• Just Kibbe with Kathabela Wilson.An interview with Just Kibbe, poet, artist, community organizer, teacher, experimentalist.

      By Kathabela Wilson

      A telescope on the artist

      How do you see the artist in the world, what can he/she give, and how do you see yourself doing that?

      Poets observe. Poets absorb. We live, and our living is no different from the life of flora and other fauna. A flower does not choose its color, its scent, or its size. Neither does a poet. All I aspire to is living comfortably with what I am, and to be what I am – poet, human, carbon life form. The diversity of poets is exciting. I’d like to see a Field Guide of Poets: size, habits, habitats, that sort of thing. It might help the others, the “non-poets” understand what it is we’re about.

      A microscope on the poet

      Just Kibbe in front of a painting by Susan DobayWhat are interior qualities of your poetic life, what makes you a poet?

      Turmoil. Simultaneous concern and apathy for the state of the world.
      Progress is movement in one direction; there is no guarantee it’s for the better. I care about communication: who, what, where, how, when, why. Poets are detectives with an obsession with language.
      Assuming alternative perspectives is a habit of mine. Perceiving the world from competing perspectives challenges my definition of a better world. I want a better world, but I’m lost. I do not know what that even looks like, but poetry is how I try to find it.

      Mapping the poet

      How is place, where you live especially, a force in
      your poetry? Importance? How does Pasadena color, and influence, your work?

      Mark my words. I am marking my territory. With each poem, I claim
      something as mine. Staking a claim is just the beginning. Will I fight
      for it? Will I ‘win’?
      Just Kibbe (kneeling) with Kathabela and Rick Wilson at Boston Court in the Figures of Humor and Strange Beauty production directed and hosted by Just.People are born of the land. The land determines occupation and avocation. What we do (what we must do to survive) determines who we are, and what our children will become. I’d like a map to accompany the Field Guide of Poets so a closer study can be made of poets in and out of their place.

      Multimedia/microphone and the Poet

      How do you like to do it?

      I’m a visual poet. I have map poems, flow-chart poems, diagram
      poems, 3D poems. My thoughts are within a space; my poems are an
      attempt to map them, to place them in some context to the world.
      Pasadena’s acceptance and promotion of diverse artistic traditions
      has allowed me to accept more of the artistic impulses that rise to my
      surface and request and audience.

      This Farrowed World
      by Just Kibbe

      As inculpable of love
      as of labor, time struck space
      fall pregnant into the abyss
      her gaping wombs of fire
      the lacerations of passion
      his penetrating kisses
      nine needle pink-toothed
      swine crawl from her vulva.
      Oriented without a stink
      to her milkyway, their maws
      latch on, wishing on stars
      shooting forth from her teats.
      One bite leads to another–
      the colostrum taints pink
      –eventually it is her turn.
      Hungry as she is
      the first four churn her belly
      like butter. The rooster crows
      a clot red rage, and the wolving
      action of her jaws consume
      three boars. The runt is done,
      in her youth. A shotgun orbits
      welcoming the big bang
      and gravity into her skull.
      From out of her mouth
      I speak with my grief intact
      “You cannot prevent in a lifetime
      what I began three months
      three weeks and three days ago.
      If in twenty-two days
      your land remains fallow
      language will descend upon you
      fertilize your life, sacrifice your first born
      and leave you babbling sweet
      nothings to the white-tailed deer.


      ! Learn more about Just Kibbe by going to his website.


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      1. Vision , search for answers should be the MIDLE name of Just Kibbe.

        His unique VISUAL POETRY expressed in different mediums are challenging for the mind , and gives a chance the soul too, to grow .

        • kathabela says:

          Beautiful comment Susan, and Just is another artist your magnetic eye — pulled into your gallery to be highlighted and strongly appreciated. Thank you for Scenic Drive Gallery. And yes, for appreciating the challenging and experimental in all the arts.

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