Happy Birthday, Eavan Boland, born 24 September 1944
- I began to watch places with an interest so exact it might have been memory. There was that street corner, with the small newsagent which sold copies of the Irish Independent and honeycomb toffee in summer. I could imagine myself there, a child of nine, buying peppermints and walking back down by the canal, the lock brown and splintered as ever, and boys diving from it. It became a powerful impulse, a slow intense reconstruction of a childhood which had never happened. A fragrance or a trick of light was enough. Or a house I entered which I wanted not just to appreciate but to remember, and then I would begin.
- The idea of a poetry which can fathom silences, follow the outsider’s trail -that draws me in.
- Teaching helps me talk about poetry. Writing helps me understand what I’ve talked about at a visceral level.
- I don’t think poetry is a particularly good form of expression. I know that goes against the grain, but I believe that. Photographs are more accurate. Theatre is more eloquent. But poetry is a superb, powerful and true form of experience. That’s the satisfaction for me. I don’t write a poem to express an experience. I write it to experience the experience
- Poetry doesn’t confer importance on human experience: it’s the other way around. Of course, you can have the courage of your experience, and feel it’s what you want to write about, but you still have to assemble the poem with craft and care. Self-expression is not art.
Boland is an Irish poet whose poems have appeared in more than 30 collections.
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