Olga Acevedo (1895-1970)

Poems and translations: Nieve and Serenata.

Olga Acevedo, a Chilean poet, began publishing in the 1920s. A late 20th century crtic says of Acevedo, “her style is modern, but unclassifiable” (Orozco de Mateos). Her early work tends to be philosophical and mystical. The editors of Selva Lírica, a 1917 poetry anthology, called her the greatest woman poet after Gabriela Mistral and said that Acevedo’s work “inspira la sensación más encantadora de sinceridad espiritual y riqueza artística” ‘inspires the most bewitching sensation of spiritual sincerity and artistic richness” (Nómez 447). Pablo Neruda admired her work and wrote poetry to her. Together with Gabriela Mistral and Julio Munizaga Ossandon, she edited the literary magazine Mireya (Vega Letelier).

Her books include: Los cantos de la montaña (1927), Siete palabras de una canción ausente (1929); El árbol solo (1933); La rosa del hemisferio (1937); La violeta y su vértigo (1942); Donde crece el zafiro (1948), Las cábalas del sueño (1950), Isis (1954), Los himnos (1968) and La víspera irresistible (1968).

In “Nieve,” a prose-poem reminiscent of Andre Gide’s Les nourritures terrestres, Acevedo describes her relationship to a stark and snowy landscape, and declares although the snow is beautiful, she prefers the chaotic beauty of fertile Mother-Earth. In “Serenata” Acevedo addresses the moon, inviting its light to ravish her and transform her body into ethereal non-being. The poem expresses a passionate longing for union with the abstract.

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