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Irish poet Eavan Boland to present UB 2014 Oscar Silverman Reading

Release Date: November 10, 2014

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Boland is one in a series of lyric poets — Pulitzer Prize winners, poet laureates, and other very distinguished writers — who have starred in these annual readings.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Poet Eavan Boland, one of the foremost female voices in Irish literature, will present the 2014 University at Buffalo Oscar Silverman Reading at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14 at the Jacobs Executive Development Center (Butler Mansion), 672 Delaware Ave. at North Street.

This event is free and open to the public.

The reading is presented annually in memory of Oscar Silverman, the distinguished UB scholar and teacher who chaired the Department of English, directed the University Libraries and helped develop UB’s remarkable collection of 20th-century poetry.

Ansie Baird, Silverman’s daughter, administers the readings with the assistance of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Carl Dennis, Emeritus SUNY Distinguished Professor of English.

She says, “Both Carl and I have long respected Boland’s work. She read a few years back at Canisius College and when I heard her I thought she would be an excellent selection for a Silverman poet. It’s as simple as that. We try for the best and our success rate is outstanding.”

In fact, it is outstanding. Boland is one in a series of lyric poets — Pulitzer Prize winners, poet laureates, and other very distinguished writers — from here and abroad who have starred in these popular annual readings. The setting is intimate, the work invariably brilliant and accessible, and the audience has an opportunity to meet the poet in an “up front and personal” manner.

Boland’s poetry is said to “subvert traditional constructions of womanhood while presenting fresh perspectives on Irish history and mythology.” She began publishing in 1962, her work informed by her experiences as a young wife and mother and her growing awareness of the problematic role of women in Irish history and culture.

Her fifth book, “Her Own Image” (1980) explored such topics as domestic violence, anorexia, infanticide and cancer just as these issues were becoming the topic of widespread public discussion. This book, marked by her disquiet with “inaccurate and muffled” presentations of Irish womanhood, brought her international recognition and acclaim.

Writing in the Irish Book Review, Anne Fogarty declared Boland’s “New Collected Poems” (2008) “a timely reminder of the significance and innovatory force of Boland’s achievement as a poet and of the degree to which so many of her texts…have lastingly altered the contours of Irish writing. Modern Irish poetry would be unthinkable without her presence.”

She has appeared in prestigious anthologies, published books of criticism and edited prestigious literary journals. She has received a number of literary awards in North America and Europe and taught at Trinity College, Dublin, and at several American universities, Stanford among them.

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