Significant Other by Isabel Galleymore
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 the 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 nonhuman 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 accepted narratives belonging to animal fables, Doomsday Preppers and climate change deniers are adapted, new metaphors are found with which to speak of both estrangement and entanglement. Drawing at times from her residency in the Amazon rainforest, Galleymore strays into a world of squirrels cloaked in snakeskins, the engagingly erotic lives of barnacles, and caged owls that behave like their owners. The human world revises its own measure in the light of these poems.