In the next issue of Seizure, we’re lucky enough to publish Fiona Wright, poet, Sydney-sider and baker extraordinaire. In 2011 her first poetry collection, Knuckled was released by Giramondo and I can confirm that the succulent persimmon on the cover is a good indication of its contents.
Fiona writes of a familiar Sydney but reconsiders it, making the city feel fresh again; in the same way that it’s fun to watch a Hollywood film shot in Sydney and see the buildings as though they’re in a foreign country. I work down in Walsh Bay, the title of one of her poems, and was delighted by Fiona’s version.
The old stilts creak,
creak and clank
in the water’s plump lap
lipped oysters cling to chafe legged piers.
The poem traces the threads of past and present – the slick apartment developments juxtaposed with the weary wood holding up the piers and the long, mixed-up history of Sydney’s populace. She’s made me remember how much I responded to Walsh Bay when I first started working there and reminded me to be more observant, to enjoy it more.
Another favourite of mine is the opening poem, ‘Inner West’, which made me smile with both the warmth of reminiscence and the cool of a new perspective. She writes:
… you can hear
your neighbours singing, closing doors
and climbing stairs, their evening curries
And there’s a sort of extreme intimacy coupled with the fact that you so often don’t know your neighbours when you live in the inner city.
The collection also takes you to Sri Lanka, Vietnam and from coast to coast of Australia, always with a sort of spare clarity and economy. Knuckled is such a lovely read because it does what we know good writing can do; it recasts the world through language.