Winner of the Strokestown Poetry Prize and Ireland Chair of Poetry Prize in 2007, fans of Boyle have waited a long time for this, her debut collection. The happy news is that it was worth the wait. The Work of a Winter is a promising introduction to Boyle’s work, resting comfortably between narrative sequences, black humour, biographical sketches and pastoral tenderness.
Boyle draws heavily on the lives of others for the collection: biographies of Rudolf Nureyev, Hildegard of Bingen and Mícheál Ó Cléirigh are cited, alongside stories borrowed from other historical figures. It would be very easy to follow the course of their lives, from point A to B to C; but rather, Boyle wants to give us some measure of each individual’s own passion and beliefs, as well as the obstacles they encounter. It’s basic storytelling, cleverly plotted out, so that although the reader may know nothing for example of the chronicles of medieval Irish history, we are still captured by the portrayal of Ó Cléirigh’s faith and devotion.
Source: Lagan Online. http://laganonline.co/review-maureen-boyle-the-work-of-a-winter/