Eavan Aisling Boland was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1944. She is the
youngest of five children to Frederick Boland and Kelly Boland. Frederick Boland was a diplomat and served as an Irish ambassador.
Kelly Boland was a painter who focused on postexpressionism and has works in the Dublin Municipal Gallery. Both of her parents
greatly influenced Boland’s poetry. Due to her father’s career as a diplomat, she attended a convent school in
London from 1950 to 1956 as her father served as Irish ambassador to the Court of St. James, where she first experienced anti-Irish
sentiment at age six. Consequently, her experiences in London greatly influenced her style of writing and only served to strengthen
her nationalistic pride. Therefore, her poem, “An Irish Childhood in England: 1951,” potrays her experiences while
living in London. She then attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart School in New York City, where her experiences led her
to believe in an inner reality rather than an outer reality, which is a common theme found in her poems.
However, the most influential school that molded her as an individual was Holy Child Convent in Killiney, County Dublin,
where she attended from 1959 to 1962. It was at this school that she was able to reconnect with her Irish roots and brought
serenity and happiness.
After graduating from the boarding school in Dublin, Boland worked as
a housekeeper at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin, and used her salary to publish a
pamphlet titled 23 poems (1962). She received her Bachelors of Arts Degree from
Trinity College where she graduated with
first-class honors English degree. Since then, she has held numerous teaching positions in addition to publishing poetry,
journal articles, and books. Her marriage to novelist Kevin Casey in 1969 and the births of her two daughters greatly influenced
her writing since much of her following works focuses on her life as a mother and wife. In 1980, Boland published a controversial
work, In Her Own Image that brought her into debates over feminism and the role of female poets in Ireland.
Consequently, Boland has been a stable and influential voice for equality for women poets in the male-dominated literary world
of Ireland. Boland’s poetry has also resulted into her
recognition as a literary figure. She regularly writes reviews for the Irish Times as well as articles on the broad genre
of literary topics and has also lectured at the School of Irish Studies
in Dublin. She has taught at Trinity
College, University College,
and Bowdoin College in addition to being
a member at the University of Iowa’s
International Writing Program. She is currently a professor of English at Stanford
University (Gale Contemporary Literary Criticism).
© 2004 by Janet Lam. All rights