Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Talking with Lia Parisyan

Lia Parisyan wears many artistic hats as a Google search will confirm. She is lovely and highly talented. Today, we talk to her about her poetry.

S.R. You seem to be various in your approach to writing and other arts. What is it that draws you to poetry in particular?

L.P. I have always been drawn to sound and imagery. I like painting a picture for readers and listeners. Poetry has been an outlet for me to express my joy, grief, doubts- it’s very therapeutic, and it appeals to me because the page is more a witness than a judge.

S.R. How would you describe your writing style and what influences you?

 L.P. Eclectic. I consider myself a Symbolist. I am influenced by color, the spirit world, and my day-to-day surroundings.
S.R. Do you recall the first poem you read? Please, share the experience.
L.P. The first poem I ever read was in Armenian. It was set to music, and it was about a famous battle. The imagery was so vivid, and made a lasting impression on me because I felt like I was in midst of it.
S.R. In your blog, you hint at being well-traveled. Where are all the places you've travelled to?

L.P. I have lived in Santa Catarina, Brazil, and Yerevan, Armenia. I have travelled to Mexico, Turkey, Turks & Caicos, most of the United States’ East coast, Canada, NKR, and Holland. I hope to travel more. My next destination will be Thailand.

S.R. How have these impacted your writing?
L.P. Brazil and Armenia had a profound impact on my writing as I was introduced to new words, ideologies, colors, and traditions. The sea, the moon, jewels, and remnants of the Old World often appear in my poems and prose.
S.R. Armenia seems to have a special something for you due to being part of your ancestry. What is your relationship to it and how did visiting there help you to grow as a poet?
L.P. I have always wanted to experience Armenia. I am part Armenian, part Syrian, and part mélange. My family on my mother’s side is from Syria, and are part Armenian and part Arab, and my father’s side is from Turkey. I am a child of the diaspora, and the culture I experienced was a mix of French colonialism, Arab Modernism fused with American suburbianism. It was difficult growing up because there was never a sense of belonging; I had a fragmented identity, and going to Armenia helped me realize how unique the culture is in Yerevan and other cities, and how the “Armenian” culture I experienced was so different from what I experienced abroad. It helped me reassess my values, helped me explore new themes, and helped me realize that I didn’t have to belong, and could create my own space and identity. Many of these ideas are making their way into my newer poems, and it’s an infant theme that I would like to develop further.
S.R. What projects are you working toward?

L.P. I am working on an Art Collaborative in the Bronx, and I hope to link writers, artists, poets, photographers, etc.,  to have them explore themes together, create new discourses, and give them the opportunity to have physical spaces for expression and exhibitions. 

S.R. Who would you like to work with in the future and why?
L.P. Honestly... Eminem. He was the person who made me think about words and really want to write. I watched an interview with Eminem and Anderson Cooper a while back, and saw that he too had a box of scribbles, and writes on everything from matchbooks to receipts to hotel stationary. It was nice to know there was another compulsive writer out there. I also have a love of euphony, and he’s a genius when it comes to playing with sounds and extended metaphors.
S.R. Where do you see yourself in 10 years poetically?
L.P. I would like to publish a book of photographs and poems. I see myself traveling, and creating Photo-Poem/Prose books that aim to capture an image and the essence of a moment.
S.R. What advice would you give to an aspiring poet?
L.P. Write every day. Don’t judge yourself too harshly. Sit and observe a place and person, write down your observations. Look at recurring themes and images, see how you can develop those further.
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