PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Next Issue Bill Manhire, Warm Ocean and other poems David Rosenberg, On Harold Bloom: Poetry, Psyche, God, Mortality Frederic Raphael, Obiter Dicta Gwyneth Lewis, The Auras Vahni Capildeo, Odyssey Response
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This interview is taken from PN Review 93, Volume 20 Number 1, September - October 1993.

in Conversation with Eavan Boland Allen-Randolph Jody

You were born in Dublin. You lived the formative years from six to twelve in London. Then you lived in New York for a few years, and returned to Dublin in your mid-teens. Your father was a diplomat and your mother a painter. Were there any elements there which particularly formed you as a poet?


My childhood, certainly in the London years, wasn't happy. That isn't to say it wasn't a privileged childhood, because it was. But it was fictional and desolate in an odd way. We lived in the Irish Embassy. My parents were two hard-working and very engaging people. My mother especially was a most imaginative and loving woman. She had a very unusual feeling towards the inner world of a child. She was the first person, for instance, to talk to me about poetry. Nevertheless here was this huge, compartmentalized house. And I felt thoroughly displaced in it. I never believed I belonged there. I never felt it was my home. Some of the feelings I recognize as having migrated into themes I keep going back to - exile, types of estrangement, a relation to objects -began there.

Your parents came from two sharply differentiated worlds. Did that matter?


There was certainly a great difference between my parents. My father had a superb intelligence, but it was a rational one. My mother was drawn to quite different things. Her father was a sea-captain. He drowned in the Bay of Biscay. ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image