Staring Inward: Eavan Boland’s Archive of Silences in Domestic Violence
Keywords:Eavan Boland, Contemporary Irish Poetry, Irish history, Silence in literature
The critical revision of the ways in which literature represents the conflict between voice and silence has traditionally led to the consideration of poetry as a genre in which this contrast acquires a deep resonance. From the distribution of its formal pauses to the gaps in meaning between the explicit and the implicit levels of language, silence and the unsaid can be defined as fundamental components to perceive the literary text. In the case of the Irish poet Eavan Boland, her position in relation to this antagonism has been critically studied according to her desire of giving voice through her poetry to all those Irish women who have been historically silenced. In doing so, the contrast between these two extremes has been frequently connected to her distinctions between history and the past and the public and the domestic poem. This essay will analyse the conducting thread joining these oppositions through a close reading of two poems from her compilation Domestic Violence (2007). Additionally, it will explore Boland’s silences not only as an act of giving voice to the unvoiced but also as a formal expression of the layers of meaning hidden underneath the poem.
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