• Mina Kirby and Kathabela WilsonAn interview with poet, artist and musician Mina Kirby.

      By Kathabela Wilson

      A telescope on the poet

      How do you see yourself as a poet in the world?

       I used to climb mountains and teach folk dancing. Since 2002, I’ve had a broken back (twice), several ruptured disks, seven back surgeries, two new knees, a damaged nerve leading to balance problems, and a major infection that almost killed me. A poet tries to see things in new ways that broaden the understanding, to speak to the soul, the inner being. This outlook surpasses the mundane facts of everyday life and gives one a new path into how to be.

      A compass to the poet, artist, musician and mathematician

      How do your many talents in poetry, art, music and mathematics combine to make a powerful potion?

      When I play the guitar and sing, notes add a dimension that cannot be experienced in any other way. Mina Kirby reciting her poetry at Poets on-Site.I speak through art and photography to send a wordless message, and often to illustrate my poems. Of course, as a writer and poet, I speak through words. I like to communicate the caring I feel for others. There is a beauty in mathematics, and a consistency that speaks to me. When I was teaching I sang songs I wrote for my students about mathematics, opening their minds to doing new and unexpected things.

      Mapping the Poet

      How does the place you live inspire and influence your work?

      I live in Altadena, above much of the smog, and among trees and flowers. Mina KirbyFrom my bedroom window I can see trees bending with the wind, crows teaching their babies to fly, and the mountains overseeing the land below. My yard has been host to possums and raccoons and even a cougar. Just down the hill the city of Pasadena provides me with groups of like-minded people to share my poetry and art, and, ultimately, my true self. I learn from all of them and they fill my being with a sense of being valuable in this world.

      A microscope of the Poet

      What is your inner life as a poet

      Details live in my brain and are available to draw on when I start to write something. I get an idea for a story or a poem, and spend several days working it through, thinking of different aspects. A sketch by Kathabela Wilson of Mina Kirby while reading at Village Poets, Bolton Hall Museum, Sunland-Tujunga.It becomes an obsession until I can get it organized and written down. When I am ready, even if it is in the middle of the night or just at the time I am planning to do something else, I have to sit down and write. Details in my surroundings, even news stories draw me in and I imagine the people’s lives, how they feel and what they are doing.

      What Counts
      by Mina Kirby

      She pretended at first
      that the roar was a railroad train
      sending its smoking soot
      high into the air

      She didn’t want to leave
      her lovely things
      that gave her so much joy
      in her home in the hills

      So she stayed
      as long as she could
      choking and playing make believe
      until she felt faint in the heat

      Recalling it later
      she couldn’t figure out
      what hero came in
      and carried her away

      After all saving nothing
      except her life
      which turned out to be
      the only important thing to keep


      View Mina’s blog for updates on her soon to be published new book, Threads of My Life.


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        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

        • Latest posts by Kathabela Wilson

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      1. louis gander says:

        Very nice poem. Well said.

      2. Mina Kirby says:

        Wow! Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments. Thanks especially, Kathabela, for arranging the interview.

      3. Stan Weisel says:

        Mina – a wonderful person – She and I worked together at East LA college for many years and had many laughs and fun times – I live in Ventura, CA so We haven’t seen each other for a long time. I’m so happy she has become a writer and will buy her first copy ASAP!

      4. Maja Trochimczyk says:

        Mina is getting together her poetry for her book with Moonrise Press. I’ve always admired her clear-eyed view of the human condition, the compassionate insights and wry humor. And the spirit of a survivor against all odds! Thanks Kathabela and Mina.

      5. Sharon Hawley says:

        Thank you Kathabela for drawing out Mina Kirby. I could not continue id I were laden with what she has overcome. May we hear and see more of her of her poetry and song.

      6. Michelle Angelini says:

        Thank you for a wonderful interview. I have known Mina for many year, yet discovered some new facts about my friend. I also loved the poem, since it pointed out what is so very important – the bottom line. I look forward to more interviews.

      7. Capt. Jim says:

        Determination overcomes all obstacles so proud of you Mina. Your classmate Capt. Jim

      8. Susan Dobay says:

        Hello Mina, Hello Kathabela,

        Thank you for brightening my Saturday morning with your full of spirit interview.
        YES, we are fortunate to have like minded people with the LOVE of the arts.

      9. Toti O'Brien says:

        I always loved that poem of yours, Mina.

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