cover image Outside History: Selected Poems, 1980-1990

Outside History: Selected Poems, 1980-1990

Eavan Boland. W. W. Norton & Company, $17.95 (152pp) ISBN 978-0-393-02898-0

With this volume Boland, an Irish poet, establishes herself as an important voice in contemporary poetry. Through close attention to the specific details of women's domestic lives, she transcends minutiae and gives shape to the larger emotions and truths of those lives. In ``Woman in Kitchen,''sic where the ``tropic of the dryer tumbling clothes / the round lunar window of the washer / . . . in a room white and quiet as a mortuary,'' she exposes the inner vitality of her subject by evoking the exterior. The theme of both the creative and the imprisoning power of myth recurs throughout. In the excellent title sequence, Boland explores the movement of women from myth to history, evoking the painful awareness implicit in any move toward self-determination: ``Out of myth into / history I move to be / part of that ordeal / whose darkness is / only now reaching me from the field.'' Her sharpened skill with language, rhythm and form permeates each poem in a collection that is a delight to ear and mind. (Dec.)