That the Science of Cartography Is Limited
by Eavan Boland
Analysis: Calling Card
Melding the Personal and the Political
Boland is known around the world for being a feminist poet—for writing about the experience of being a woman, a mother, and a writer. And with this position, comes some awesome feminist baggage: namely, making the personal political, and the political personal.
What's all that mean? Well, while "That the Science of Cartography is Limited" doesn't take on any explicitly feminist issues, this poem definitely intersects the personal and the political. The poem tells the story of one individual coming to terms with her nation's history. We see the tragedy of the Irish Potato Famine and how its effects cascade through the centuries, interjecting itself into the conversation of two lovers out for a day in the woods. Boland is known for writing poems like this—poems that make it possible for little ol' readers like us to understand big things like Ireland's history. Pretty impressive, if we do say so ourselves.