The IES welcomed poet and Professor of Humanities and Director of the Creative Writing Programme at Stanford University this week for the John Coffin Memorial Annual Irish Studies Lecture.
The lecture explored the last hundred years of Ireland, looking into the seismic changes in its social and political worlds. It posed: how did these changes come to be reflected or resisted in Irish poetry? Did the identity of the Irish poet shift with the society? Or did Irish poetry remain merely at the edge of change?
The Melvin and Bill Land Professor at Stanford University, Eavan Boland has been writer in residence at Trinity College and University College Dublin. She was poet in residence at the National Maternity Hospital during its 1994 Centenary. She has also been the Hurst Professor at Washington University and Regent’s Lecturer at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She is on the board of the Irish Arts Council and a member of the Irish Academy of Letters. She is on the advisory board of the International Writers Center at Washington University.
She has published ten volumes of poetry, the most recent being New Collected Poems (2008) and Domestic Violence (2007) and An Origin Like Water: Collected Poems 1967-87 (1996) with W.W. Norton. She has received the Lannan Award for Poetry and an American Ireland Fund Literary Award. She has published two volumes of prose: Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time and A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet which won a 2012 PEN Award for creative nonfiction.
Boland read Patrick Kavanagh’s Epic as well as her own Quarantine, a non-traditional love poem that follows a husband and wife who are forced to move north during the Irish Potato Famine in 1847.