American poet and author Robert Penn Warren called poetry,
“a hazardous attempt at self-understanding” and “the deepest
part of autobiography”. Frost called it, “an effort to find
fulfillment”, while Yeats, suggested that poetry is made, “out
of the quarrel with ourselves”. I believe that all of these
descriptions apply most profoundly to Lystari Moon
efforts with the pen (or, in her case, the keyboard).
Lystari’s life has not always been easy. . .
Her childhood was often difficult and this continues to affect her state of mind today.
More recently, in July 2008, we were involved in a car accident, the injuries from which
still dictate what she can and can’t do on a daily basis.
I have watched her struggle with these issues, and others, for many years.
Lystari began reading and composing poetry after she returned to
adult education a couple of years ago, and she continues to
enjoy it every day on this site. As in the observations from
Warren, Frost and Yeats above, Lystari’s poetry is her attempt
to better capture, understand, process and express the events
and thoughts in her own life. Her poems often use literal
descriptions of situations and feelings – her own experiences
– but also employ imagery, usually concerning ideas of escape
and freedom. Her poems are consistently written from her own
viewpoint, and generally focus on the biggest influences in
her life: her family, her friends, her injuries and the good
memories from her childhood. See: My Mango Tree.
In Lystari’s case, it’s probably true that this kind of creativity
is as much done for therapeutic reasons as it is for the
pleasure of self-expression; though perhaps it is true for any
poet, no matter what their background, to say that the analysis
and expression of each poetic concept brings about greater
self-awareness and realisation.
I hope you enjoy reading Lystari’s poetry as much as I have enjoyed
seeing her grow with its creation.
RZ Do you care whether or not your words mean something to anyone, or is the writing a self serving exercise?
LM I write my poetry to soothe my own soul, but I also hope that it may bring comfort to others who may understand the import of the poem.
RZ Do you sit and think through every word of every stanza or do you just write freely and allowing the words to flow?
LM Both: I first write freely, focusing on the memory of my experience, keeping in mind that I want to use rhyme. Then I will go back over the poem, looking at the words and tidying them up.
RZ When did you first start writing and were there any incidents in your life that made you want to write?
LM I started writing in 2009 when I did High School English Communications as an Adult Student. I had gone back to school as a result of a disabling car accident that I had in 2008. It was here I discovered poetry and what an incredible healer it could be!
RZ Who is your favorite writer and for what reason are they your favorite writer?
LM Oh, so many. I would have to say Enid Blyton was such a prolific writer with an ability to write with such imagination and enthusiasm for all ages. Enid’s work continues to bring joy to every new generation. I also love Agatha Christie, her characters and plots are so complex and interesting. I also enjoy Fantasy writers such as George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan. I was also quite taken with Daniel Keys who wrote “Flowers for Algernon.” Oh, and I also enjoyed the mind of Douglas Adams. I really could go on…
RZ Was there a particular poem that sparked your interest in poetry?
LM Yes, my own, Careening. It was the first poem I wrote. After this I began to read other poets; so far, I love William Wordsworth and Edgar Allan Poe. I also enjoy the poets of our very own forum with a special liking for Myst1c’s work.
RZ What is the difference between reading poetry on the page and hearing it read?
LM A good poem read out loud by someone with the talent of a bard is priceless.
RZ What do poets do for fun?
LM In my case I drink in the beauty of nature and enjoy my family. These things bring me to place spiritually where I have the strength to go, to those places normally locked away and once there I can tap the creativity for my poems.
RZ Do you remember your first poem?
LM Yes, it was Careening. I found that once I was able to go there it just all poured out. I wrote it in one night with three other poems, Innocence, Betrayal and Where. I was like a women possessed! I also remember crying all the way through.
RZ Do you have to write in special conditions – e.g. indoors, after a meal, mornings or afternoon? Do you have a routine?
LM Well I am still just a beginner and am finding my way. I obviously need some quite time, being a mother and a wife, so I intend to write very late at night when everyone is asleep. I have also found that I need to be feeling safe and calm; if I go to those places locked away feeling vulnerable I just end up becoming very upset and unable to write.
RZ Do you feel any of your poems have had a political effect?
LM No, I haven’t touched on politics as yet though I do have quite an opinion. If I had to name a topic it would likely be based on a sense of injustice.
RZ Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
LM For me writers block is when I am feeling vulnerable and stressed, which unfortunately can be quite often, but I am working on it. I am lucky that if I am feeling safe and the muse is with me, I can write quite prolifically in those moments. I am hoping as I grow and evolve as a poet that the blocks will become less of a problem.
RZ When did you first start writing, what made you feel the need to express yourself in this way?
