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Categories: 21st Century, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (64 pages)
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Tonight in rooms where skirts appear steeped in tea
when they are only deep in shadow and where heat
collects at the waist, the wrist, is wet at the base of the neck,
the secrets of the dark will be the truths of the body
a young girl feels and hides even from herself...
from 'How the Dance Came to the City'
Eavan Boland's new collection turns to the domestic interiors in which the dramas of women's lives are played out: seductions and quarrels, anger and grief, the care of children. In her attentiveness to the humdrum realities of suburban life, Boland makes them luminous with the power of live myths. Looking back over her own life, back through the lives of the women who preceded her, Boland arrives at the deep structures of memory where, as she writes, legends are made new 'not by saying them, but by unsettling / one layer of meaning from another'. This is a collection from a poet at the height of her powers, writing with authority and grace.
Cover photograph and artwork 'Shadow Dolls', copywright textile artist Rebecca Devaney, inspired by Eavan Boland's poem 'The Shadow Doll', included in this collection. Cover design www.StephenRaw.com.
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
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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