This article is taken from Stand 226, 18(2) June - August 2020.

Elleke Boehmer, Shirley Chew, Shara McCallum, and Karl O'Hanlon Tributes to Eavan Boland
Shara McCallum
You Have to Keep Moving

As with most of the poets whose work has shaped me most, I met Eavan Boland first on the page. It was the mid-90s and I was in my early twenties, learning how to be a poet and writing the poems that would become my first book. I was, without consciously knowing it, looking for my literary foremothers. Boland was one of the writers I claimed.

In 2003, my second book of poems just having come out, pregnant with my first child, and moving to assume a new role as director of the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University, in a small town in Pennsylvania, I wrote an essay about Eavan Boland’s poetry and its influence on me as a poet. The essay addressed a handful of poems to which I kept returning as a reader of the body of her work and was about Boland’s profound engagements with history and myth, women’s lives, migration, and exile.

After its publication, the essay made its way into Eavan’s hands and, ultimately, we met. In 2008, she came to the Stadler Center for a brief residency. Her visit included a public reading and a public conversation between us. Years later at her suggestion and to my great delight, we picked up again and put our conversation in print. In each of the fora during her 2008 visit, Eavan’s presence imbued her work with even more gravitas and depth. It might seem a strange thing to note, except the opposite happened during my years directing ...
Searching, please wait... animated waiting image