Boland's father, Frederick Boland, was a career diplomat and her mother, Frances Kelly, was a noted post-expressionist painter. She was born in Dublin in 1944. At the age of six, she and her family moved to London, where Boland had her first experiences of anti-Irish sentiment. Her dealing with this hostility strengthened Boland's identification with her Irish heritage. She spoke of this time in her poem "An Irish Childhood in England: 1951."
She later returned to Dublin to attend school and published a pamphlet of poetry (23 Poems) in her first year as an undergraduate at Trinity, in 1962. Boland received her a First Class Honors BA (Bachelor of Arts Degree) in English Literature from Trinity College, Dublin in 1966. Since then she has held numerous teaching positions and published poetry, books and journal articles. Boland married the novelist Kevin Casey in 1969 and has two daughters. Her experiences as a wife and mother have influenced her to write about the centrality of the ordinary, as well as providing a frame for more political and historical themes.
She has taught at Trinity College, Dublin, University College Dublin, and Bowdoin College, and was a member of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Since 1996 she has been a tenured Professor of English at Stanford University.
Boland has taught at a number of universities, including Trinity College, Dublin. She was also writer in residence at Trinity College, Dublin, and at the National Maternity Hospital.
She is currently Bella Mabury and Eloise Mabury Knapp Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and Melvin and Bill Lane Professor for Director of the Creative Writing program there.
She is married to author Kevin Casey; they have two daughters.
Her other awards include a Lannan Foundation Award in Poetry and an American Ireland Fund Literary Award.She also received the Corrington Medal for Literary Excellence Centenary College 2002, the Bucknell Medal of Distinction 2000 Bucknell University, the Smartt Family prize from the Yale Review and the John Frederick Nims Award from Poetry Magazine 2002.Her volume "Domestic Violence" (2007) was shortlisted for the Forward prize in the UK.
In 1997 she received an honorary degree from University College Dublin. She also received honorary degrees from Strathclyde University and Colby College in the US in 1997. She received one from Bowdoin College in 2004. In 2004 she received an honorary degree from Trinity College Dublin.
Eavan Boland's first book of poetry was New Territory published in 1967 with Dublin publisher Allen Figgis. This was followed by The War Horse (1975), In Her Own Image (1980) and Night Feed (1982), which established her reputation as a writer on the ordinary lives of women and on the difficulties faced by women poets in a male-dominated literary world.
Boland's publications also include: An Origin Like Water: Collected Poems 1967-1987 (1996), Outside History: Selected Poems 1980-1990 (1990), and a prose memoir Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time (1995). Her collection In a Time of Violence (1994) received a Lannan Award and was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. Several of her volumes of poetry have been Poetry Book Society Choices in the UK, where she is primarily published by Carcanet Press.. In the United States her publisher is W. W. Norton. Her volume of poems Against Love Poetry (W. W. Norton 2001) was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
The Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, quoted from her poem "The Emigrant Irish" in his address to the joint houses of the US Congress in May 2008.
She is co-editor of The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (with Mark Strand; W. W. Norton & Co., 2000). She also published a volume of translations in 2004 called After Every War (Princeton University Press). The translations are of German-speaking women poets. yes!
23 Poems. Dublin: Gallagher, 1962.
Autumn Essay. Dublin: Gallagher, 1963.
Eavan Boland Poetry/Prose Joseph O’Malley. Dublin: Gallagher, 1963.
New Territory. Dublin: Allen Figgis, 1967.
W.B. Yeats and His World. With Micheál Mac Liammóir. London: Thames, 1971; New York: Thames & Hudson, 1998.
The War Horse. London: Victor Gollancz, 1975.
In Her Own Image. Dublin: Arlen House, 1980.
Introducing Eavan Boland. Princeton, NJ: Ontario Review P, 1981.
Night Feed. Dublin: Arlen House, 1982. Reissue: Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1994.
The Journey and Other Poems. Dublin: Arlen House, 1986; Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1987.
Selected Poems. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1989.
Outside History. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1990.
Outside History: Selected Poems 1980–1990. New York: Norton, 1990.
In a Time of Violence. New York: Norton, 1994; Manchester: Carcanet, 1994.
Collected Poems. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1995.
Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time. New York: Norton, 1995; Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1995.
Penguin Modern Poets: Carol Ann Duffy, Vicki Feaver, Eavan Boland. London: Penguin, 1995.
An Origin Like Water: Collected Poems 1967–1987. New York: Norton, 1996. The Lost Land. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1998.
The Lost Land: Poems. New York: Norton, 1998.
The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms. Ed. Eavan Boland and Mark Strand. New York: Norton, 2000.
Against Love Poetry. New York: Norton, 2001.
Code. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2001.
Three Irish Poets: An Anthology: Eavan Boland, Paula Meehan, Mary O’Malley. Ed. Eavan Boland. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2003.
After Every War: Twentieth-Century Women Poets. Trans. Eavan Boland. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2004.
New Collected Poems. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2005.
Domestic Violence. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2007; New York: Norton, 2007.
Irish Writers on Writing (The Writer’s World). San Antonio: Trinity, 2007.
Selected Poems by Charlotte Mew. Ed. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2008.
New Collected Poems. New York: Norton, 2008.
The Making of a Sonnet: A Norton Anthology. Ed. with Edward Hirsch. New York: Norton, 2008.
Allen Randolph, Jody. Eavan Boland: A Sourcebook Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2007.
Allen Randolph, Jody. Eavan Boland: A Critical Companion. New York: Norton, 2008.
Allen Randolph, Jody, and Anthony Roche, eds. Special Edition: Eavan Boland. Irish University Review 23.1 (Spring/Summer 1993).
Allen Randolph, Jody, ed. Special Issue: Eavan Boland. Colby Quarterly 35.4 (Dec. 1999).
Haberstroh, Patricia Boyle, Women Creating Women: Contemporary Irish Women Poets. Syracuse University Press (Syracuse, NY), 1996.
Hagen, Patricia L., and Thomas W. Zelman. Eavan Boland and the History of the Ordinary. Bethesda, MD: Academica Press, 2004.
Müller, Sabina J. Through the Mythographer's eye : Myth and Legend in the work of Seamus Heaney and Eavan Boland. Tübingen : Francke, 2007
Villar-Argáiz, Pilar. Eavan Boland’s Evolution As an Irish Woman Poet: An Outsider within an Outsider’s Culture. Ceredigion, UK: Mellon, 2007.
Villar-Argáiz, Pilar. The Poetry of Eavan Boland: A Postcolonial Reading. Bethesda, MD: Academica Press, 2008.