Eavan Boland Analysis

Other literary forms

(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Eavan Boland (BOW-lahnd) collaborated with Micheál Mac Liammóir on the critical study W. B. Yeats and His World (1971). Boland has contributed essays in journals such as the American Poetry Review; she also has reviewed for the Irish Times and has published a volume of prose called Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time (1995). With Mark Strand, she prepared the anthology The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (2000).


(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Ireland has produced a generation of distinguished poets since 1960, and the most celebrated of them have been men. Of this group of poets, Seamus Heaney is the best known to American audiences, but the reputations of Thomas Kinsella, Derek Mahon, Michael Longley, Paul Muldoon, and Tom Paulin continue to grow. Poetry by contemporary Irishwomen is also a significant part of the Irish literary scene. Eavan Boland is one of a group of notable women poets including Medbh McGuckian, Eithne Strong, and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin. In an essay published in 1987, “The Woman Poet: Her Dilemma,” Boland indicates her particular concern with the special problems of being a woman and a poet. Male stereotypes about the role of women in society continue to be very strong in Ireland and make Irishwomen less confident about their creative abilities. Women also must contend with another potentially depersonalizing pressure, that of feminist ideology, which urges women toward another sort of conformity. Boland and the other female Irish poets previously mentioned have managed to overcome both obstacles and develop personal voices.

Boland has served as a member of the board of the Irish Arts Council and a member of the Irish Academy of Letters. Her honors and awards include the American Ireland Fund Literary Award (1994), the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry (1994), the Bucknell Medal of Distinction from Bucknell University (2000), the Smartt Family Foundation Prize for Against Love Poetry, the John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize from Poetry magazine (2002), the John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence from Centenary College of Louisiana (2002-2003), and the James Boatwright III Prize for Poetry from Shenandoah (2006) for “Violence Against Women.”


(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Boland, Eavan. Interview by Patty O’Connell. Poets and Writers 22 (November/December, 1995). A lengthy conversation that ranges through Irish and American poetry, Dublin as an image in Boland’s work, her mother, and poetry workshops.

Collins, Floyd. “Auspicious Beginnings and Sure Arrivals: Beth Ann Fennelly and Eavan Boland.” West Branch 52 (Spring, 2003): 108-123. Contains an excellent discussion of Against Love Poetry and a comparison of Boland and Beth Ann Fennelly.

Constantakis, Sara, ed. Poetry for Students. Vol. 31. Detroit: Thomson/Gale Group, 2010. Contains an analysis of Boland’s “Outside History.”

Gonzalez, Alexander G., ed. Contemporary Irish Women Poets: Some Male Perspectives. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999. Enthusiastic responses by male critics to a wide range of Irish women poets include two strong essays on Boland: Thomas C. Foster’s “In from the Margin: Eavan Boland’s ’Outside History’ Sequence” and Peter Kupillas’s “Bringing It All Back Home: Unity and Meaning in Eavan Boland’s ’Domestic Interior’ Sequence.”

Haberstroh, Patricia Boyle. Women Creating Women: Contemporary Irish Women Poets. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1996. Compares Boland, Eithne Strong, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin,...

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