Alfonsina Storni

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Alfonsina Storni
Born(1892-05-29)29 May 1892
Sala Capriasca, Switzerland
Died25 October 1938(1938-10-25) (aged 46)
Mar del Plata, Argentina
Resting placeLa Chacarita Cemetery
Literary movementModernism
Notable worksLa inquietud del rosal ("The Restlessness of the Rose")
El dulce daño ("Sweet injury")


Alfonsina Storni (29 May 1892 – 25 October 1938) was an Argentine poet of the modernist period.[1]

Early life[edit]

Storni was born into a middle-class family on May 29, 1892 in Sala Capriasca, Switzerland. Her parents were Alfonso Storni and Paula Matrignomi di Storni, who were of Italian-Swiss descent. Before her birth, her father had started a brewery in the city of San Juan, Argentina, producing beer and soda. In 1891, following the advice of a doctor, he returned with his wife to Switzerland, where Alfonsina was born the following year; she lived there until she was four years old. In 1896 the family returned to San Juan, and a few years later, in 1901, moved to Rosario because of economic issues[vague]. There her father opened a tavern, where Storni did a variety of chores. That family business soon failed, however. Storni wrote her first verse at the age of twelve, and continued writing verses during her free time. She later entered into the Colegio de la Santa Union as a part-time student.[2] In 1906, her father died and she began working in a hat factory to help support her family.[2]

In 1907, her interest in dance led her to join a traveling theatre company, which took her around the country. She performed in Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts, Benito Pérez Galdós's La loca de la casa, and Florencio Sánchez's Los muertos. In 1908, Storni returned to live with her mother, who had remarried and was living in Bustinza. After a year there, Storni went to Coronda, where she studied to become a rural primary schoolteacher. During this period, she also started working for the local magazines Mundo Rosarino and Monos y Monadas, as well as the prestigious Mundo Argentino.[citation needed]

In 1912 she moved to Buenos Aires, seeking the anonymity afforded by a big city. There she met and fell in love with a married man whom she described as "an interesting person of certain standing in the community. He was active in the politics..."[2] That year, she published her first short story in Fray Mocho.[2] At age nineteen, she found out that she was pregnant with the child of a journalist and became a single mother.[2] Supporting herself with teaching and newspaper journalism, she lived in Buenos Aires where the social and economical difficulties faced by Argentina's growing middle classes were inspiring an emerging body of women's rights activists.[3]

Storni in 1916

In spite of economic difficulties, she published La inquietud del rosal in 1916, and later started writing for the magazine Caras y Caretas while working as a cashier in a shop. Storni soon became acquainted with other writers, such as José Enrique Rodó and Amado Nervo. Her economic situation improved, which allowed her to travel to Montevideo, Uruguay. There she met the poet Juana de Ibarbourou, as well as Horacio Quiroga, with whom she would become great friends. Her 1920 book Languidez received the first Municipal Poetry Prize and the second National Literature Prize.[3]

She taught literature at the Escuela Normal de Lenguas Vivas, and she published Ocre. Her style now showed more realism than before, and a strongly feminist theme. Solitude and marginality began to affect her health, and worsening emotional problems forced her to leave her job as teacher. Trips to Europe changed her writing by helping her to lose her former models, and reach a more dramatic lyricism, loaded with an erotic vehemence unknown in those days, and new feminist thoughts in Mundo de siete pozos (1934) and Mascarilla y trébol (1938).[3]


Storni was one of few women to move in the male-dominated arenas of literature and theatre, and as such, developed a unique and valuable voice that holds particular relevance in Latin American women's poetry.[3] She criticized several different topics from politics to the roles of the sexes.[2] Storni published some of her first works in 1916 in Emin Arslan's literary magazine La Nota, where she was a permanent contributor from 28 March until 21 November 1919.[4][5][6] Her poems “Convalecer” and “Golondrinas” were published in the magazine. Storni was an influential person, not only to her readers but also to other writers.[5] Though she was known mainly for her poetic works, she also wrote prose.[5] Storni often gave controversial opinions.[2]

She was the winner of the First Municipal Poetry Prize and the second National Literature Prize for her book Languidez. Storni had several phases of writing over the course of her career: the first from 1916–20, a second from 1925-26, and a third from 1934 until her death in 1938. In Storni's time, her work did not align itself with a particular movement or genre. It was not until the modernist and avant-garde movements[7] began to fade that her work seemed to fit in. She was criticized for her atypical style, and she has been labeled most often as a postmodern writer.[8] In 1919 alone Storni authored six short stories, two novels, and a series of essays. The publication of Languidez followed the next year[when?], closing one period of writing and opening another. Five years later[when?] she authored Ocre during a period of transition that shifted her tone of irony which would go on to characterize her following works.[3]

Storni's early poetry received criticism for being immature, although these works are among her most well known and regarded. The eroticism and feminist themes in her writing have also received harsh criticism, but as time passed critics noted that her work matured and developed. After a nearly eight-year absence from writing, she returned with two books, Mundo De Siete Pozos and Mascarill Y Trebol, that now mark the height of her poetic maturity.[citation needed]


