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Alfonsina Storni: life and work

We review the life and work of one of the great voices of Argentine poetry.

Art and Literature

“I am a naked soul in these verses,/Soul naked, that distressed and alone,/Going leaving its petals scattered.” This is how one of her poems was the writer Alfonsina Storni, perhaps the most famous poet who gave Argentine literature.

Intimate and mysterious, it was his way of building and showing oneself. Eighty years passed after his death, but his verses are still reciting.

Born on May 29, 1892, in the Swiss village of Capriasca, she arrived in our country at the age of four: Argentina, that distant place she embodied with fist and letter, and from where she was part of a group of Latin American literates who fought not only for artistic recognition, but also for a place, like women, in the society they had to live. Among them, Chilean Gabriela Mistral and Uruguayan Juana de Ibarbourou.

Your days in Argentina

He lived in San Juan, Santa Fe and Buenos Aires. She went through a childhood with few economic resources, forcing her to leave her studies to porn herself to work. First as an assistant to his mother dressmaker, and after his father's death, as a worker in a hat factory. However, he never abandoned his desire to study. Already in Buenos Aires, she graduated as a teacher and was a teacher at the Lavardén Children's Theater and the Normal School of Living Languages.

In 1917, she became a director at a Marcos Paz school. But it was a year earlier when he published his first book, La uneasión del rosal, c on which he began to forge his deepest, vivid facet and with which he would be remembered in the history of Argentine literature.

From there, Alfonsina began to frequent some literary circles, such as the group Anaconda, with Horacio Quiroga and Enrique Amorín; or the group Signos, with Federico García Lorca and Ramón Gómez de la Serna, and to publish poems in the magazines Mundo Rosarino and Monos and  Cute. He also collaborated in the publications Caras y Caretas ; We ; Atlántida ; La Nota  , and in the newspaper La Nación , from which he spoke out for equality and women's rights.

  “ So” (fragment)  

Sad butterfly, cruel lioness,
gave light and shadow all in once.
When I was a lioness I never remembered
how I could one day butterfly be.
When butterfly I never
thought I could one day sail or bite.

Theater, mother and feminist

Storni also dabbed dramaturgy and children's theatre. In 1927, he premiered El amo del mundo, at the Teatro Nacional Cervantes, and in 1931, Two pyrotechnic farses .

She was a single mother at a time that was socially unacceptable or reproachable. She did not let herself overlook and brought to light her feminist spirit, also expressed in her lyrical. His poems “You want me blanca” , “So,” or “La loba” are examples of it.

Alfonsina's work

Some experts of Storni's work divide his production into two stages: one heavily influenced by romanticism and a more refined and beautizing modernism, the echoes of which can be read in The Restlessness of the Rosal  (1916), Sweet Damage  (1918) or Irretrievably (1919), and another characterized by a darker and nostalgic tenor, with a different and innovative verses construction, as in his books World of Seven Pools (1934) and Mask and Clover (1938).

 “ La loba” (fragment) 

I'm like the wolf.
I broke with the flock
and went to the
Fatiguada mountain of the plain.
I have a son fruit of love, of lawless love,
that I could not be like the others, ox caste
With a yoke on the neck; let my head rise free!
I want with my hands to remove the weed.
See how they laugh and how
they point to me Because I say it like this: (The balan sheep
because they see that a wolf has entered the pen
And they know that the lobes come from the scrub).
Poor and meek sheep of the flock!
Don't be afraid of the wolf, she won't hurt you.
But don't laugh either, that their teeth are fine
, and in the woods they learned their feline handles!


Then came the avant-garde and, with it, his poetic creativity and strength transformed into a more personal voice. In his book Languidez (1920) he began to break a certain metric and to use terms that come from the most everyday orality. Thus, he empowered a much more intimidating, intense and revealing first person.

  “ World of seven wells”  

It swings,
over the neck,
the world of the seven wells:
the human head.

And pink meadows open
in their silk valleys -
mossy cheeks.

And laugh
over the rope of the forehead, white
the distant light of a dead moon...

 “ Alfonsina Storni's work is born from his great sense of soul. His soul hovers over the realities of life at a height at which matter cannot follow him. That's where you both disagree. The dilemma is this: either descend the soul to the level of matter or ascend matter to the soul level. But Alfonsina Storni's soul does not compromise on descending,” says the poet Fernando Maristany.

Victim of terminal illness, he committed suicide on 25 October 1938 in the city of Mar del Plata. Before ending his life, he wrote the poem “I'm going to sleep”, with which he said goodbye to his son, his land and, of course, his readers.

  His last poem, “I'm going to sleep.”  

Flower teeth, dew cap, herbal
hands, you, fine nurse,
borrow the earthy sheets
and the weed moss duvet.

I'm going to sleep, my mother, lie me down.
Put a lamp on the bedside;
a constellation; the one you like; they're
all good; put it down a little bit.

Let me alone: you hear the buds break...
cradle a celestial foot from above
and a bird traces you a few bars

so you forget... Thank you. Ah, an order:
if he calls again on the phone
you tell him not to insist, that I came out...


Publication Date: 29/05/2019

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