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I really think that for a lot of people, the experience they live, they really want it to be in the poem they write.For a lot of young poets or emerging poets who are older, for instance, the environmental world, their place in a world that is doing damage, that is taking away the future, that puts a role in their minds, not so much to become an activist as to become a political poet.
Irish poetry has long been one in which the female figure is more symbolic than literal; both in the writing and the content.
Some of the mixed reviews which greeted Boland’s debut collection were notable for their focus on what the critic saw as a strident feminism.
I was there with two very small children, with neighbours who were living those lives as well; I felt there was a visionary aspect to those lives. It is not that women really mind the question — they are afraid that there is a code inside the question that is going to pigeon-hole them into a social role rather than a poetic one.
It seemed to me completely wrong and contrarian to think that shouldn’t be in poetry.”While it is now sometimes viewed as unfair to ask a female writer about juggling a literary life with being a mother, when a man seldom has to field such queries, Boland believes there is value in exploring the question, while understanding the difficulties around answering it.“I wouldn’t object to that question. I don’t actually feel that because I feel it gives you a chance to make an argument.
She was educated in London, New York, and Dublin and has taught at Trinity College, University College, and Bowdoin College; was a member of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa; and is a regular Reviewer for the Irish Times.
She currently lives in Stanford, California and Dublin, Ireland, and is Professor of English and Director of the Stegner Creative Writing Program at Stanford University.
While there has been much debate about spoken word poetry and the use of social media platforms in disseminating work, Boland sees such methods as vital to the art form’s future.“I don’t want to criticise too much…
There have always been people who think of themselves as gatekeepers, who think poetry has something to fear from this.
After blazing a trail for female poets, 73-year-old Eavan Boland is still keen to see the medium moving forward in the digital age, writes Marjorie Brennan."SHE wrapped her hands around the tree of Irish poetry and shook it to its foundations.” This was Paula Meehan’s eloquent assessment of fellow poet Eavan Boland on the distinguished writer’s presentation with a lifetime achievement award at last year’s lrish Book Awards. I did raise certain issues and the conversation changed but I’m afraid that society issues permissions to people to be a poet.
While there is no doubt that Boland, now 73, forged a landscape for the generations of women poets who have followed her, she’s reluctant to see herself as a trailblazer. What you worry about is that someone of great value, a woman, a person of colour, or someone disabled might think ‘I couldn’t do that or I don’t feel I have the permission to do that’.