cover image An Origin Like Water: Collected Poems, 1967-1987

An Origin Like Water: Collected Poems, 1967-1987

Eavan Boland / Author W. W. Norton & Company $25 (0p) ISBN 978

Gathered from her first five published volumes (not including the 1994 collection, In a Time of Violence), these poems mark the path described in Boland's 1995 memoir Object Lessons: The Life of a Woman Poet in Our Time. Readers of that work will recognize-and relish-the way this collection charts a life's course. Early poems, plumbing Irish legend and history, demonstrate Boland's sense of herself as part of a well-defined tradition of Irish poetry. The next selections show a shift of focus to details and topics closer to home-modern life in Ireland's cities and suburbs, her own relationships, her past and her womanhood-and a surer voice. With 1982's Night Feed, and particularly the long sequence, Domestic Interior, Boland begins to study the pattern of her life as woman, poet and mother. These themes are refined in poems from 1987's The Journey, where the poet, amid ``the usual hardcovers, half-finished cups,/ clothes piled up on an old chair,'' probes ``the silences in which are our beginnings,/ in which we have an origin like water.'' (Feb.)