In 1935, Storni discovered a lump on her left breast and decided to undergo an operation. On May 20, 1935, she underwent a radical mastectomy.[2] In 1938 she found out that the breast cancer had reappeared.[2] Around 1:00 AM on Tuesday, 25 October 1938. Storni left her room and headed towards the sea at La Perla beach in Mar del Plata, Argentina and died by suicide. Later that morning two workers found her body washed up on the beach. Although her biographers hold that she jumped into the water from a breakwater, popular legend is that she slowly walked out to sea until she drowned. She is buried in La Chacarita Cemetery.[9] Her death inspired Ariel Ramírez and Félix Luna to compose the song "Alfonsina y el Mar" ("Alfonsina and the Sea").[10]


Monument to Alfonsina Storni in Mar del Plata, Argentina
  • 1916 La inquietud del rosal ("The Restlessness of the Rosebush")[11]
  • 1916 Por los niños que han muerto("For the kids that have died")[12]
  • 1916 Canto a los niños("Sing to the Children")[12]
  • 1918 El dulce daño ("The Sweet Harm")[11]
  • 1918 Atlántida colaboracion.[13]
  • 1919 Irremediablemente ("Irremediably")[11]
  • 1919 Una golondrina [12]
  • 1920 Languidez ("Languidness")[11]
  • 1925 Ocre ("Ochre")[11]
  • 1926 Poemas de amor ("Love poems")[11]
  • 1927 El amo del mundo: comedia en tres actos - play ("Master of the world: a comedy in three acts" [11]
  • 1932 Dos farsas pirotécnicas - play ("Two pyrotechnic farces")[11]
  • 1934 Mundo de siete pozos ("World of seven wells")[11]
  • 1938 Mascarilla y trébol ("Mask and trefoil")[11]
  • 1938 I am Going to Sleep[11]

Some of Storni's work

Teeth of flowers, cap of dew hands of grass, you, kind nurse, have ready for me sheets of earth and the eiderdown of fresh moss

I shall sleep now, my nurse; help me to bed. Put a lamp at the head; a constellation, whichever you choose; all are fine; turn down a light a bit.

Leave me now; hear the buds bursting... from above a heavenly foot will rock you and a bird will sing to you

that you might forget... Thank you. Ah, One request! If he should phone again, tell him not to persist, for I have left...

Post mortem:

  • 1938 Antología poética ("Poetic anthology")[11]
  • 1950 Teatro infantil ("Plays for children")[11]
  • 1968 Poesías completas ("Complete poetical works")[11]
  • 1998 Nosotras y la piel: selección de ensayos ("We (women) and the skin: selected essays")[11]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 1910 She receives her title as "Maestra Rural"[2]

In 1917 Storni receives the Premio Annual del Consejo Nacional de Mujeres.[2]

In 1920 Languidez, one of her publications was awarded the First Municipal prize as well as the second National Literature Prize.[2]


  1. ^ Salem Press (1 October 1999). Directory of Historical Figures. Salem Press. p. 604. ISBN 978-0-89356-334-9. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Jones, Sonia (1979). Alfonsina Storni. Internet Archive. Boston : Twayne Publishers.
  3. ^ a b c d e Bowen, Kate (10 November 2011). "Alfonsina Storni: The Poetess that Broke from the Pack". The Argentina Independent.
  4. ^ Diz, Tania (2005). "Periodismo y tecnologías de género en la revista La Nota- 1915-18" (PDF). Revista Científica de la Universidad de Ciencias Empresariales y Sociales (in Spanish). Buenos Aires. IX (1): 89–108. ISSN 1514-9358. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Méndez, Claudia Edith (28 July 2004). "Alfonsina Storni: Análisis y contextualización del estilo impresionista en sus crónicas". Digital Repository. Languages, Literatures, & Cultures Theses and Dissertations (in Spanish). College Park, MD: University of Maryland. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  6. ^ Quereilhac, Soledad (20 June 2014). "Con la mira en la mujer futura". La Nación (in Spanish). Buenos Aires. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  7. ^ Pascucci, Michele M. (2016). "Mensajeros de un tiempo nuevo: Modernidad y nihilismo en la literatura de vanguardia (1918–1936) by Juan Herrero Senés". Hispania. 99 (3): 495–496. doi:10.1353/hpn.2016.0077. ISSN 2153-6414.
  8. ^ "Alchemy » "The Dream"". Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  9. ^ "Alfonsina Storni". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
  10. ^ Global, Voluntario. "Argentine Women - Working Towards Equality - Volunteer Opportunities in Argentina". Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o
  12. ^ a b c
  13. ^

Morell Marrero, Idalia. Alfonsina Storni: ciudad y vanguardia. San Juan, PR: Editorial Tiempo Nuevo, 2016.

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