Books / Poetry

Amy Tollyfield: ‘I always write with the aim of creating a poem which is beautiful, rare and precious’

By lowie trevena, Thursday Oct 1, 2020

Amy Tollyfield is a Bristol-based writer and poet. She has been writing poetry since age seven and is a former registered member of the National Youth Theatre and has a Masters degree in Shakespeare Studies.

The poet’s second anthology, Toy Soldiers, is released later in 2020 and draws on the intensities of romantic emotion and attraction.

Your debut anthology was published in 2018, when did you start working on your second collection?
Almost immediately after the acceptance of my first book, The Suicide, for publication by Olympia Publishers in January 2018, I was writing again.

I moved to Bristol in December 2017, and so all of the poems in Toy Soldiers were written during my time in Bristol. Whereas The Suicide was my Bathonian collection, Toy Soldiers is my Bristolian collection!

How would you describe the new collection? What can readers expect?
I have to be honest and say that it is a very melancholic anthology; I tend to find it easy to become absorbed in my emotions. This being said I know how to turn sadness into life and so the reader can expect profound moments of joy within the tenderness of sorrow in Toy Soldiers.

Life is hard and I think beauty is deeply important to our spiritual health and so I always write my poetry with the aim of creating a poem which is beautiful, rare and precious. I do like rhyme and so a lot of my poetry does rhyme, although by no means does all of it.

Amy Tollyfield moved to Bristol in late 2017. Photo: Amy Tollyfield

Has the coronavirus pandemic affected this new collection?
I would say not, only in the sense that my personal life has been a bit topsy-turvy! But so has everyone’s, and the pandemic has taught us the value of good friends and family.

What similarities and differences are there between The Suicide and Toy Soldiers?
I always employ an array of colours and emotions into my writing and those aspects remain present in my second anthology. There is a similar balance of rhyming and non-rhyming poetry in both collections.

A difference would be that The Suicide ends with a sense of completion and hope however Toy Soldiers concludes in mystery. I will leave that with you and let you read the book to find out more – I think the ending of Toy Soldiers is quite ominous personally however if you find its ending more peaceful then those are your feelings to experience and you are welcome to those feelings.

Amy’s first poetry collection was published in 2018. Image: Olympia Publishers

What do you hope readers take from the collection?
As an individual I often struggle to connect with my true, raw feelings. Sometimes my feelings are so intense that they frighten me a little. I hope the reader can identify within Toy Soldiers the need to connect with their own deepest self and the cathartic release that comes with that process and that pain.

What are your plans for the future?
I plan to write at least one further poetry collection after Toy Soldiers, which I would be honoured if Olympia Publishers would publish for me again, but this will be their decision when the time comes. I would like to try my hand at a novel in due course. My writing grows as I grow and I look forward to where it will take me.

The Suicide is out now and available to buy online through Waterstones, Foyles, Amazon and Olympia Publishers.Toy Soldiers will be published in time for Christmas 2020.

Main photo: Amy Tollyfield

Read more: Interview: Amy Tollyfield

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