and Portuguese tongues.”

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“Many things we need can wait. The child cannot. Now is the time his bones are formed, his mind developed. To him we cannot say tomorrow, his name is today.”

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quote by Gabriela Mistral

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“You saw her a hundred times, but not once did you look at her.”

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“In the secret of night, my prayer climbs like the liana, My prayer is, and I am not. It grows, and I perish. I have only my hard breath, my reason and my madness. I cling to the vine of my prayer. I tend it at the root of the stalk of night.” – “Selected poems of Gabriela Mistral,” 1971

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“You shall create beauty not to excite the senses but to give sustenance to the soul. ”

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Gabriela Mistral, 1945

8 Fascinating Facts About Gabriela Mistral, Latina Nobel Prize Winner

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“Love that stammers, that stutters, is apt to be the love that loves best.”

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“We are guilty of many errors and many faults, but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer ‘Tomorrow,’ his name is today.”

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“Love beauty; it is the shadow of God on the universe.”

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“I write poetry because I can’t disobey the impulse; it would be like blocking a spring that surges up in my throat. For a long time I’ve been the servant of the song that comes, that appears and can’t be buried away. How to seal myself up now?…It no longer matters to me who receives what I submit. What I carry out is, in that respect, greater and deeper than I, I am merely the channel.”

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“Many things we need can wait. The child cannot. Now is the time his bones are formed, his mind developed. To him we cannot say tomorrow, his name is today.”

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“Now what mattered to me no longer matters.”

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“Everyone left and we have remained on a path that goes on without us.”

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“She talks with an accent of savage seas. Her breathing is the breath of the wilderness, she has loved with a passion that makes her blanch, which she never mentions and which would be like the map of another star if she told us.”

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“She loved only her lover and Iphigenia in the narrowness of her cold breast.”

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“The night itself is riddled with her, wide with her, and alive with her.”

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Madwomen by Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela Mistral page on Amazon*
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Gabriela Mistral’s quotes on writing

“When I was a stable child of my race and country, I wrote about what I saw or what I possessed with immediacy: the warm flesh of the subject matter. Since I am a vagabond soul, in voluntary exile, it seems I only write from a central place, surrounded by a mist of ghosts.”

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“I write poetry because I can’t disobey the impulse; it would be like blocking a spring that surges up in my throat. For a long time I’ve been the servant of the song that comes, that appears and can’t be buried away. How to seal myself up now?…It no longer matters to me who receives what I submit. What I carry out is, in that respect, greater and deeper than I, I am merely the channel.” – Madwomen, 2009

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“Writing tends to cheer me; it always soothes my spirit and blesses me with the gift of an innocent, tender, childlike day. It is the sensation of having spent a few hours in my homeland, with my customs, free whims, my total freedom.”

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“Poetry simply exists within me, and on my lap; it is the thirst of a submerged childhood. Although the result is bitter and hard, the poetry I make cleanses me of the world’s dust and even the inscrutable, essential vileness similar to what we call original sin.” 

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“I like to write in a neat room, although I am a very disorganized person. The order seems to give me space; my eyes and soul have this appetite for space. Sometimes I’ve written following the rhythm I gathered from a channel of water flowing down the street beside me — or I’ve followed nature’s sounds. All melt within me and form a kind of cradle song.”

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Skyler Isabella Gomez is a 2019 SUNY New Paltz graduate with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Black Studies. Her passions include connecting more with her Latin roots by researching and writing about legendary Latina authors. 

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