Eavan Boland - A Personal Response

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Leaving Certificate 2002: 4

Write a personal response to the poetry of Eavan Boland. 4

Support the points you make by reference to the poetry of Boland that you have studied. 4

Leaving Certificate 2002:

Write a personal response to the poetry of Eavan Boland.

Support the points you make by reference to the poetry of Boland that you have studied.


Eavan Boland is my favourite modern poet. There are many reasons for my positive response to her poems. What I love about Boland’s work is how revolutionary it is. Jody Allen Randolph, the American critic, once said that Boland ‘single-handedly challenged what was a heavily male-dominated profession’. What appeals to me about Boland’s work is how she offers me fresh insight into traditional topics.

In particular, I like her reflections on love and relationships, the polemical/political dimension to her work, and the unique voice she has in Irish poetry, one lending fresh insight into significant historical and cultural events in Ireland, such as the Famine. I enjoy Boland’s diverse range of themes, and the way in which she presents these themes to her reader. Her poetry has an evocative, warm and lyrical quality with an impressive economy of language. She uses banalities as symbols for emotions and ideas that otherwise would be completely ineffable. Also, her poetry contains suspense and tension of the best narrative.

Boland’s reflection on relationships is one of my favourite aspects of her poetry. In the poem ‘Love’, she chronicles the deep elemental love between her and her husband, Kevin. This poem is incredibly personal: ‘I am your wife’; ‘I see you as a hero in a text’; ‘We love each other’. When I read it, I couldn’t get over its power, nor Boland’s emphasis of the deep, elemental and transcendent love between her and her husband: ‘It offered us ascension’. These lines, in particular, are incre...

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