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Categories: 21st Century, British, First Collections, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (64 pages)
(Pub. Mar 2019)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Mar 2019)
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In her first book of poems, Isabel Galleymore takes a sustained look at the ‘eight million differently constructed hearts’ of species currently said to inhabit Earth. These are part of the significant other of her title; so too are the intimacies – loving, fraught, stalked by loss and extinction – that make up a life. The habit of foisting human agendas on non-human worlds is challenged. Must we still describe willows as weeping? In the twenty-first century, is it possible to be ‘at one’ with nature? The poems reflect on our desire to locate likeness, empathy and kinship with our environments, whilst embracing inevitable difference. As the narratives belonging to animal fables, Doomsday Preppers and climate change deniers are adapted, new metaphors are found that speak of both estrangement and entanglement. Drawing at times from her residency in the Amazon rainforest, Galleymore delves into a world of pink-toed tarantulas, the erotic lives of barnacles, and caged owls that behave like their keepers. The human world revises its own measure in the light of these poems.
The Telegraph's Poetry Book of the Month March 2019
A Telegraph Book of the Year 2019
Awards won by Isabel Galleymore Short-listed, 2021 The Michael Murphy Memorial Poetry Prize
(Significant Other) Winner, 2020 The John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize (Significant Other) Short-listed, 2020 The Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize (Significant Other) Short-listed, 2019 The Forward (Felix Dennis) Prize for Best First Collection (Significant Other)
'The meticulousness of Galleymore's attention to sound, rhythm, and image transports us to a dreamlike world in which a crab is 'a soft ball of milk with milk's film skin' [...] Galleymore's poems interrogate what it means to be and have a significant other, and what to do when that significance is joyful, or something to endure.''I think it's incredibly powerful in the way it slips between the kinds of affection and care that we can offer to other species [...] Isabel's book is incredibly precise and sharp in this way that, as a writer, fascinates me, because she's able to distil a single species in a poem [...] There's so much in the poetry that bleeds our distinctions between nature and culture, but it also really forces this dislocation of the human from the centre.'
Jenna Clarke, The Compass
Jessica J Lee, Five Books
'Galleymore sees the natural world through spectacles that seem sharper than those the rest of us use.'
Leaf Arbuthnot, Ambit
'Isabel Galleymore's Significant Other cuts incisively and deliciously against several fashionable poetic grains in being committed yet dispassionate, quietly concise not shrill, impersonal rather than nakedly biographical.'
'Isabel Gallyemore's debut collection, Significant Other is a vividly detailed poetic chronicle of some of the world's most fascinating species. Underpinned by the desire to discover new ways of describing the natural world, these poems carry the painstaking attention to detail of dressmaking, both in the economic precision of their metrics and their manipulation of material. Galleymore forages with wide-eyed fascination in search of new poetic ground.'
Jade Cuttle, Poetry School
'Attentive to the natural world through imagistic lyrics these abundant poems recall the work of Jen Hadfireld and Alice Osward, but Galleymore can also be distinctive'
Ben Wilkinson, The Guardian
'A briliant enacting of out failure to be properly alarmed about our impending heat-death, screaming without ever raising a voice'
Declan Ryan, The Poetry Review, Summer 2019
'Galleymore never misplaces a word; the concision and dense packing of these short journeys yield bursts of insight which transcend meaning... Her images are fecund, metaphor-rich affirmations of teeming oceans where brutal evolutionary imperatives occur unnoticed, except to the poet's forensic eye.'
'Galleymore's eye for detail, and for identifying the best means of describing detail persuasively, is stupendouslty effective...Her skill is both intuitive and revelatory.'
Steve Whitaker, The Yorkshire Times
'These small, hard, shining poems are as perfectly self-contained as the molluscs they describe. Significant Other may seem a slight book at first, but - like a rock pool - look closely and you'll find a whole world.'
Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph's Poetry Book of the Month, March 2019
'This is a vital new voice for our age of climate change denial: "the ice melting fast in their drinks"'
PBS Spring Bulletin 2019
'The love poem's conventions are defined by the exclusive passions between a lover and a beloved. But for Galleymore the beloved is so many of the things in the world, the 'eight million differently constructed hearts' which includes the squid's, the snake's, also the limpet's. And so she writes a new sort of love poem, one of inclusion, and hope.'
'Galleymore evokes an abundance of 'other' worlds in these beautiful poems through a combination of simplicity, empathy and sheer Blakean joy.'
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