Eavan Boland was born in Dublin, Ireland, on September 24, 1944. Her father was a diplomat and her mother was an expressionist painter.
At the age of six, Boland moved with her family to London, where she first encountered anti-Irish sentiment. She later returned to Dublin for school, and she received her B.A. from Trinity College in 1966. She was also educated in London and New York.
Boland's poetry collections include A Poet's Dublin (Carcanet Press, 2014), A Woman Without a Country (W. W. Norton, 2014), New Collected Poems (W. W. Norton, 2008), An Origin Like Water: Collected Poems 1967-1987 (W. W. Norton, 1996), and In Her Own Image (Arien House, 1980).
In addition to her books of poetry, Boland was also the author of the essay collection A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet (W. W. Norton, 2011), which won the 2012 PEN Award; Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time (W. W. Norton, 1995), a volume of prose; and After Every War (Princeton, 2004), an anthology of German women poets. With Mark Strand, she co-edited The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (W. W. Norton, 2000).
Boland's awards include a Lannan Foundation Award in Poetry, an American Ireland Fund Literary Award, a Jacob’s Award for her involvement in The Arts Programme broadcast on RTÉ Radio, and an honorary degree from Trinity College. A member of the American Academy of Arts & Science, she taught at Trinity College, University College, and Bowdoin College, among others. She was also a regular reviewer for the Irish Times.
Boland was a professor of English at Stanford University, where she directed the creative writing program. She lived in California with her husband, the author Kevin Casey, and died on April 27, 2020.