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This article is taken from PN Review 220, Volume 41 Number 2, November - December 2014.

Eavan Boland, the Good Manager Theo Dorgan
When I was a child, my mother and her women friends had a term for a capable woman: she’s a good manager, they’d say, the circle of faces acknowledging the accuracy, the justice of earned praise. A good manager kept a good house, was provident, foresaw what would be needed, put money and other resources aside against the rainy day that was all too often literal – keeping your children shod against winter was a recurring care.

They had a kind of watchfulness, these women, an air of attentive quiet, a stillness around the eyes, an atmosphere of clarity in their houses and about their persons that was almost visible. When they looked at you, you felt yourself considered. When they thought about something, you trusted their conclusions.

The good manager in our small community was a resource; resourceful herself, and known to be so, she had the power and the capacity to help resolve situations, to inspire, to give good counsel; to be, if needed, a clear-sighted champion.

I have always loved and admired the way Eavan Boland manages her thoughts, her perceptions and her poems. How she carries herself in the world, how she moves in language, and in our lives as readers, with a cool air of consideration about her person and in her work.

Justin Martyr, a Christian apologist of the second century, says of Athene, protector of the city, that ‘when the god had in mind the making of a world through a word (logos) his first thought was Athene’ – and there is something of ...

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