Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Poetry
  3. Eavan Boland

Eavan Boland

b. 1944
Birthplace: Ireland (Dublin)

Major Influences  Myth; Gender; Domestic life, womanhood, myth, history, landscape, Irish nationalism.

Original Greek and Latin Source(s)   Horace

Mediating Sources   Literary influences include WB Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh and Adrienne Rich.

Associations with Literary Period/Movements Postcolonial Irish Poetry

General Comment Boland spent most of her childhood in London and New York before returning to Dublin in 1959, where she studied English and Latin at Trinity College, going on to publish numerous books of poetry and prose. She is currently professor of English at Stanford University, California. In her poetry, the frequent pairing of classical and nationalist imagery and myth decentres the poetic tropes of her literary predecessors, whilst creating an uncertain interplay between ‘foreign' and ‘native' in the postcolonial setting of modern day Ireland. She often plays, subversively, on the authoritative status and conventions of classical poetry in order to give voice to the mundane, the silenced and the feminine. Though she has been criticised for conflating historicist and essentialising approaches in her attempts to draw out and identify with the voices of ‘real' women, rather than their mythic representations, many of her poems acknowledge the complexity of reworking mythic receptions, as a means of negotiating identity in the present.