In Object Lessons (1996), Eavan Boland describes how isolating life was for a woman beginning to publish poetry in the 1960s:
Irish poetry was predominantly male… Now and again, in discussion, you heard a woman's name. But the lived vocation, the craft witnessed by a human life—that was missing. And I missed it. Not in the beginning perhaps. But later, when perceptions of womanhood began to redirect my own work, what I regretted was the absence of an expressed poetic life which would have dignified and revealed mine… Isolation itself can have a powerful effect in the life of a young writer.
How times have changed. In Ireland’s vibrant, contemporary poetry scene, both stage and page, there is no longer an absence of female voices—all four nominees for last year’s Strong-Shine award for best début collection were women.