Latinamerican Poetry: Female voices that marked history

With out these women, South American poesy wouldn’t be what it is today

Poetry, that artistic expression that uses words to transmit emotions, is a literary genre of great wealth in Latin America. There have emerged great poets recognized worldwide as Pablo Neruda and Octavio Paz, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990. However, there are also women who raised their voices in the name of love, pain, and the struggle for equality. Furthermore, their work continues to inspire thousands of women seeking women's empowerment.

In the following list, there are some of the best South American female poets that you should read:

  • Gabriela Mistral: winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945, this poet has been one of the most influential poets in Latin American literature. She was born on April 7, 1889 in Vicuña, Chile. In her work, she dedicates words to love, feminine strength, beauty, death, earth, love, and forgetfulness. Mistral prints in her poems a touch of seduction; moreover, her poems are full of metaphors. In her poem Fear, she demands the release of female stereotypes: "I do not want my girl to be made a princess, with golden shoes, how does she play in the prairies?". Among her verses there are: The rural teacher, Goodbye, Ballad, Attached to me and The land and women. She died on January 10, 1957.
  • María Calcaño: was a Venezuelan poet born on December 12, 1906. She was married at age 14, lived a truncated adolescence, and was forced to leave her studies, according to the official biography. Calcaño was a revolutionary in her time, although her work was known late, and she wrote mainly erotic poetry. Among her work, it is highlighted The Living Dream included in her book Alas Fatales written in 1935. The author wrote: "Dream and solar ... but be awake and dazed from this deep painful pleasure". Her work was also marked by a touch of sensuality, passion, and metaphors. She spoke about love, courage, rebellion, and courage; also, she dedicated her work to talk about the loss of innocence and her experience in early marriage. Furthermore, Calcaño published: Songs that heard my last dolls (1956) and a posthumous work Between the moon and men (1961). She died on December 23, 1956
  • Meira del Mar: The Colombian with Lebanese ancestry, Olga Isabel Chams Eljach, was a dreamy and romantic poet who was forced to create a pseudonym to dedicate herself to writing. She created verses of impossible love, as in the poem Faraway song: "And I also like the whole afternoon I will become happy to love you and wait for you (...)". The poet was born on April 21, 1922 and died on March 18, 2009, when according to her official biography, she was nominated for the Queen Sofia Award of the Spanish crown. Meira del Mar maintained the illusion of winning it. With a touch of feminism, her poetry delves into nostalgia, love, reflections about life and loss. She published three books: Alba de olvido, Sitio del amor and Verdad del sueño. The public library of the Atlantic department in Colombia, where she was born and died, was named in her honor: Meira Delmar Departmental Public Library.
  • Alejandra Pizarnik: born in Argentina, on April 29, 1936, was a woman who never found her place in the world. Of Russian-Jewish ancestry, Pizarnik always felt that she did not belong anywhere, as she stated in the poem En extrañas cosas moro: "I'm just not of this world. I live with the moon frenzy (...) ". The author was submerged in pain and depression, in fact, in her poems she warned her own suicide, which occurred in 1972. Pizarnik’s poetry revolves around death, love, innocence, emptiness, and reflections about the world. The poetic work is full of metaphors that reflected her sadness and loneliness. Among her most outstanding poems are: Mendiga voz, Piedra fundamental, Noche and Árbol de Diana.
  • Gioconda Belli: is a poet and novelist born in Nicaragua on December 9, 1948. Her poetic work is characterized by delving into issues such as struggle and social problems, hope, social equality, love, femininity, life, and eroticism. Her voice has a high national sense as it is read in One does not choose: "One does not choose the time to come to the world, but it must leave a trace of his time". The government of France awarded her with the distinction of the Knight Order of Arts and Letters in 2013.

Latin American Post | Grecia Argel

Translated by Marcela Peñaloza


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