Contemporary Irish Writers
In this powerful and authoritative study Jody Allen Randolph provides the fullest account yet of the work of a major figure in twentieth-century Irish literature as well as in contemporary women's writing. Eavan Boland's achievement in changing the map of Irish poetry is tracked and analyzed from her first poems to the present. The book traces the evolution of that achievement, guiding the reader through Boland's early attachment to Yeats, her growing unease with the absence of women's writing, her encounter with pioneering American poets like Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop, and Adrienne Rich, and her eventual, challenging amendments in poetry and prose to Ireland's poetic tradition. Using research from private papers the book also traces a time of upheaval and change in Ireland, exploring Boland's connection to Mary Robinson, in a chapter that details the nexus of a woman president and a woman poet in a country that was resistant to both. Finally, this book invites the reader to share a compelling perspective on the growth of a poet described by one critic as Ireland's "first great woman poet."
"These chapters are singed with controversy and a great ferment in the public domain; the smell of a public burning comes off the pages. As scholar and theorist, Allen Randolph would eschew the poet Joseph Brodsky's warning that a writer has but a life and a work. The new scholarship has ensured that we now read poems through the highly glazed window of theory. In Allen Randolph's and Boland's cases, this is a happy match: this book is a monument to a long and scholarly relationship."
-Thomas McCarthy, Irish Examiner
"This is an especially welcome consideration of a singular
contributor to the contemporary Irish canon. Randolph offers
an authoritative, accessible study of Eavan Boland's development as a poet and her work to forge a place for
women writers both in Ireland and across the English-speaking world. Randolph's extensive research and close reading of Boland's texts serve to track the poet's growth from her early attachment to Yeats to her personal and political changes and
encounters with such significant American poets as Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop, and Adrienne Rich. The author notes that fundamental to Boland's success and influence is her use of place and domestic objects to challenge Ireland's poetic genres and traditions. Randolph concludes that Boland's efforts in both prose and poetry create a poetic identity, an alignment of womanhood with nationhood that allows her to move beyond these confinements.... Highly recommended."
About the author:
Jody Allen Randolph is a research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Gender, Culture and Identities at the Humanities Institute at University College Dublin.
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