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The Historians

Eavan Boland

Cover of The Historians by Eavan Boland
RRP: GBP 8.79
New Release Available
eBook (PDF)
ISBN: 978 1 784109 17 2
Categories: 21st Century, American, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: October 2020
80 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), Paperback, eBook (EPUB)
  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2020
    A Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year 2020

    A forceful and moving final volume from one of the most masterful poets of the twentieth century.


    Throughout her nearly sixty-year career, acclaimed poet Eavan Boland came to be known for her exquisite ability to weave myth, history, and the life of an ordinary woman into mesmerizing poetry. She was an essential voice in both feminist and Irish literature, praised for her 'edgy precision, an uncanny sympathy and warmth, an unsettling sense of history' ( J.D. McClatchy). Her final volume, The Historians, is the culmination of her signature themes, exploring the ways in which the hidden, sometimes all-but-erased stories of women's lives can powerfully revise our sense of the past.

    Two women burning letters in a back garden. A poet who died too young. A mother's parable to her daughter. Boland listens to women who have long had no agency in the way their stories were told; in the title poem, she writes: 'Say the word history: I see / your mother, mine. / ... Their hands are full of words.' Addressing Irish suffragettes in the final poem, Boland promises: 'We will not leave you behind', a promise that animates each poem in this radiant collection. These extraordinary, intimate narratives cling to the future through memory, anger, and love in ways that rebuke the official record we call history.
    Born in Dublin in 1944, Eavan Boland studied in Ireland, London and New York. Her first book was published in 1967. She has taught at Trinity College, University College and Bowdoin College Dublin, and at the University of Iowa. She was Mabury Knapp Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University, California. ... read more
    Awards won by Eavan Boland Short-listed, 2020 Costa Poetry Award
    (The Historians)
    Winner, 2017 Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award
    '[The Historians] zooms in with characteristic musicality and intelligence on what the stories that are often overlooked - those of women'

    Rishi Dastidar, The Guardian Poetry Books of the Year 2020

    'It is, as came to be expected from Boland, filled with stories of ordinary Irish women, sensitively rendered in her understated verse. In revisiting the otherwise erased experiences of her subjects, Boland asks us to reconfigure our own understanding of the past, though she acknowledges the difficulties of that, too'
    The New Statesman
    'There's a poignancy here that is hard to avoid... This modest collection is welcome and those who have not read Boland - few though they may be - will find here at least an introduction to her always-potent art. For others, it will serve as a coda to a poetic life well lived.'
    Books Ireland Magazine
    'It feels, reading it in the wake of her death, to be unsettlingly prophetic, a fitting close to the life's work of a great poet'
    Seán Hewitt, The Irish Times
    Praise for Eavan Boland '... a rich, unsettling moral adventure in memory and responsibility.'
    Theo Dorgan
     Eavan Boland's A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet contains essays both personal and public written in a tone urgent and wise, with astute observations on her own trajectory as a poet and the work of Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath and Paula Meehan, among others.
    Colm Toibin, The Irish Times, Our Favourite Books of 2011
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