A Journey with Two Maps begins with an anecdote: one afternoon, Eavan Boland saw one of her mother's paintings for sale in a gallery, signed by her famous teacher. It is the starting point for an exploration of concepts of art and womanhood, of what it means to be a woman poet, finding her own voice within a tradition. Boland's discussion is both critical and deeply personal, an account of her development as a poet that traces her experiences as a woman, wife and mother in the light of influences such as Adrienne Rich, Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks and Sylvia Plath. Boland considers the ways in which influences themselves may be changed as a tradition is remade. In the final part of the book, 'Letter to a Young Woman Poet', she addresses an unseen poet of the future who will redraw the maps once more, remaking the past and the present.
Born in Dublin in 1944, Eavan Boland studied in Ireland, London and New York. Her first book was published in 1967. She has taught at Trinity College, University College and Bowdoin College Dublin, and at the University of Iowa. She is currently Mabury Knapp Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University, California. A pioneering figure in Irish poetry, Boland's previous works include The Journey and other poems (1987), Night Feed (1994), The Lost Land (1998) and Code (2001). Her poems and essays have appeared in magazines such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Kenyon Review and American Poetry Review. She is a regular reviewer for the Irish Times. She divides her time between California and Dublin where she lives with her husband, the novelist Kevin Casey.