“Loss is forever, but so is love.” Poet Kenneth Fields remembers Eavan Boland


A natural fierceness

“Loss is forever, but so is love,” writes Kenneth Fields in his tribute to Stanford colleague and fellow poet Eavan Boland. It’s in the current issue of Zyzzyva. “Her combination of toughness and tact were unparalleled.” He points out that her poem  “Eviction,” was published in the New Yorker the day she died on April 27, 2020. “She went out strong.”

An excerpt:

He remembers.

Among the many things I love about her was her ferocity. It often came as a surprise because her manner was usually gentle and restrained. But when she needed to disagree or defend her program, she could “get up on her diggers,” an Irishism she loved to use. And everybody listened. When in 1960 Khrushchev took off his shoe and pounded his desk in a meeting at the United Nations, her father, who was president of the General Assembly, got up on his diggers and broke his gavel trying to restore order. So Eavan Boland came by this fierceness naturally.

What remains for me are her tenderness and humor. When Thom Gunn died someone called me with the news, adding, “I hope he went out wailing.” I asked what he meant, and he said, “with drugs and sex.” Well, he did, as a matter of fact, though the account is sad for those of us who loved Thom. When I told Eavan, I said I thought Dylan Thomas may have done more harm than good with “Do Not Gentle into That Good Night.” What’s wrong with going gentle? I asked. She smiled and replied, “Yes. In bed. With yer slippers on.” Thankfully she died in Dublin, not Palo Alto, with her family at her bedside. Close enough.”

Read the whole thing here.

Comments are closed.