Eavan Boland: Themes

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Good morning fifth year students. I am here today, as I have been asked to speak to you about the poetry of Eavan Boland.
Eavan Boland is one of Irelands most distinguished and highly regarded poets. Born in Dublin, in 1944, she spent several years of her childhood in England where her father was a diplomat
She later returned to Dublin where she attended Trinity College and began to write poetry and published her first book of poetry ‘New Territory’ at the age of twenty two.
Her life changed however when she married and moved to the suburb of Dundrum to bring up her child. She found herself occupying two very different roles, the role of a mother and wife, and the role as a poet. She turned away from the romantic and traditional poetry
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‘Only a crocus, its bulbous head/Blown from growth, one of the screamless dead’. And yet societies in the south who are safe from this violence choose to ignore this, and ‘use the subterfuge of curtains’ to hide the war which is going on. It is a highly effective poem, which successfully reminds us that violence was part of this country not to long ago. The frayed rose in the garden reminds her of a time when the countryside was devastated by conflict. And it also resembles a ‘braid’ that was worn by some involved in Irelands fight for independence, and it recalls how people once devoted their lives for a cause and sacrificed for those who believed in something. She shows the views of people today who choose to ignore and dismiss the sufferings of others: ‘why should we care?’. This poem conveys Boland’s sympathy for the victims of the soldiers who ought to be remembered by criticizing those who hide from war and violence in the history of our country.
Boland uses the theme of war and violence in history very powerfully, and gives her poems great depth, making them unique and interesting.

Boland’s use of domestic and suburban settings makes a very interesting aspect to her poetry.
We see this is ‘This Moment’. The poem’s suburban setting is important in the context of Boland’s way of writing. Suburbs have seldom been regarded as offering much in the way of inspiration to a writer and are generally regarded as a place lacking both energy and excitement of a city
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