Boland is a famous poet born in Dublin, Ireland back in the year 1944 where she grew up until she was six years old (Crow). After this her family decides to relocate to London where she spends part of her life. It is during this period of time when she potentially develops an anti-Irish sentiment (Crow). Her gradually growing hostility leads towards Irish way of life leads to her potential appreciation of the same culture she appears to reject. According to Gonzalez “exile for Boland, however, has never functioned solely as a poetic metaphor. The force of leaving Ireland also exacted an enduring toll on her that manifests itself on nonliterary ways. Whenever she writes about the experience, she describes it through instances and moments that serve as concrete demonstrations of distress and discomfort” (Gonzalez 21).
Gonzalez further postulates that, “The combination of factors and events according to Eavan, produced on her mother a sense of ‘unrational, the inexplicable, the eloquent fragment’ that fueled her own artistic inclinations and storytelling abilities and subsequently assisted Eavan in coping with her aversion to life away from home” (Gonzalez 22). This shows the potential influence of feminine upbringing, which serves to foster feminine capabilities and influence to write on feminine subjects.
In Boland’s poem ‘the War Horse’ she fundamentally pursues different themes and elements associated with the manner in which her poet reflects her relative beliefs. In the poem she says:
…watch the ambling feather
Of hook and fetlock, loosed from its daily tether
In the tinker camp on the Enniskerry Road
Pass, his breath hissing, his snuffing head (Boland)
Here she aims at creating the war environment by building relevant scenarios and case examples. In addition, there is an element of using relatively short sentences that are interrupted with an aim of mimicking the horse’s movement. This can further be seen in;
But we, we are safe, our informed fear
Of fierce commitment gone; why should we care?
If a rose, a hedge, a crocus are uprooted
Like corpse, remote, crushed, mutilated? (Boland)
This also serves to portray the relative levels of competencies in Boland’s art of poetry, which appears to be fundamentally based upon her inherent ability to write and compose wonderful and readable poems although accompanied with significant difficulty.
Literary Criticism on ‘The War Horse’
Boland’s poetry has been subjected to varied forms of criticisms based on content, style, and language components. For instance, in the piece ‘The lost land by Boland, McDonald criticizes Boland’s poetic style , which he describes as having a ‘weakness in form’, lacking potential and acute attention to language, and her visible preference given to full stops as opposed to the use of complete sentences” (Villar-Argaiz 282). This art of using queer and unique language in her poem served to generate significant levels of criticisms which she experienced from other cadre of poets and literary analysts. This can be seen in:
He stumbles on like a rumor of war
Threatening. Neighbors use the subterfuge
Of curtains. He stumbles down our short street
Thankfully passing us. I pause, wait, (Boland)
Boland’s poems also entail a component of cultural dimensions focusing on cultural uniqueness of her Irish roots. Villar-Argaiz objects that, “Rather, her nation is characterized by fragmentary experiences, hybrid subjects who stand in-between ‘Englishness’ and ‘Irishness’, and whose interstitial location allow them to marry oppositions” (Villar-Argaiz 284). This elementally shows the manner in which strives to establish a potential connection point between the two entities. This is seen as Villar-Argaiz further objects that, “Boland consistently records the contradictory pulls between her earlier dream of Ireland as a cultural unity and her own experience of Irishness as fragmentation” (Villar-Argaiz 284).
Boland’s poetry has also been criticized from the point of view of her need to achieve and portray an element of freedom from self inflicted captivity emanating from the fact that she writes them in the United States. Villar-Argaiz adds that, “Boland’s conception of ‘Irishness’ is therefore founded in traditional ‘insignificant’, ‘unheroic’, and ‘unpleasant’ issues. In all these things, the poet finds the source of her poetic creativity, as well as the strength to subvert the nationalist dream of a (precolonial) ‘Irishness’ which is pure and authentic” (Villar-Argaiz 286).
Boland further uses her poem to build a scenario in which she seems to remember past days and conditions they lived in the ‘Irish empire.’ We can see this in:
Then to breath relief lean on the sill
And for a second only my own blood is still
With atavism. That he smashed frays
Ribboned across our hedge, recalling days
Of burned countryside, illicit braid
A cause ruined before, a world betrayed (Boland)
Connection between Criticism and Biography
The biography of Boland potentially reveals a society in which certain fundamentals are potentially neglected as she grows up. It also serves to portray different ways through which she responds to the changes that she is gradually exposed to. As Villar-Argaiz puts it, “Boland constantly attempts to establish a dialogue with the idea of the nation, and to reformulate her relationship with the Irish past” (Villar-Argaiz 287). This fundamentally shows the manner in which her poem potentially revolves around the concept of her life as covered by her biography.
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In addition, the criticisms have been used in a manner that builds critical content for her biography. This is because the various thematic concerns in the respective criticisms tend to establish a connection point between her and the different strategies which are potentially implied in the biography of Boland. According to Villa-Argaiz, “Boland constantly talks about a subaltern consciousness that cannot be recovered. Ii is only that these lives have been lost, but also that Boland wishes to leave them ungraspable. For the poet, every process of recovery itself involves an inevitable misrepresentation” (Villa-Argaiz 287). Contrary to these facts, in this particular case the criticisms on Villa-Argaiz’s work appear to be fundamentally based upon the achievement of context specific information through analysis of her life pattern from childhood to adulthood, a factor which further builds on the general aspect of connectedness. This can further be seen when Gonzalez states that: “The task of Boland was to fashion her existence as well as well as the lives of additional Irish women into the realm of Irish poetry. A third constraint, however, was the very occupation of writing was seen as incompatible with a woman’s life” (Gonzalez 23). This therefore serves to support the relative occurrence of criticism in as far as their lives were concerned.
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