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Isabel Galleymore Shortlisted for the 2020 John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize

Friday, 7 Feb 2020

Isabel Galleymore, Significant Other We're delighted to announce the news that Isabel Galleymore’s debut collection Significant Other has been shortlisted for the 2020 John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize!

The John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize, sponsored by the John Pollard Foundation, and administered by the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre in the School of English at Trinity College Dublin, is awarded annually for an outstanding debut poetry book collection in the English language.


This international award places no restriction on place of publication and is distinguished by its global reach.

The jury composed of Eve Patten – chair of the judging panel and Professor in English at Trinity, Dr Nerys Williams, Associate Professor in Poetry and Poetics (School of English Drama and Film, University College, Dublin), Tim Dooley, tutor for the Poetry School and Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster, and Harry Clifton, former Ireland Professor of Poetry and Adjunct Professor of Literary Practice in the School of English, Trinity has selected the following candidates for the 2020 Award:

Jay Bernard – for Surge (Chatto and Windus)

Mary Jean Chan – for Flèche (Faber)

Isabel Galleymore – for Significant Other (Carcanet)

Michelle Penaloza – for Former Possessions of the Spanish Empire (Inlandia Books)

Stephen Sexton – for If all the World and Love were Young (Penguin)

The main prize, awarded during the event, is valued at €10,000.

Announcing the 2020 shortlist, chair of the judging panel Eve Patten, Professor in English at Trinity said:

“Forty volumes of poetry, from publishers in Canada, Ireland, Australia, the UK, and the US, were considered and this year’s judging panel was delighted at the diversity of submissions, with some volumes showcasing technical and conceptual daring and others reinvigorating ideas of lyric utterance.”

“The shortlist demonstrates how much contemporary poetry in English is part of the new nomadic age, crossing cultures and formal strategies, and mixing public voice with intimate conversation. It also reflects the vitality of the current poetry publishing scene, showcasing work by a range of publishers from small independent presses to long-established commercial houses.”

The winner will be announced at an award ceremony hosted by Trinity in April.

Congratulations, Isabel!



Image of Isabel Galleymore Isabel Galleymore’s debut pamphlet, Dazzle Ship, was published by Worple Press in 2014. Her work has featured in magazines including Poetry, the London Review of Books and in New Poetries VII. In 2016 she was a poet-in-residence at the Tambopata Research Centre in the Amazon rainforest. In 2017 she received an Eric Gregory Award. She teaches at the University of Birmingham.

In her first book of poems, Significant Other, 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.




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