Today’s guest is Halli Lilburn, a Canadian poet, editor and fiction writer.
When did you discover poetry and who/what influenced you?
I started in high school when I was first diagnosed with depression. I used it as an outlet. My first great influences were Neil Gaiman, Shakespeare (thanks to the curriculum) and my grandmother.
Why do you write poetry?
For attention. Honest answer. I need to understand myself and I need others to understand me.
What do you think is the most difficult aspect in writing poetry?
I want to have a point and often it’s difficult to translate the feelings and misgivings of my heart into a formula that others can understand.
Do you explore particular themes? What are they and why?
I enjoy themes like steampunk, nature, resurrection and spiritual powers. My chapbook, The Ballad of the Sea Lion Woman takes myths and fairy tales and spins them into steampunk tales.
I need your eyes
Scoop them out for me
So bright and alive
They will show me much more than before
I need your legs
Just chop them off
So strong and steady
They will take me much farther than before
Give me your voice
I wrecked mine when I stopped caring
So, I will rewind time
And breathe deep again.
Your brain, I need your brain next
To fill in the holes and the shadows
Carved out by abuse and ignorance
You should hear the things I was told.
The racist, sexist, ablest common norms
That stained me.
I got to switch up that rubbish with hipster tolerance and representation
While you’re at it, give me your liver, your heart, your age, your diet, your height and your depth.
The depth you stabbed me with when you tried to kill me.
Tried to rid society of old monsters like me.
Me and my entitlement, fake news and fake tan
But I can’t die. I can’t even get sick
Drown me, crush me, incinerate me.
My broken bones will snap back in place
And I will reach out and steal your parts
Piece myself back together.
You never wanted the responsibility or ownership or accountability
I’ll leave what’s left of you propped up in a chair
Hooked up to machines
With the occasional lightning bolt to zap life into you.
Your eye sockets can stare out
The passive listener like you always wanted
‘Cause man, if you had legs you might have used them.
If you still had a voice you might have to speak out.
## from We Shall Be Monsters
What is it about dark (speculative) poetry that you think attracts people to read it?
People need to wake up to the world around them. The horror of indecency needs to be exposed so that we can abhor it and fight it.
What projects (publications) are you working on or have coming up?
I am working on a sky pirate adventure novel with my 17-year-old daughter. She creates the monsters and I write the fight scenes. We are excited to get it published.
Is there anything else you’d like to say about poetry or horror?
My spelling can be horrifying and I apologize for that, but I won’t let it stop me from writing. Not any more. I had teachers who cared about nothing else and that really stifled me but my skills lie in structure and imagery so stop telling me I’m stupid. Not helpful.
You can find Halli at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5301255.Halli_Lilburn I have works in Tesseracts 18 and 22, Carte Blanche, Vine Leaves and many others. I am an editor with essentialedits.ca and The Dame Was Trouble by Coffin Hop Press. She teaches creative writing, art journaling and steampunk workshops. She is also a Dungeon Master.