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Tributes paid to poet Eavan Boland - who 'revealed beauty in the ordinary'

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‘Insightful inner source of Irish life’: Eavan Boland divided her time living in the US and Ireland in recent years. Photo: Collins

‘Insightful inner source of Irish life’: Eavan Boland divided her time living in the US and Ireland in recent years. Photo: Collins

‘Insightful inner source of Irish life’: Eavan Boland divided her time living in the US and Ireland in recent years. Photo: Collins

President Michael D Higgins has led tributes to the Irish poet Eavan Boland, who died suddenly at her Dublin home yesterday after suffering a stroke at the age of 75.

She was regarded as one of the most iconic female voices in Irish literature.

"It was her particular gift to reveal the beauty in the ordinary," said Mr Higgins.

"Over the years, through her poetry, critical work and teaching she displayed an extraordinary ability to invoke Irish landscapes, myth and everyday experience.

"She became one of the pre-eminent voices in Irish literature, noted for the high standard she sought and achieved.

"The revealing of a hidden Ireland, in terms of what was suffered, neglected, evaded, given insufficient credit, is a part of her achievement.

"With the passing of Eavan Boland Ireland has lost not only an internationally acclaimed poet, distinguished academic and author, but one of the most insightful inner sources of Irish life, not only in life as expressed but as sensed and experienced."

Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina offered their condolences to the writer's husband Kevin, "their daughters and the members of her extended family, her colleagues in poetry and her wide circle of friends".

Ms Boland published her first volume of poems '23 Poems' in 1962 when she was still a student at Trinity College Dublin.

She went on to have an illustrious career as a poet, editor and lecturer and was a professor of English at the prestigious Stanford University near San Francisco where she was also the head of its creative writing programme.

She had divided her time living in the US and Ireland in recent years.

She was awarded the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award at the Irish Book Awards in 2017 where she was honoured for her "art, her eloquence and her stalwart advocacy for poetry", joining the ranks of fellow recipients including Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney.

She was renowned for exploring the domestic lives of women and their role in Irish history and culture.

She became an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2017, which also paid tribute to her following the sad news of her death along with Poetry Ireland, which called her death "a staggering loss to the Irish poetry community".

Irish Independent