Elevate Difference

New Collected Poems

Combining eleven of Eavan Boland’s books, New Collected Poems presents readers with her finest work. Boland, a contemporary Irish poet, guides readers across thirty years of her work in this 307 page tome. During the journey, one begins to traverse tradition, grasp snippets of myth, and peer inside the life of this extraordinary woman.

Most of Boland’s poems are written in traditional forms, which give her work a smooth consistency. The reader has a map of what to expect in terms of sound, but is still surprised line by line. Boland has a keen ability to construct proper syntax while remaining consistent in sound. She employs this technique in all her poems, even the ones that break from tradition.

While many of her poems explore Irish politics and myth, Boland also focuses on issues of feminism. In “The Other Woman,” she describes the role of the abandoned wife. With eloquence she captures the heartache of infidelity with lines like: "I know you have a world I cannot share/Where a woman waits for you, beautiful/Young no doubt, protected in your care/From stiffening and wrinkling." In “It’s a Woman’s World” Boland speaks to all women of the sad fact that not much has changed for women over the course of history and ends the poem with “a burning plume/she’s no fire-eater/just my frosty neighbor/coming home,” which speaks to many women's contentment with their lot in life who live without a fire for something greater.

Boland holds mastery over her words and New Collected Poems is a travel through sound and thought.

Written by: Michelle Tooker, March 13th 2010

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