One of the foremost voices in Irish literature, Eavan Boland, the poet, editor, and teacher died suddenly in her Dublin home. 

Eavan Boland passed away on Monday (Apr 27) at her home in Dublin following a stroke. 

Born in Dublin, in 1944, Boland's first collection of poems was published when she was a student. She went on to have a life-long career as a poet, editor, and teacher. Her work documented the lives of women and the role of women in Irish history and culture. 

In 2017, Boland received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Irish Book Awards for what her art, her eloquence, and her stalwart advocacy for poetry.

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Recently Boland split her time between Ireland and the United States, where she was Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Standford University. 

Boland wrote “The Emigrant Irish “ one of the great poems of emigration and how hard it was for Irish forced to leave. Former president Mary Robinson used it as her Light in the Window initiative to always have a light shining for emigrants welcoming them home.

The Emigrant Irish

- from Outside History: Selected Poems 1980-1990. 

Like oil lamps, we put them out the back —

of our houses, of our minds. We had lights
better than, newer than and then

a time came, this time and now
we need them. Their dread, makeshift example:

they would have thrived on our necessities.
What they survived we could not even live.
By their lights now it is time to
imagine how they stood there, what they stood with,
that their possessions may become our power:
Cardboard. Iron. Their hardships parceled in them.
Patience. Fortitude. Long-suffering
in the bruise-colored dusk of the New World.

And all the old songs. And nothing to lose.

Tributes pour in for Eavan Boland

President Michael D Higgins led the tributes to Boland. 

He said: "Over the years, through her poetry, critical work and teaching she displayed an extraordinary ability to invoke Irish landscapes, myth and everyday experience.

"She became one of the pre-eminent voices in Irish literature, noted for the high standard she sought and achieved.

"The revealing of a hidden Ireland, in terms of what was suffered, neglected, evaded, given insufficient credit, is a part of her achievement."

He added, "To all of us who had the privilege of knowing her, her passing is a source of great loss and sadness.

Very sorry to hear Eavan Boland has died. One of our best & boldest poets, someone whose work showed a remarkable sympathy & warmth. She documented the lives of women in history & culture & explored how the difficult truth about the past can help us make sense of the present.

— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) April 27, 2020

#EavanBoland is a monumental loss to Irish poetry. She did so much to amplify the voices of other women. ‘Night Feed’ is one of many gifts.

“Worms turn.
Stars go in.
Even the moon is losing face.
Poplars stilt for dawn
And we begin
The long fall from grace.
I tuck you in.”

— Sinéad Gleeson (@sineadgleeson) April 27, 2020

Quite by chance yesterday I posted a reading of Eavan Boland’s ‘poem, The Emigrant Irish’. Here it is again in her memory as we mourn her loss. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. @poetryireland

— Daniel Mulhall (@DanMulhall) April 27, 2020

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