Robert D. Kirvel

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ORP: When did you first learn language had power? What was that experience like for you?

RDK: I had the same elementary school teacher for an experimental program combining second, third, and fourth grades in one classroom. I’ve written essays elsewhere describing Mrs. Hackney’s dedication to language and focus on precision. Each of her students were required to complete daily entries in a journal, but only the teacher was permitted an eraser, thereby allowing her to personally identify and correct every written mistake during individual sessions with each student. The experience awakened my interest in writing.

ORP: What are you doing to shape and inspire the next generation of artists?

RDK: I continue to write a series of nonfiction publications centered on the destructive emotional consequences of personal judgment, sexual discrimination, and political bias.

ORP: Who are your biggest influences?

RDK: Charles Darwin, Herman Melville, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Joyce Carol Oates, Vladimir Nabokov, John Gardner, John Barth, Jane Austin, Edith Wharton, Mark Twain, and Gustav Mahler.

ORP: What’s your favorite under-appreciated work of art?

RDK: Moby Dick. I think the novel is often read as a school assignment at an age far too young for readers to appreciate its brilliance.

ORP: Does having a work published alter the way you think about it? Does it alter the way you think about yourself?

RDK: Publication lends some credibility to a piece of writing in that at least a few other individuals, journal editors at the outset, identify and reinforce its value.

ORP: What are you currently working on?

RDK: I’m finishing a collection of 22 interrelated short stories entitled Predisposed.


Robert D. Kirvel, a Ph.D. in neuropsychology, is a Pushcart Prize (twice) and Best of the Net nominee for fiction. Awards include the Chautauqua 2017 Editor’s Prize, the 2016 Fulton Prize for the Short Story, and a 2015 ArtPrize for creative nonfiction. He has published in the UK, New Zealand, and Germany; in translation and anthologies; and in two dozen U.S. literary journals, such as Arts & Letters. A collection of 22 interrelated stories, Predisposed, is slated for publication in London during 2018. Most of his literary works are linked at Read his essay, “American Exceptionalism,” published in our current issue.