“What we call place is really only that detail of it which we understand to be ourselves.” – Object Lessons
Object Lessons by the poet Eavan Boland was published by Carcanet in 1995. It is a candid and precise autobiographical account of Boland’s becoming a poet in Ireland and negotiating her status as a woman within the Irish literary canon. The narrative style is lucid and the descriptions are beautiful and accurate in a way that can only really be achieved by a poet with years of experience in the crafting of language.
Boland approaches her situation from a historical perspective, delving into the chasms of her own past while relating it to the broader history of a nation. Object Lessons offers insight into the process of becoming a writer while examining the challenges that inevitably arise. In Boland’s case it was initially her hybrid identity and then her move to the Dublin suburbs to raise a family and her subsequent struggle to find a place for her voice within the confines of Irish poetry.
I perused Object Lessons as the seasons shifted from winter to spring. Windswept days of fleeting sunshine and intermittent periods of violent rain enveloped Dublin and made me crave grilled cheese sandwiches. The Twisted Pepper, café and barber shop by day, club and live music venue by night, does a delicious ham hock toastie and a superior cup of coffee. Worth indulging in regardless of the season.