Domestic Interior

Fiona Wright

Domestic Interior
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Domestic Interior

Fiona Wright

The poems in Domestic Interior draw together varieties of suburban experience and imagination, charting places that are vibrant, plangent and comical.

Award-winning poet and essayist Fiona Wright shows her acute concern for spaces general and particular, showing the small details that build our everyday worlds via story, memory and experience. In her poems these details hold their thrall through the moments of charged emotional extremity we encounter across our lives, whether through dream or desire, illness or struggle. Wright traverses family and its rituals, the spaces of love and friendship, the sites of everyday experience: houses, roadways, clinics, shopping centres. These works are mostly set in Sydney, in the inner suburbs where Wright now lives and in the south-western suburbs where she grew up.

Domestic Interior
captures these sites as the locations of love as well as sadness, of adversity as well as succour and strength.

Review

When I was at uni, one of my favourite tutors gave me an excellent, simple piece of advice on writing poetry. She said the title of the poem should be treated as its first line, and ideally set the tone for the piece of writing to follow. I think Fiona Wright must have been given this advice at some point too; Domestic Interior is an excellent title. It is succinct, enticing and in just two words, it reveals the heart of this stunning collection of poetry.

The interiors of this collection are many. There is the literally domestic – the interiors of homes, as well as streetscapes and depictions of places, both foreign and well known. Place is central to these poems. While some of the poems are set in faraway places, most of them deal with urban Australia, namely Sydney. In all cases, they wrap themselves around the outside world, showing it to the reader from a brand new perspective.

These poems are so successful at capturing the places they are situated in because Wright’s perspective is established sharply. The ‘I’ is a heavy presence across Domestic Interior. Rather than making the poems feel diaristic, this gives great insight to the metaphoric interiors of the book. These are often Wright’s own mindscapes, but they also bring into view those of others. In several instances, Wright does this via snippets of things she sees and hears. In one poem, ‘Coastal Walk (with Tanktops)’, Wright punctuates scenes of women jogging along the beach with ‘inspirational’ fitness slogans. The result is a stark sense of contrast that subtly coaxes larger issues from the picturesque scene.

Wright’s verse is quietly powerful. It’s almost as if she is reaching out into her readers’ minds and opening up windows into her own experiences. This collection is one to read twice.


Ellen Cregan works as a bookseller at Readings Doncaster.

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