12 halftones

Gabriela Mistral's Letters to Doris Dana

Edited and Translated by Velma García-Gorena



Honorable Mention for the Modern Language Association's Morton N. Cohen Award for a Distinguished Edition of Letters

The Nobel Prize–winning poet Gabriela Mistral is celebrated by her native Chile as the “mother of the nation” even though she spent most of her life in Mexico, Europe, and the United States. Throughout the Spanish-speaking world and especially in Chile, Mistral was characterized as a sad, traditionally Catholic spinster. Yet her voluminous correspondence with Doris Dana, long believed to be her secretary, reveals that the two women were lovers from 1948 until Mistral’s death in 1957. These letters, published in Spanish in 2010 and now translated for the first time into English, provide insight into her work as a poet and illuminate her perspectives on politics, especially war and human rights. The correspondence also sheds light on the poet’s personal life and corrects the long-standing misperceptions of her as a lonely, single, heterosexual woman.

Contributor Bios
Velma García-Gorena is a professor of government at Smith College and the author of Mothers and the Mexican Antinuclear Power Movement.