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Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
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Steve Whitaker
Literary Editor
4:38 PM 4th May 2018

Poem Of The Week - 'Interiorana' By Amy Key

Amy Key
Amy Key
Amy Key's is a vision in several shades of pink. A willing playmate in a maelstrom of frenetic emotion, she eviscerates in technicolour; her imagery is wrought as though magnified through a wide-angled lens peering downward into the startling clarity of a coral reef.

Such an uncluttered vision enables, releases even, an openness which is fragile, inevitably self-lacerating, and always sincere. And it encourages a wonderful capacity for teeming metaphorical invention which reflects, and is embellished by, the chromatic shades of a highly suggestive imagination.

Our Poem of the Week, which is taken from Amy Key's 2013 collection, Luxe, is a fine synoptic exemplar of the book as a whole.

A poem whose central conceit is, at face value, a simple survey of a bedroom and its accoutrements, 'Interiorana' opens a window on the ambiguity of emotion by a skilled conflation of metaphor.

The world of the narrator's 'interior' mental landscape is foregrounded through the animation of the material details of an existence, so that the room itself becomes the stream of her own consciousness.

Interiorana

Ornaments spy on my quilt, its down
frayed where toes catch the tender

edge. The window rattles discontent.
Outside many tongues are flush

against their roofs, seeking an iced unison.
And in this room: flowers go to paper

as they sink down their measure;
an origami of ideas; socks steam

gently under the window; the draught
alerts my skin. To court day

I taste mineral-lush condensation,
unfrost the view, scent the room

with butter-sweetened pastries.
Over years, i'll acquire a chandelier

of silver spoons - each a different size -
some pewtered with age. When cold comes

they'll shiver high, bright tones.
Inside I fritter soft as cinders.


In this animated world, trepidation and anxiety are inferred in ornaments that 'spy', flowers resign themselves to becoming paper shadows of their former rich textures, the window's draught is a warning, and spoons shiver in 'high, bright tones' in the 'pewtering' of age.

Here, senses are blended: the 'unfrosting' of the tableau as the narrator engages with the day is rendered in the narcosis of smell - the 'scent' of 'butter-sweetened pastries'. Emergent, warmed, and finding a corollary comfort in the easy pleasure of contrast, her observation closes with an adept oxymoron wrapped in a further hint at ambiguity in the cleverly double-edged 'fritter'.

To read the poetry of Amy Key is to be sensually pampered: think, sinking into a lovely sofa whilst wholly overlooking the forgotten knitting needle probing up through the upholstery.

Luxe is published by Salt