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The Robot Scientist’s Daughter – Jeannine Hall Gailey

The Robot Scientist’s Daughter – Jeannine Hall Gailey


The Robot Scientit's Daughter - by Jeannine Hall Gailey - front cover

Poetry. Paper, Perfect Bound. 80 pages
2015, ISBN: 978-1-936419-42-5 $15.95 + S&H

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Dazzling in its descriptions of a natural world imperiled by the hidden dangers of our nuclear past, this book presents a girl in search of the secrets of survival. In The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, Jeannine Hall Gailey creates for us a world of radioactive wasps, cesium in the sunflowers, and robotic daughters. She conjures the intricate menace of the nuclear family and nuclear history, juxtaposing surreal cyborgs, mad scientists from fifties horror flicks and languid scenes of rural childhood. Mining her experience growing up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the writer allows the stories of the creation of the first atomic bomb, the unintended consequences of scientific discovery, and building nests for birds in the crooks of maple trees to weave together a reality at once terrifying and beautiful. The Robot Scientist’s Daughter reveals the underside of the Manhattan Project from a personal angle, and charts a woman’s – and America’s – journey towards reinvention.


The Robot Scientist’s Daughter – Press kit – March 2015 (PDF)
The story of how The Robot Scientist’s Daughter was born – From The Next Best Book Blog
Jeannine Hall Gailey interviewed at Geosi Reads
Dreamsplaining 4 Jeannine Hall Gailey at Queen Mob’s Teahouse.
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter reviewed at Younger Than That Now (Allyson Whipple)
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter reviewed at A License to Quill (Lori Holuta)
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter reviewed at The Rumpus (Mary McMyne)
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter reviewed at Escape Into Life (Kathleen Kirk)
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter reviewed at Savvy Verse and Wit (Serena)
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter reviewed at Tea Bird
Jeannine Hall Gailey interviewed at Cherry Tree
Jeannine Hall Gailey interviewed at The Spark
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter reviewed at Everything Distills Into Reading blog
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter mentioned in an interesting think piece by Lesley Wheeler
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter reviewed at Portland Book Review
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter reviewed at San Francisco Book Review
Jeannine Hall Gailey interviewed by Jessica Goodfellow
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter reviewed at Rabbit Reader (Chiron)
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter added to Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award Preliminary Ballot
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter mentioned in Poems I Like (Deborah Bacharach)
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter reviewed in Galatea Resurrects (Brin Sanford)
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter reviewed by Deborah Bacharach


Praise for Jeannine Hall Gailey’s work:

In The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, Jeannine Hall Gailey charts the dangerous secrets in a nuclear family as well as a nuclear research facility. Her ecofeminist approach to the making of bombs, celebrates our fragile natural world. Full of flowers and computers, this riveting poetry captures the undeniable compromises and complexities of our times. — Denise Duhamel

What is her story? “In this story,” Jeannine Gailey tells us, “a girl grows up in a field of nuclear reactors. She gives us lessons in poison. And as we watch this heroine appear from various angles, in multiple lights we realize that just like this girl who “made birds’ nests / with mud and twigs, hoping that birds would / come live in them.” Gailey makes an archetype for a contemporary American woman whom she sees as beautiful — and damaged — and proud — and unafraid. And the Scientist? He “lives alone in a house made of snow. / If he makes music, no one hears it.” America? It builds barbed wire “to keep enemies out of its dream” – but we all are surrounded by these barbed wires of a country whose “towns melt into sunsets, into dust clouds, into faces.” In subtle, playful, courageous poems, we are witnessing a brilliant performance. — Ilya Kaminsky

The Robot Scientist’s Daughter gives us a magnificent voice who is at turns “happy with the apple blossoms,” and yet whip-smart enough to know “the beauties of voltmeter and oscilloscope.” But underneath the beautifully measured sheen and spark of these bright stanzas, is a human who opens up thrilling new worlds by also fearlessly inhabiting poems of sorrow, survival, and identity—one whose “tongue is alive with lasers and [whose] song attracts thousands.”
— Aimee Nezhukumatathil

The artificial light of radiation and the light of poetic artifice; the real memory of a childhood among inventions in a nuclear hot spot and the cybernetic hyper memories of fictional antiheroes and heroines; the elements, and the elements of style; the present day, the near future, and the futures that never were– you can find them all in these pellucid and memorable poems, in which Jeannine Hall Gailey becomes a storyteller, a creator, a rebel, an educator, and a heroine of her own. — Stephen Burt Critic, Harvard professor, and author of Belmont and Close Calls with Nonsense

Like peering into DaVinci’s Notebook (The Codex Arundel) we have beautiful autopsies. We don’t shy away from these gems. We are drawn to warm pages and mysteries captured in science and love. We turn her pieces of amber in our hands. The friction is just enough to cause a spark and we smile at static electricity. Far from Shelley’s Frankenstein we sense our own intimate connection to the monsters outside our lives. Pure innocence tells us of poisonous cesium. Not the outrage of long hair from a bygone era. A simple set of observations. We don’t cringe. We love the picture. We pick our own daffodils. We remember our own strawberries. We dream of robots and wonder in this quiet witness how we have survived all this time. From the salted destruction of Tyre and Sidon to the disappearance of Macchu Piccu. We are here in a nuclear conundrum

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. We have to face it here. We face our fragile innocence in strength and compassion. You’ve got to read this book. — Doug Johnson editor Cave Moon Press and author of The Golden Years: Part One


Cesium Burns Blue

Copper burns green. Sodium yellow,
strontium red. Watch the flaming lights
that blaze across your skies, America—
there are burning satellites
even now being swallowed by your horizon,
the detritus of space programs long defunct,
the hollowed masterpieces of dead scientists.
Someone is lying on a grassy hill,
counting shooting stars,
wondering what happens
when they hit the ground.

In my back yard in Oak Ridge,
they lit cesium
to measure the glow.
Hold it in your hand:
foxfire, wormwood, glow worm.
Cesium lights the rain,
is absorbed in the skin,
unstable, unstable,
dancing away, ticking away
in bones, fingernails, brain.
Sick burns through, burns blue.


About Jeannine Hall Gailey
Jeannine Hall Gailey recently served as the Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington, and is the author of three other books of poetry: Unexplained Fevers, She Returns to the Floating World, and Becoming the Villainess. Her work has been featured on APM’s Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily and was included in The Year’s Best Horror. Her poems have appeared The American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her web site is www.webbish6.com.