Gabriela Mistral, literary pseudonym of Lucila Godoy Alcayaga, was the first Spanish American author to receive the Nobel Prize in literature; as such, she will always be seen as a representative figure in the cultural history of the continent. One of the best-known Latin American poets of her time, Gabriela—as she was admiringly called all over the Hispanic world—embodied in her person, as much as in her works, the cultural values and traditions of a continent that had not been recognized until then with the most prestigious international literary prize. Mistral's works, both in verse and prose, deal with the basic passion of love as seen in the various relationships of mother and offspring, man and woman, individual and humankind, soul and God. A dedicated educator and an engaged and committed intellectual, Mistral defended the rights of children, women, and the poor; the freedoms of democracy; and the need for peace in times of social, political, and ideological conflicts, not only in Latin America but in the whole world. She always took the side of those who were mistreated by society: children, women, Native Americans, Jews, war victims, workers, and the poor, and she tried to speak for them through her poetry, her many newspaper articles, her letters, and her talks and actions as Chilean representative in international organizations. Above all, she was concerned about the future of Latin America and its peoples and cultures, particularly those of the native groups.

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Almost 10 years ago I was in the village of San Pedro de Atacama in northern Chile photographing the spectacular and varied landscapes of the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth. During my visit, I was able to capture the geysers in El Tatio, highest in the world at about 14, ft. One morning I got up early to capture the landscape at first light. Looking for a high vantage point, I hiked to the top of a steep trail near town. There I found a large, chiseled rock, and on the rock was a metal plaque with a short poem written by Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral.

There is a happiness for being healthy and for being just, but there is, above all, the beautiful, the immense happiness of being of service. This portion of the poem captures the gist of the whole, and it reminded me of my father, a salesman of school desks, maps, caps and gowns, yearbooks, graduation rings and many other educational things besides.

As a professional travel photographer, I am in competition with many other excellent photographers, and I am continually in search of ways I can distinguish myself from the competition, to stand out, to be the one who removes the rock from the road. I believe one of the biggest reasons I have been successful is I always try to go the extra mile. I may not always achieve my standards, but I always try. The beauty of this approach is threefold. First, and trust me on this, you will stand out by doing simple things that may not seem like much.

You do not actually need to go the extra mile; an inch will do. Second, it does not take talent, practice, expertise or education to provide good service, only a little time and desire. And third, you will experience the immense happiness of being of service. Now get out and shoot something. Newer Older.


Gabriela Mistral

Posts Comments. Mistral also worked as an educator and a diplomat. Learn more about this passionate poet by investigating the resources below. Gabriela Mistral brief bio English and Spanish. Gabriela Mistral Nobel Media. Gabriela Mistral Poetry Foundation.

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Primary Source Spotlight: Gabriela Mistral


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