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Ashley Haywood, Polyp

Polyp, named after the coral’s tentacular polyp, is Ashley Haywood's highly anticipated debut collection of poetry. Drawing upon paleologist and geologist Dorothy Hill’s collected papers for inspiration, Polyp explores corals, fossils, seeds; tracing out the I of the poems through strata, deep-time, and the Anthropocene with urgency, compassion and the kind of anxiety that spurs action. This remarkable livre compose seeks the ineffable in the loops and flows of ecological and geological systems, as well as through its own linguistic formalities and experimentations. Polyp grows from itself like fractal shoots, then snips its feet to create new forms. A wild I slips between layers on the page, desirous of multiplicities, time-fullness and connection, looking back to ask, Who’s there? What poem are you? Exquistely rendered through fragmentation and recombination, Haywood's debut collection offers a vital and nuanced reinvigoration of ecopoetics, raising the questions for each of us, 'What have I done, what haven't I done?'

Diffracting ecology through body, burial through being, speech through matter, Haywood's map-making renders language molecular. Polyp charts cartographies of deep time, deep memory, distant horizons, where strangeness steeps into self, where the many-speaking mouths of lands-to-come wait to wake us. Shastra Deo

... a quiet voice that draws us to consider the brevity of human consciousness against the enormous span of geological time … Thought-provoking, playful, poised. Thomas Shapcott Award Judges

Ashley Haywood is writer, artist and poet whose work often dwells in the art-science nexus. She is the inaugural UQ Fryer Library Creative Writing Fellow (2017-2018), thrice shortlisted for the Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize (2020 Runner-up, 2021, 2022), and winner of the QRAA Ekphrasis Challenge (2020) in her category. Ashley’s poetry has appeared in Australian Poetry Anthology, Cordite, Australian Poetry Journal, Meanjin, Southerly, Rabbit, AXON and TEXT, among other places. She holds a PhD on signs, minds and creativity, or how to write like painting, and has a background in biological science. She currently lives on Kau-in Kau-in of the Ningy Ningy and Gubbi Gubbi Peoples just north of Meanjin with her partner and their four-year-old son.

Ashley Haywood, Polyp
2024. 148mm x 210mm. 64pp.
ISBN 978-1-925735-66-6


This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body.


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