Queer Phenomenology and the Things Themselves in Eavan Boland’s In a Time of Violence


  • Aubry Haines Memorial University of Newfoundland




Eavan Boland, Poetry, Queer Phenomenology, Sara Ahmed, Ekphrasis


Situating Eavan Boland’s In a Time of  Violence in dialogue with Sara Ahmed’s Queer Phenomenology, this article contends that Boland’s ekphrastic portrayals of physical things queers both traditional phenomenological conceptions of being-in-the-world as well as numerous conventions in Irish poetry. Eavan Boland’s concern for objects throughout the volume undermines widespread literary depictions of Irish women as essentialized, mythologized, or emblematized figures. Her preoccupation with physical things allows her to reject acts of reductive, discursive violence so often perpetrated by past male Irish authors and poets. Boland chooses to focalize upon quotidian, pedestrian, and overlooked objects, thus naturally aligning her poetry with Sara Ahmed’s Queer Phenomenology. Both Boland and Ahmed rescue marginalized perspectives from the darkened corners of existence. Boland’s poetry demonstrates an acute awareness that returning to “the things themselves” (Husserl 18) provides avenues for reclamation, multiplicity, and autonomy in the face of hegemonic, anonymizing narratives of Irish femininity. 

Author Biography

Aubry Haines, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Aubry Haines is currently a PhD student with the Memorial University of Newfoundland specializing in Irish poetry, Energy Humanities, and Phenomenology. His research primarily engages with poetry from the late nineteenth century to the present, and he has a particular interest in representations of Irish space, everyday objects, and sectarian violence.


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How to Cite

Haines, A. (2021). Queer Phenomenology and the Things Themselves in Eavan Boland’s In a Time of Violence. ABEI Journal, 23(2), 51-68. https://doi.org/10.37389/abei.v23i2.197752