Alfonsina Storni

Alfonsina Storni was born in Capriasca, Switzerland, on May 29, 1892. Her parents were Alfonso Storni and Paulina Martignoni, she was the third of four siblings. Her first years of childhood were spent in San Juan. In 1901 the family moved to the city of Rosario, province of Santa Fe. There they tried to carry out projects to survive economically. Her father died in 1906 and her financial situation worsened. Then her brother-in-law also died. This fact coincides with the age at which Alfonsina began writing poetry, at 12 years of age. She had a bad memory of that moment and she expressed it with a sad poem that she left under her mother's pillow. When she read it, she shook her trying to make her understand that life was beautiful.

During the time that the Storni family was based in Rosario, Alfonsina's first poems began to have public status, they were published in the magazine Monos y Monadas that was published in that city. She, in turn, also worked in a cap factory.

In 1907 Manuel Cordero, a theater director who was touring the provinces with his company, arrived in Rosario. Paulina, her mother, contacted the company and was assigned a role. Alfonsina, for her part, attended the rehearsals and, given that two days before the premiere one of the actresses fell ill and she knew all of her roles by heart, she replaced her. The next day the press praised her performance.

Shortly after, she visited Rosario with José Tallavi's company to meet with Alfonsina, who showed them that she could recite and memorize long verses, and she was offered a job to tour the interior of the country. In this way, Alfonsina left Rosario's house with the rest of her family.

Upon her return, her mother had remarried. In 1909 she left her mother's home to finish her studies in Coronda as a teacher. Her national language teacher, Emilia Pérez de la Barra, encouraged her to work because she had detected in her the qualities of a writer.

In 1911 she had her first heartbreak with a married man older than her who left her pregnant. Alfonsina, ashamed, takes refuge in Buenos Aires and gives birth to her son Alejandro on April 21, 1912; she was 20 years old. The birth took place at the San Roque hospital (current Ramos Mejía Hospital) located at 609 Gral. Urquiza Street, in the Balvanera neighborhood.

In 1913 she got a job as a cashier in a pharmacy and later in a store. She began to make some collaborations in the magazine Caras y Caretas, and there she interacted with José Enrique Rodó, Amado Nervo, José Ingenieros and Manuel Baldomero Ugarte.

In 1916 she began to publish some poems and prose in the literary magazine La Nota, founded and directed by Emín Arslán. In that same year she published “The Restlessness of the Rosal”, a book of poetry where she expressed her desires as a woman and described her condition as a single mother without any type of complex.

Although the book was not widely accepted in the society of the time and sold few copies, the magazine Nuestros praised the collection of poems and from that moment Alfonsina entered its literary circle. She becomes known and admired, but she continues to have financial problems. She is appointed director of a school and while working there she writes her second book, “The Sweet Damage.”

In March 1918, her nerves forced her to leave her position as director and she re-entered literary circles. She publishes her second collection of poems and collaborates in the Atlántida Magazine while working as a custodian at a school, since her job as a writer was not enough to financially support her and her son.

In 1919 she published “Irremediably” and critics praised it. She also begins to write notes for the newspaper “The Nation”, under the nickname Tao Lao.

In 1920, she published “Languidez”, and they also created a Chair for her at the Lavardén Children's Theater, located at Av. Juan de Garay 1684, in the Constitución neighborhood. There she worked teaching children, among those students was the famous actress Amelia Bence (1914-2016).

His book “Languidez” won the First Municipal Prize for Poetry and the Second National Prize for Literature. Also, in 1920, she traveled for the first time to Montevideo where she raised a wave of admiration and sympathy. It was in order to read her poetry and that of Delfina Bunge, wife of the novelist and friend Manuel Gálvez, whose book “Poemas” was translated from French by Alfonsina, and to give a lecture on the poet Delmira Agustini. There she met the Uruguayan poet Juana de ibarbourou.

At the same time she participated in the Anaconda group, a literary group whose meetings were held in the city of Buenos Aires, in the home of the watercolorist Emilio Centurión. There she met her great friend Horacio Quiroga.

After the National Awards of 1922, the Minister of Public Instruction created a chair for her at the National School of Living Languages in 1923.

She continued publishing a collection of poems until in 1927 she premiered a play “The Master of the World.” This work was harshly criticized because of the feminist ideas expressed in it, and it does not last more than three days on the bill.

In 1925 she published Ocre, which marked a decisive change in her poetry. This era was fundamentally about love themes, it was also linked to feminist themes and tried to detach itself from the trappings of Modernism, and turn its gaze more towards the real world.

During that period, Gabriela Mistral visited her at the house on Cuba Street. It was an important meeting for the Chilean writer, since she published it that year in El Mercurio.

In the 1930s she traveled to Europe and attended the meetings of the “Signos” group, where important literary figures attended, such as Federico García Lorca and Ramón Gómez de la Serna. That trip allowed him to learn about the work of the “Generation of '27”. In this way, Alfonsina discovered a new way of writing, more in line with her internal vibrations at the time. She was then able to evolve, becoming a “poetess” to a “poet”, a liberated woman.

Alfonsina participated in the Tortoni peña along with Quinquela Martín, Juan de Dios Filiberto and Pascual de Rogatis, among others. The club was called “Signos” and from there the first Stentor radio broadcasts and other cultural activities were made. The writer Federico García Lorca did not miss a single night during his visit to Buenos Aires, between October 1933 and February 1934. Alfonsina would later dedicate a poem to him, “Portrait of García Lorca”, published in “World of seven wells”. ", in 1934.

Alfonsina made periodic trips to rest, due to her frequent nervous breakdowns. She used to go to Mar del Plata and Los Cocos, in Córdoba. After returning from her last trip to Mar del Plata she discovered a tumor in her chest; She successfully removed it, but the disease progressed and Alfonsina could not tolerate the ray treatment so she abandoned it.

Ella Alfonsina withdraws and barely goes out into the street. She lives her last years in fear of death. On October 18, 1938 she traveled again to Mar del Plata, she left farewell letters for her son and her friend Manuel Gálvez and sent her last poem to the Diario La Nación titled: “I'm going to sleep.” ”. Then, on October 25, they found Alfonsina Storni's body on La Perla beach. The next day her last poem was published in La Nación.