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Belonging

John Kerrigan

18 July 1996
The ‘O’o’a’a’ Bird 
by Justin Quinn.
Carcanet, 69 pp., £7.95, March 1995, 1 85754 125 1
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Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time 
by Eavan Boland.
Carcanet, 254 pp., £18.95, April 1995, 1 85754 074 3
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Collected Poems 
by Eavan Boland.
Carcanet, 217 pp., £9.95, November 1995, 1 85754 220 7
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Captain Lavender 
by Medbh McGuckian.
Gallery Press, 83 pp., £11.95, November 1994, 9781852351427
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... anything at all / To get this old bitch to shut the fuck up.’ The issues raised by Quinn and Ní Dhomhnaill bear heavily on certain writers who share their gender with the Shan Van Vocht. EavanBoland, in particular, identifies a double-bind. Maintaining that Irish poets must work in a tradition shaped by nationalism, she observes that the native line is short of women writers. When poets ...

Fanfares

Ian Sansom

11 December 1997
The Bounty 
by Derek Walcott.
Faber, 78 pp., £14.99, July 1997, 0 571 19130 4
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... They call him Mister Bombastic: ‘Because he is well capable of rhetoric and flourish, he too often allows these two-edged gifts to deflect him from a real, vivid self into a bombastic stance’ (EavanBoland); ‘I have found Walcott’s extravagance of poetic diction and tendency to verbosity off-putting in the past’ (Peter Porter); ‘I feel that the fuss and the language are not quite ...
28 September 1989
Manila Envelope 
by James Fenton.
28 Kayumanggi St, West Triangle Homes, Quezon City, Phillipines, 48 pp., £12, May 1989, 971 86 4701 5
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New Selected Poems 
by Richard Murphy.
Faber, 190 pp., £10.99, May 1989, 0 571 15482 4
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The Mirror Wall 
by Richard Murphy.
Bloodaxe, 61 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 9781852240929
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Selected Poems 
by Eavan Boland.
Carcanet, 96 pp., £5.95, May 1989, 0 85635 741 3
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The Accumulation of Small Acts of Kindness 
by Selima Hill.
Chatto, 47 pp., £5.95, May 1989, 0 7011 3455 0
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... his own attitude to these vestiges of the alien and antique is scarcely apparent. Without that, such work can seem not significantly different from tourist souvenirs, charming and nicely packaged. EavanBoland’s Selected Poems is one of those carefully pruned volumes in which a poet of quiet, meticulous, patient craft stands revealed as something more interesting and integrated than her individual ...

Perish the thought

John Redmond: Derek Mahon

8 February 2001
Selected Poems 
by Derek Mahon.
Penguin, 213 pp., £9.99, November 2000, 0 14 118233 4
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... had been slow to explore. Fellow students who are now also famous poets have recorded how intimidating his presence, and poems, could be. ‘I was taken aback by the sheer verve of his idiom,’ EavanBoland writes, ‘the attack of his syntax, his brat-pack stance as poète maudit.’ Michael Longley ‘felt overwhelmed and wanted to withdraw to a safe distance’. It was obvious that, as a young ...

Diary

Anne Enright: My Milk

5 October 2000
... Yes) about which so little has been written. Can mothers not hold a pen? Or is it just the fact that we are all children, when we write? I venture into Books Upstairs in Dublin, to find a poem by EavanBoland. The child in the stroller is ghetto-fabulous in a white babygro complete with hoodie. I am inordinately, sadly proud of the fact that she is clean. We negotiate the steps, we knock over some ...

Jihad

James Wood

5 August 1993
TheNew Poetry 
edited by Michael Hulse, David Kennedy and David Morley.
Bloodaxe, 352 pp., £25, May 1993, 1 85224 244 2
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Who Whispered Near Me 
by Killarney Clary.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £5.95, February 1993, 1 85224 149 7
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Sunset Grill 
by Anne Rouse.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £5.95, March 1993, 1 85224 219 1
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Half Moon Bay 
by Paul Mills.
Carcanet, 95 pp., £6.95, February 1993, 9781857540000
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Shoah 
by Harry Smart.
Faber, 74 pp., £5.99, April 1993, 0 571 16793 4
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The Autonomous Region 
by Kathleen Jamie.
Bloodaxe, 79 pp., £7.95, March 1993, 9781852241735
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Collected Poems 
by F.T. Prince.
Carcanet, 319 pp., £25, March 1993, 1 85754 030 1
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Stirring Stuff 
by Selwyn Pritchard.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 145 pp., £8.99, April 1993, 9781856193085
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News from the Brighton Front 
by Nicki Jackowska.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 86 pp., £7.99, April 1993, 1 85619 306 3
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Translations from the Natural World 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 67 pp., £6.95, March 1993, 1 85754 005 0
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... long, perfect. Elvis, Ted. This kind of thing is open to most writers. How much rarer the smoky Lowellian ellipses of Michael Hofmann’s verse (poorly represented here), or the stiff decencies of EavanBoland (her evocation of rain as ‘grief in arrears’ is the loveliest thing in the book), or the compact subtleties of Robert Crawford, whose short poem ‘Scotland’ is infinitely more subtle ...

Elegant Extracts

Leah Price: Anthologies

3 February 2000
The Oxford Book of English Verse 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 690 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 214182 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume One 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2974 pp., £22.50, December 1999, 0 393 97487 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume Two 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2963 pp., £22.50, February 2000, 9780393974911
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume One 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2963 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01173 2
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume Two 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2982 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01174 0
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Night & Horses & The Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature 
edited by Robert Irwin.
Allen Lane, 480 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7139 9153 4
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News that Stays News: The 20th Century in Poems 
edited by Simon Rae.
Faber, 189 pp., £9.99, October 1999, 0 571 20060 5
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Time’s Tidings: Greeting the 21st Century 
by Carol Ann Duffy.
Anvil, 157 pp., £7.95, November 1999, 0 85646 313 2
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Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the 20th Century in Poetry 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Penguin, 640 pp., £12.99, February 1999, 9780140588996
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... with the Ditchley portrait of Elizabeth I standing on a map of England, the Longman’s is taken from the Book of Kells. ‘That the Science of Cartography. Is Limited’ is among the poems by EavanBoland added to the latest edition of the Norton, and her title rings true. Maps have always concretised anthologists’ ambivalence about the meaning of ‘English literature’: George Woods’s American ...

Hierophants

Stefan Collini: C. Day-Lewis

6 September 2007
C. Day-Lewis: A Life 
by Peter Stanford.
Continuum, 368 pp., £25, May 2007, 978 0 8264 8603 5
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... visible in the work. As Day-Lewis became more and more of a panjandrum (he chaired the Arts Council’s literature panel in the 1960s), younger poets became more dismissive. They are still: EavanBoland has mocked his ‘cool, dejected, rosewater poems, with their flowery symbols of transience’. That doesn’t seem quite right: yearning, and its bafflement, is far more present than dejection, and ...

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