Eavan Boland, a well-known Irish poet, has died at the age of 75. According to Irish media, she died at home on Monday, April 27, after suffering from a stroke. The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, posted a tribute to Boland after hearing of her passing, writing that she was “one of the most insightful inner sources of Irish life, not only in life as expressed but as sensed and experienced.”
He also said: “She will be missed by all who have read her work and by students who have had the privilege of learning from her in any one of the academic institutions to which she made such a distinguished contribution, including Trinity College, University College Dublin and Stanford University. To all of us who had the privilege of knowing her, her passing is a source of great loss and sadness.”
She is survived by her husband Kevin and two daughters.
The Dublin-Born Boland Was an Author, a Poet & a Professor
Boland was born in Dublin in 1944 and became one of the foremost female writers in Irish literature, covering topics such as women’s everyday lives and the place of women in Irish history and culture. She published her first collection of poems in 1962 when she was a student at Trinity College. She went on to write several dozen poetry collections and taught at various universities, including as a tenured professor of English at Stanford University.
In 2016, former president of the United States Barack Obama quoted Boland’s poem “On a Thirtieth Anniversary” during a speech at a St. Patrick’s Day reception at the White House. In 2017, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Irish Book Awards for “her art, for her eloquence and for her stalwart advocacy for poetry.”
She once shared her experience writing as a female poet in Ireland: “I began to write in an Ireland where the word ‘woman’ and the word ‘poet’ seemed to be in some sort of magnetic opposition to each other. I couldn’t accept the possibility that the life of the woman would not, or could not, be named in the poetry of my own nation.”
Tributes Have Been Pouring In on Social Media Following News of Boland’s Death
In addition to President Higgins’ statement on Boland’s passing, many others posted their own tributes to the Irish poet. The Royal Irish Academy, where Boland was elected in 2018, posted on Twitter:
The post reads: “We are shocked to hear of the death of Hon. MRIA Eavan Boland and our thoughts are with her family RIP. She was a pleasure to work with and is pictured below at the UN reading her poem about women’s suffrage ‘Our future will become the past of other women.'”
Poetry Ireland also posted about Boland’s passing:
The organization wrote: “We are absolutely devastated to learn of the loss of Eavan Boland. This is a staggering loss to the Irish poetry community. Wishing peace & comfort to all who loved her, and whose lives have been changed by her work.”
The Women’s Council of Ireland posted:
The post reads, “NWCI sends our condolences to the family and friends of Irish poet Eavan Boland on the very sad news of her death today. Eavan Boland was a remarkable poet who wrote so powerfully about women, and the role of women throughout Irish history. May she rest in peace.”