Alfonsina Storni: when feminism is poetry – Diario Hoy

Three of the greatest Argentine symbols were not born in our country: Carlos Gardel (France), Julio Cortázar (Belgium) and Alfonsina Storni (Switzerland). Alfonsina – like Eva Duarte de Perón, she is usually called by her name, as if she were a close relative – she was born in Capriasca, on May 29, 1892, and when she was four years old she was settled in our country. The first part of her childhood was spent in San Juan, there is a memory of those years that she would not erase in her life: “I am in San Juan, I am four years old; I see myself red, round, chatilla and ugly. Sitting on the threshold of my house, I move my lips as if reading a book that I have in my hand and I spy out of the corner of my eye the effect I cause on the passerby. Some cousins ​​embarrass me by yelling at me that my book is upside down and I run behind the door to cry.”

The next place would be Rosario, where his mother founded a home school and his father set up a cafe in the station area. Only when he was 19 years old did he settle in Buenos Aires. She came with a background as an actress and a teacher, but her great vocation was to write. She settled on a boarding house, and the following year she was a single mother. It was not easy to survive the economic hardship and the siege of prejudice. She worked as much as she could: cashier at a pharmacy, tutoring, and journalist for Caras y Caretas magazine.

In 1916 he published The restlessness of the rosebush, a book that was branded as immoral and silenced by the critics of the time. She happened to live in a time when it was believed that the woman he thought of had her ovaries drying up, and in the masculine realm of literature, a woman who assumed herself to be a poet was almost a contradiction in terms. The Mexican poet Amado Nervo, at that time ambassador of Mexico, gave her a strong accolade, and she became friends with Manuel Ugarte and José Ingenieros, who with her treatment gave her a citizenship card in the porteño literary scene. Among the few gifts of her luck, she counted her romance with Horacio Quiroga.

With his book Languidez, from 1920, which allowed him to win the First Municipal Prize and the Second National Prize, he won the battle for public recognition. The famous magazine Nosotros did a survey in 1923 about the three most respected writers in Argentina, and one of the most mentioned names turned out to be Alfonsina.

In 1938, the Ministry of Public Instruction of Uruguay organized a public meeting between Gabriela Mistral, Juana de Ibarbourou and Alfonsina Storni. The Argentine writer wrote her speech about the suitcase that held her legs on the trip that took her to Montevideo, according to what her grandson, Guillermo Storni, recalled. The Chilean poet, who would win the Nobel Prize seven years later, described Alfonsina as follows: “Pink skin, small in stature, very agile and with gesture, manner and all of it, mottled (forgive the expression) with intelligence.”

In his last poem, I’m going to sleep, he asks for earthy sheets, a lamp at the head and any constellation –“the one you like, they’re all good”–. And she leaves an order, in case he calls: “Don’t insist, I’m out”. We don’t know if he called, but we do insist. Over and over again, we insist. We return to her poems, to the courage of a pioneering feminism that is only now bearing the fruits she dreamed of. We know that on October 25, 1938, she got into the waters of La Perla beach, but what she has left behind is as big as the sea that swallowed her. As the Uruguayan writer and journalist Eduardo Galeano said: “Since then, she writes poems that speak of the embrace of the sea and of the house that awaits her there at the bottom of the avenue of the madreporas.”

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Alfonsina Storni: when feminism is poetry – Diario Hoy