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New Selected Poems

Eavan Boland

New Selected Poems
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Categories: 21st Century, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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(Pub. Oct 2013)
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  • Athene’s Song
    for my father

    From my father’s head I sprung
    Goddess of the war, created
    Partisan and soldiers’ physic –
    My symbols boast and brazen gong –
    Until I made in Athens wood
    Upon my knees a new music.

    When I played my pipe of bone,
    Robbed and whittled from a stag,
    Every bird became a lover
    Every lover to its tone
    Found the truth of song and brag;
    Fish sprung in the full river.

    Peace became the toy of power
    When other noises broke my sleep.
    Like dreams I saw the hot ranks
    And heroes in another flower
    Than any there; I dropped my pipe
    Remembering their shouts, their thanks.

    Beside the water, lost and mute,
    Lies my pipe and like my mind
    Remains unknown, remains unknown
    And in some hollow taking part
    With my heart against my hand
    Holds its peace and holds its own.
    New Selected Poems includes the key poems from Eavan Boland’s remarkable half century of writing. It began with 23 Poems in 1962 and it has continued through more than a dozen collections, each finding new dimensions in language, history and in the body subject to passion and to time. She is indeed, as Elaine Feinstein described her in Poetry Review, ‘one of the finest and boldest poets of the last half-century’. Her critical writing, her poetry and example have made an emancipating difference to writing in Ireland. She remarked in an interview in 2000, ‘women are now writing the Irish poem across a very big register of new tones, new subjects, new approaches […], I think I was one of the poets who became convinced of the need for change.’
    Author’s Note

    from New Territory 1967

    Athene’s Song
    New Territory
    From the Painting Back from Market by Chardin
    Yeats in Civil War
    Belfast vs Dublin

    from The War Horse 1975

    The War Horse
    The Famine Road
    Child of Our Time
    Suburban Woman
    The Laws of Love
    O Fons Bandusiae
    Cyclist with Cut Branches

    from In Her Own Image 1980

    In Her Own Image
    Making Up
    Tirade for the Mimic Muse

    from Night Feed 1982

    Night Feed
    Domestic Interior
    After a Childhood Away from Ireland
    The Muse Mother
    Woman in Kitchen
    Patchwork or the Poet’s Craft
    Degas’s Laundresses
    It’s a Woman’s World
    The New Pastoral
    ‘Daphne with her thighs in bark’
    The Woman Turns Herself into a Fish

    from The Journey 1987

    Self-Portrait on a Summer Evening
    Mise Eire
    The Oral Tradition
    I Remember
    The Bottle Garden
    Suburban Woman: A Detail
    The Briar Rose
    The Women

    The Journey

    Listen. This is the Noise of Myth
    An Irish Childhood in England: 1951
    Fond Memory
    The Emigrant Irish
    The Glass King

    from Outside History 1990

    I Object Lessons
    The Black Lace Fan My Mother Gave Me
    The Rooms of Other Women Poets
    The Shadow Doll
    The Latin Lesson
    Bright-Cut Irish Silver

    II Outside History: A sequence
    I The Achill Woman
    II A False Spring
    III The Making of an Irish Goddess
    IV White Hawthorn in the West of Ireland
    V Daphne Heard with Horror the Addresses of the God
    VI The Photograph on My Father’s Desk
    VII We Are Human History. We Are Not Natural History
    VIII An Old Steel Engraving
    IX In Exile
    X We Are Always Too Late
    XI What We Lost
    XII Outside History

    III Distances
    Midnight Flowers
    Our Origins Are in the Sea
    What Love Intended

    from In a Time of Violence 1994

    The Singers

    I Writing in a Time of Violence: A sequence
    1 That the Science of Cartography is Limited
    2 The Death of Reason
    3 March 1 1847. By the First Post
    4 In a Bad Light
    5 The Dolls Museum in Dublin
    6 Inscriptions
    7 Beautiful Speech

    II Legends
    This Moment
    The Pomegranate
    In Which the Ancient History I Learn Is Not My Own
    The Parcel
    Lava Cameo

    III Anna Liffey
    Anna Liffey
    Time and Violence
    A Woman Painted on a Leaf

    from The Lost Land 1998

    I Colony: A Sequence
    1 My Country in Darkness
    2 The Harbour
    3 Witness
    4 Daughters of Colony
    5 Imago
    6 The Scar
    7 City of Shadows
    8 Unheroic
    9 The Colonists
    10 A Dream of Colony
    11 A Habitable Grief
    12 The Mother Tongue

    II The Lost Land
    The Lost Land
    Mother Ireland
    The Blossom
    Tree of Life
    The Necessity for Irony

    from Code 2001

    I Marriage
    I In Which Hester Bateman, Eighteenth-Century English Silversmith, Takes an Irish Commission
    II Against Love Poetry
    III The Pinhole Camera
    IV Quarantine
    V Embers
    VI Then
    VII First Year
    VIII Once
    IX Thankëd be Fortune
    X A Marriage for the Millennium
    XI Lines for a Thirtieth Wedding Anniversary

    II Code
    Limits 2
    How We Made a New Art on Old Ground
    Making Money
    Exile! Exile!
    Is It Still the Same
    Irish Poetry

    from Domestic Violence 2007

    Domestic Violence
    1 Domestic Violence
    2 How the Dance Came to the City
    3 How It Was Once In Our Country
    4 Still Life
    5 Silenced
    6 Histories
    7 Wisdom
    8 Irish Interior
    9 In Our Own Country

    Letters to the Dead
    An Elegy for my Mother In Which She Scarcely Appears
    And Soul
    On This Earth
    Letters to the Dead
    To Memory
    Becoming the Hand of John Speed
    Atlantis – A Lost Sonnet
    Becoming the Hand of John Speed
    Violence Against Women
    In Coming Days

    New Poems

    Art of Empire
    The Long Evenings of their Leavetakings
    Re-reading Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘Deserted Village’ in a Changed Ireland
    Becoming Anne Bradstreet
    A Woman Without a Country

    Index of First Lines
    Index of Titles
    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 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.'

    Maya C. Popa, Poetry Review

    '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'

    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.'

    Poetry Book Society Winter Bulletin

    'The first poem in Boland's book, The Fire Gilder, is one of the best Irish poems of the past half-century.'

    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.'
    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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