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New and Selected Essays
Edited by Jody Allen Randolph
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, American, Irish, Women
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (440 pages)
(Due Sep 2024)
At her death in 2020, Eavan Boland left a formidable body of work – poems and prose. Together hey transformed Irish poetry and had a considerable impact throughout the English-speaking world. She was also a major feminist thinker and essayist. She challenged and changed Irish culture and society. This collection of her most important essays combines autobiographical and critical reflections on the events and influences that shaped her life and work. It includes work never before collected, as well as draft chapters of the memoir, Daughter, that she was working on when she died.
The book opens with substantial extracts from Object Lessons: the life of the woman and the poet in our times (1995), including ‘Outside History’ and ‘The Woman Poet: Her Dilemma’. From A Journey with Two Maps: becoming a woman poet (2011) Jody Allen Randolph, her longtime friend and editor, selects the title essay and ‘Becoming an Irish Poet’, ‘Domestic Violence’ and the celebrated ‘Letter to a Young Woman Poet’. The Uncollected Essays are full of surprises from each period of her life. The introduction tells the intertwined stories of her life and her writing, her sense of Ireland and exile, and her evolving insights into how the poet can earn, widen and share her freedoms. ‘As time went on,’ Randolph writes, ‘Boland’s prose grew clearer in focus and purpose; she argued that a poet’s work is not just to write their poems, but also to contribute to the critique by which they will eventually be judged.’
Awards won by Eavan Boland Winner, 2020 Costa Poetry Award
(The Historians) Winner, 2017 Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award
Praise for Eavan Boland
'...She has a dazzling gift for marrying the poem's narrative to its underlying considerations and themes, her carefully enacted restraint heightening the impact of the frequently stunning closing image.''The poems, all of them, have that familiar, spare, feel to them - the clarity of cold water, the measured cadence, the plain diction and the leaping insight so characteristic of her mature work - but there is grief here of a depth and of a kind that chills the heart... against the darkness that eddies and gathers in this, the last book we will have from her hand, there is indeed redemptive light'
Maya C. Popa, Poetry Review
Theo Dorgan, Dublin Review of Books
'This is a fitting tribute to a poet whose work has revised history as we know it and whose talent will be much missed.''The first poem in Boland's book, The Fire Gilder, is one of the best Irish poems of the past half-century.'
Poetry Book Society Winter Bulletin
Colm Tóibín, The Irish Times
'Truly consumable, enjoyable and emotive... all the things that great poetry should be.'
Jasmine Reads, YouTube
'[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
'... a rich, unsettling moral adventure in memory and responsibility.'
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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