Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by Billy Clem

Dear Editor,

I am always happy when Poetry shows up in my mailbox, and I was very glad to see that the magazine had decided to devote a long review to contemporary Irish poetry ["Five From Ireland," November 2008]. I am sorry, however, that Carmine Starnino fails to understand the brilliance and importance of Eavan Boland's more recent poetry, which has only gotten better with each new book. Starnino asserts that The Lost Land (1998) and Against Love Poetry (2001) "arrive with their innovatory force entirely mislaid," and that the poet herself "is eager to take her place in literary history." Nothing could be further from the truth. These books ask us to question not themes but the craft of poetry itself and our makings of authentic historical knowledge. Moreover, Boland's most recent book, Domestic Violence (not under review here), contains some of her very best work: who cannot be moved by "On this Earth," not only for its veracity but for its incomparable artistry?

Dekalb, Illinois

Originally Published: December 30, 2008

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This prose originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

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