Madwomen: The "Locas mujeres" Poems of Gabriela Mistral, a Bilingual Edition

University of Chicago Press
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A schoolteacher whose poetry catapulted her to early fame in her native Chile and an international diplomat whose boundary-defying sexuality still challenges scholars, Gabriela Mistral (1889–1957) is one of the most important and enigmatic figures in Latin American literature of the last century. The Locas mujeres poems collected here are among Mistral’s most complex and compelling, exploring facets of the self in extremis—poems marked by the wound of blazing catastrophe and its aftermath of mourning.
From disquieting humor to balladlike lyricism to folkloric wisdom, these pieces enact a tragic sense of life, depicting “madwomen” who are anything but mad. Strong and intensely human, Mistral’s poetic women confront impossible situations to which no sane response exists. This groundbreaking collection presents poems from Mistral’s final published volume as well as new editions of posthumous work, featuring the first English-language appearance of many essential poems. Madwomen promises to reveal a profound poet to a new generation of Anglophone readers while reacquainting Spanish readers with a stranger, more complicated “madwoman” than most have ever known.
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About the author

Randall Couch is adjunct professor of English at Arcadia University and an administrator at the University of Pennsylvania. He received Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowships in poetry in 2000 and 2008.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Sep 1, 2009
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Pages
184
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ISBN
9780226531892
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Poetry / Caribbean & Latin American
Poetry / General
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This content is DRM protected.
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The first Latin American to receive a Nobel Prize for Literature, the Chilean writer Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957) is often characterized as a healing, maternal voice who spoke on behalf of women, indigenous peoples, the disenfranchised, children, and the rural poor. She is that political poet and more: a poet of philosophical meditation, self-consciousness, and daring. This is a book full of surprises and paradoxes. The complexity and structural boldness of these prose-poems, especially the female-erotic prose pieces of her first book, make them an important moment in the history of literary modernism in a tradition that runs from Baudelaire, the North American moderns, and the South American postmodernistas. It's a book that will be eye-opening and informative to the general reader as well as to students of gender studies, cultural studies, literary history, and poetry.

This Spanish-English bilingual volume gathers the most famous and representative prose writings of Gabriela Mistral, which have not been as readily available to English-only readers as her poetry. The pieces are grouped into four sections. "Fables, Elegies, and Things of the Earth" includes fifteen of Mistral's most accessible prose-poems. "Prose and Prose-Poems from Desolación / Desolation [1922]" presents all the prose from Mistral's first important book. "Lyrical Biographies" are Mistral's poetic meditations on Saint Francis and Sor Juana de la Cruz. "Literary Essays, Journalism, 'Messages'" collects pieces that reveal Mistral's opinions on a wide range of subjects, including the practice of teaching; the writers Alfonso Reyes, Alfonsina Storni, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Pablo Neruda; Mistral's own writing practices; and her social beliefs. Editor/translator Stephen Tapscott rounds out the volume with a chronology of Mistral's life and a brief introduction to her career and prose.

La inconfundible pluma de Gabriela Mistral se nos presenta como una voz que recuerda y proyecta, de manera atemporal y como los grandes genios de la historia, una intención de identidad nacional. Algo que nos aúna a todos y nos ayuda a reconocernos en el otro, para mejorar nuestra posibilidad de construir juntos un futuro. Pensando a Chile es literalmente una contribución para pensar el país hoy. Una recopilación útil y con altura de mira para reflexionar dónde estamos situados y para dónde vamos. Cada uno de sus textos, cartas, recados y poemas nos permiten reconocer y reconocernos, en una historia común, un espacio de configuración crítica y un orgullo natural por Chile; esa larga y estrecha franja vista desde todos sus matices, por una de las intelectuales más significativas que ha producido esta tierra. Un texto fundamental para ver el Chile de ayer, hoy y mañana. SOBRE EL COMPILADOR Jaime Quezada (1942) es poeta, ensayista y crítico literario. Estudió Derecho y Literatura en la Universidad de Concepción. Pertenece a la generación de los años Sesenta, llamada también Diezmada o de la Diáspora, y es un estudioso investigador de la literatura chilena contemporánea, de manera especial en la vida y obra de Gabriela Mistral. Es autor de más de una quincena de libros, entre ellos El año de la ira (Bravo y Allende Editores 2003, Catalonia 2013); Bolaño antes de Bolaño. Diario de una residencia en México (Editorial Catalonia, Santiago, 2007) y Siete presidentes de Chile en la vida de Gabriela Mistral ( Catalonia, 2009) Ha sido presidente de la Sociedad de Escritores de Chile (1989-1991), crítico literario de las revistas Ercilla y Paula y de los diarios El Mercurio, Las Últimas Noticias y Austral de Valdivia; director del taller de poesía de la Fundación Pablo Neruda; representante del Presidente de la República en el Consejo Nacional del Libro y la Lectura (1994-2001). Es presidente de la Fundación Premio Nobel Gabriela Mistral.
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