(Editor's Note: Lila Brissette reads her poetry at The Beat Coffeehouse and Records, 520 Fremont Street in Las Vegas, Saturday, June 4, at 7 p.m.)
From Desert Companion: Wednesday Poem: "In The Aftermath of the Battle of Southwest Clamor"
Lila Brissette tells us that she started writing poetry when she was in the sixth grade during what she calls “a period of self-discovery.”
Brissette is 18 years old now, still writing, and probably still discovering.
Recently, she was selected by the Clark County Poet Laureate, Bruce Isaacson, to receive the “Poetry Promise” award. It’s given to student poet for “exceptional promise and achievement.”
In this interview, she talks about her poetry, and reads her poem, "In The Aftermath of the Battle of Southwest Clamor."
What did writing help you figure out about yourself?
What it was helping me do is come into this realization that I don't have to be in a concrete social place and that I could be what I was in 6th grade, which was sort of everybody's man, drifter kind of friend.
What about poetry spoke to you at an early age?
I did find poetry through music. Because if you are using rock 'n' roll as said outlet of discovery of yourself, you're still finding it through rhythm and rhyme, which is poetry is at first. From there, you can go into this place of more abstract thinking, which is another thing that poetry is.
I suppose I found poetry as this perfect thing to describe this changing state of the 'Lila' with certain people and the 'Lila' at home and the 'Lila' in orchestra.
How would you compare the experience of playing the violin with creating poetry?
They're very parallel as all arts tend to be. With music, it's a little bit different because I'm playing pieces that someone else wrote to express themselves and through that I'm creating this place for me to express myself.
I feel like poetry is easier to do sometimes.
What inspired this poem?
This was written when I was realizing that the desert in Las Vegas has had a lot more influence in my life than I was willing to admit. As a youth in Las Vegas, I was very much a stereotypical Las Vegas teenager at some point in that I wanted to leave the city and I didn't like it here.
I go to school downtown. I did hike a lot and I'm very familiar with the life, the vibrancy of this place and how much it has drawn me to the concept of light and the concept of life in a place where life shouldn't be to some other people.
That's what this poem was trying to convey.
Why are the 'blues' the most important color?
There's this time. If you go to Red Rock, it's just after sunset but before night has actually fallen and you can still see the dusk line on the horizon and it's sort of low. There is this sort of cornflower blue color and I've never seen it anywhere else.
It's the desert color to me. I want to live in that color. It is the most beautiful color to me. Whenever I think of me in the desert I think of that time. I can see that special desert blue.
What would you describe as the bigger truth in the blue?
I'm not really sure. It's been a theme in my poetry. In any expression, there has to be a variable and for me that variable is this bigger truth. This bigger me that I'm still discovery my self and my world.
What kind clamor do you see around you as a child of the southwest?
I see a lot of locals, not native locals, but people who came here from New York and the East Cost, there is almost this detachment from Las Vegas. 'I live here, but I don't really live here.'
That is the sort of clamor that I'm talking about. Whenever I think of the desert, I think of the people who don't really want to be living there.
Lila Brissette, Poet
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