11 Jul

Dr. Vandita Dharni in Conversation with the Poet, Fibby Bob Kinney A few moments spent with the Poet, the Pilot and the Pensive humanist, Fibby Bob Kinney have evoked a gamut of kaleidoscopic memories and musings that will always remain etched in my heart. I started by asking Fibby about his craft and what really transformed his life and make him a poet and he was ready with a deluge of responses that left me quite tongue-tied in admiration. So these are a few excerpts from our conversation.

1. What initially drew you to the art of poetry? Can you recall your earliest encounter with poetry?

I was in the Air Force as a crew chief on a fighter jet. We were the 53rd. ‘Flying Tigers’ stationed at Rammstein Germany. I read the book, ‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac …I said to myself…”I want to be a “Beatnik”…that was back in 1959. I became one of the pioneers of modern poetry in Greenwich Village in N.Y. C. in 1960. It was an exciting time in the birth of today’s poets. We learned from the masters of the past and brought our own thoughts and pleas to be known at the beginning of this new generation. 

2. How would you describe your unique writing style or voice?

My style of writing is best described as ‘First Person Narrative’. I see the subject in my mind and try to understand its deep needs and wants. Many times they coincide with my own. Then, I express in words that which is at the heart of the subject.

 3. What themes or subjects do you often explore in your poems?

I look for subjects that interest me in exploring them deeper. Nature, is very vast for me…I have written three books on flowers alone. They fascinate me as they are delicate and beautiful. The butterflies hover above them in a shimmering crown and the Sun casts its loving rays upon them. I have written over 500 poems on flowers. Several hundred to my hibiscus tree alone. When ‘she’ knows I am there with my phone in hand, she knows I am typing a poem to her. This may sound a little strange but her petals seem to be waving at me as I write the poem. I feel a closeness to all the subjects I write about. I know I touch some hidden part of them and it makes it real for me.

4. Could you share some of your creative influences?

I am influenced very much by music: The heart strings of a soft ballet. The crescendo of a classical orchestra. The hard driving beats of jazz. Also, the mellow rhythms of a great singing voice as it cries its melody to the heavens above.

5. Which poets, authors or artists have inspired your literary work?

I am inspired by those that have taken their craft to greatness. Those that have transcended the boundaries and found the meaning of the subject, the treasure as it were. Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet -these are the works that touch the soul. Homer’s Odyssey, a 5000 line poem written in prose. To hear Dave Brubeck hammer a jazz tune. Karen Carpenter, with a voice so perfect it makes my eyes tear every time I listen to a sweet melody from her. I could go on but the point is the poet must find his or her own heroes…not to duplicate them…but to be inspired by the greatest that they bring into being with their deeds. 

6. Do you have any particular rituals or routines when it comes to writing poetry?

If there is one thing to remember when one is a poet or artist…it is to act on the moment. Creative thought is a fleeting process. It must be acted upon when the idea is fresh…hot in the mind. If it is let go it can dissolve in a puff of smoke. I sometimes get up in the middle of the night just to jot down a passing phrase that I captured in a dream. Then the next day that one line, or simple image can grew into a poem.

7. How do you approach the blank page and find inspiration? One last thing. As a writer, I feel very lucky as most of my best ideals come directly to me. I never sit down and hope an inspiration will fall in my lap. Creativity can be a fickle lover. It will tease you and then when you are totally excited nothing happens. This is why one should never push to find the treasure. The treasure will come when you are ‘ready’ to find it. What I mean by that is the author or poet must build their knowledge and experience to reach the plateau where words and emotions bond together. Just as in this interview, I was an unknown quantity to many of the readers. But now, we share an experience together. I feel as if I know them as they know me. My words come from my mind and heart. I can visualize the readers and their quest for knowledge. This itself is a binding factor between writer and reader…it is what the poem’s dreams are made of.

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