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Baby Schema

Isabel Galleymore

Cover of Baby Schema by Isabel Galleymore
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Categories: 21st Century, British, Ecopoetry, Second Collections, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (72 pages)
(Pub. Mar 2024)
£11.99 £10.79
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(Pub. Mar 2024)
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • A Poetry Book Society Spring Recommendation 2024

    ‘Trees crawling with babies, babies
    darting through the sky
    or buoyed by thermal vents, babies
    painted with false eyes’

    In Isabel Galleymore’s second collection, the adorable other is not just an imagined future child, but also a tree frog, a weather-worn statue and often the speaker herself, who dreams of quitting adulthood and an endangered world. ‘Mother Earth’ is less an entity to be revered than a command to care-giving. Lyrics and syllabically-constrained fables examine the play and power involved in creating new life, whether biologically or via cartoonists’ animation.

    Galleymore hones in on cuteness and its relationships to hyper-capitalism and environmental crisis to produce a deliberately queasy ecopoetics. Animal extinctions are likened to failed businesses and sainthood is granted to a dubious character named Michael Mouse. Studies of wild creatures join those of pets, pot plants and animal videos: here is a new nature – one shaped by the extremes of our contemporary desires.
    Isabel Galleymore ’s first collection, Significant Other, won the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize in 2020 and was shortlisted for the Forward Best First Collection Prize and Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Birmingham, UK and a Fellow at Harvard's Radcliffe ... read more
    Awards won by Isabel Galleymore Commended, 2024 A Poetry Book Society Spring Recommendation
    (Baby Schema)
    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)
    'These are ingenious and playful poems, delightful and disturbing.'

    Graeme Richardson, The Sunday Times

     'This sage ecopoetry holds humanity at its core and vitally, to account. Galleymore attends to the subjects of extinction, overpopulation and capitalism. The syllabically controlled sucker punch sequence 'Disneyland' melds all three in its conclusion... Full of electric shocks and welcome reassurances, Baby Schema is a triumph.'

    Jo Clement, The Poetry Book Society Bulletin

    Praise for Isabel Galleymore
    '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.'

    Jenna Clarke, The Compass

    '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.'

    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.'

    Martyn Crucefix

       '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.'
    Juliana Spahr
    'Galleymore evokes an abundance of 'other' worlds in these beautiful poems through a combination of simplicity, empathy and sheer Blakean joy.'
    Rachael Boast
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