From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Acclaimed Irish poet Boland (Domestic Violence) uses "autobiography and analysis" to trace the making of poets, poems, readers, and their communities. One map reflects her belief that how we read or write a poem is an ever-changing process not rooted in a single point of time but a relationship to the "poetic past." The second charts the poet's need to change that past. Sketches of women poets from Puritan Anne Bradstreet to Denise Levertov, the sole woman of the 1960s Black Mountain School, lead to a concluding "Letter to a Young Woman Poet," describing Boland's struggle to create poems from her life as a mother. Asserting "the strengths that exist in the communal life of women," Boland offers encouragement to women poets of the future. If some of her language is directed to those writing or reading poetry, her vivid imagery ("if this were a summer darkness in Ireland the morning would already be stored in the midnight") will beguile many. (Apr.)
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“Boland . . . discusses the work of women poets that has been important to her, ranging from the little-known Charlotte Mew to the over-exposed Sylvia Plath, in critical essays that connect seamlessly with the personal to create a provocative collection.” (Booklist)
“[A Journey with Two Maps
] attempts to rewrite history in a more fair and truthful manner. Boland’s insights into Sylvia Plath and Elizabeth Bishop are exquisite. . . . Boland’s criticism is spooky with hovering ghosts.” (San Francisco Chronicle)