LM I had an assignment in class which was to write a poem. At first I was quite frightened and wondered how I was going to manage it. I tried to think of what I knew about poetry. I remembered that it usually came in groups of four lines and that it rhymed. Then I had to think of what I would write a poem about, I decided on using memories of my own personal experiences rather than fabricating something new, which I felt would be more challenging. I chose to write about my car accident and very quickly found how good it felt to take those experiences out of my consciousness and transfer them to a document on my laptop. Transferring the experiences in this way, helped to take the sting and the hold they had over me less powerful.
RZ Did your schoolteachers or parents influence your writing? Did they encourage or discourage?
LM Well I would have to say my English Communications Teacher, Tom Glouftsis was a real inspiration to me, and of course my husband, Peter.
RZ What types of poems do you find yourself writing most? Do you have a recurring type?
LM At this point in my writing and probably for some time to come is about my personal experiences and in most cases they are unfortunately melancholy.
RZ What kind of work are you most drawn to reading yourself? Do you find you read work that is similar to your own, or completely different?
LM Mmm I would have to say I am drawn to work in which I see echoes of my own understanding and experiences.
RZ Have you ever been published? If so where, if not do you plan to submit your work at some point?
LM No, I have never been published and I think I would like to at some point. To be honest as I have said I am new at this and I don’t really know where or how I would go about doing that. Becoming a member of this forum has been my only step forward into the world of poetry.
RZ Name the 3 poems you are most proud of writing, the ones that you personally cannot forget?
LM Innocence, Careening, and My Happy Place.
RZ Do you find readers like different poems than your own favorites?
LM I have only shared them with my husband, my teacher and this forum. Perhaps my fellow poets here at the forum could share with me which ones they prefer?
RZ Thinks Seed is a poem many women can relate to.
RZ Poets tend to have favorite poets they visit often. Can you suggest someone readers might enjoy checking out?
LM I love Wordsworth and Edgar Allan Poe but I have not read or experienced nearly enough of the poets out there to be really giving an educated opinion.
RZ Many poets have different methods for their writing, some write on paper and then transmit to a blog, then others type their work out in word and transfer it. What is your preferred writing method..
LM In a word document most definitely otherwise my hand would start hurting *Smile*.
RZ Poets are from all over the world, where do you hail from?
LM I was born in Bundaberg, Queensland in Australia. I am currently living in Adelaide, in South Australia.
RZ They say to see the world with complete honesty one should look to comedians, artists and poets. What do you think emerges naturally from your work?
LM Interestingly, I believe it is, in fact, honesty. If I had to choose the life I’ve had it would indeed have been different but then I wouldn’t have anything to write about. I believe this is the same for most artists.
RZ Do you have one poem that you almost did not post due to it being so very personal? Did you post it after all? If so, please tell us about it.
LM Yes, Innocence. The last thing I want to do is to upset the people I love and even those I don’t. It certainly doesn’t portray the people who surrounded my childhood in a good light and the people who are in my life now don’t like to see me in pain and worry that writing about this is hurting me. But the reality is, as I have said once before, poetry is a salve for my soul.
RZ All poets have several words that come up over and over again, words or sentences that they just can’t help but use in their work. What are 3 of your absolute favorite words?
LM Soar, flight and wings.
RZ Do you have a special ritual that you go through when preparing to write?
CM Yes, put the children to bed, which can be quite difficult at times. Spend some quality time with my husband, then find a quite space and off I go.
RZ If you were given the opportunity to get published and do book signings anywhere you wanted, what cities or countries would definitely be on your book tour?
LM England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and some parts of America.
RZ What style of poetry do you prefer? ( Freestyle, Rhyming, Haiku)
LM I really do enjoy Rhyming.
RZ Poets are often said to be eccentric, please end this interview by creating 2 poetic sentences, strange or quietly profound . . . your choice.
Floating spinning sighing gliding
Rotating arching tumbling flying
Levitating up and then drifting down
Standing suspended as I glance around
This is my soul in harmony
This is my spirit safe and free
RZ What is your favourite poem and why?
LM At this point Ravens. I just love watching them in the mornings when they come to have breakfast and I suppose at this time it is probably my only happy poem.
In Conclusion . . .
RZ It’s been wonderful interviewing you, Lystari. A special ‘thank you’ to your talented husband, Peter, for graciously excepting my challenge to write about his beautiful wife!
As I read your work Lystari, I am once again reminded that writers are the spokespersons for the world. Their words not only enlight, but emphasize the thoughts, needs, and dreams of their generation.
Please continue to study your craft. You’ll never know the hearts and minds you can influence for the better . . .
Thank you for your time, and especially, your contributions to RZ!