Introducing X J Kennedy
At the 12th Books for Young Readers Symposium at the Provo Public Library, 2008
It’s a very great pleasure for me to make this introduction,
And particularly when I point to poetic production
Which our visiting couple, XJ and his wife, Dorothy,
Have unloosed on the youth of the world, by anthology.
They have edited words, they have captured the finest of images,
They have Knocked at a Star, they have Talked Like the Rain in scrimmages
Of poetic compassion and humor with each of the muses;
And today this XJ is in Provo to teach and amuse us.
So the name "Joseph Kennedy" may sound familiar, you say?
That’s the very-most reason our guest has initials – X.J. –
To distinguish himself from the other and any known Kennedys.
His initials are one of those long-held and cherished amenities.
Born in Dover, New Jersey, he published the poems he had made
Just as soon as he could, which in his case would mean: the third grade.
So from that day to this, ultra-witty, clever and terse,
He has cranked out some dozens of humorous books full of verse.
It’s in Lexington, Mass. that the Kennedys now make their home
Near some grandkids, whose parents are Kennedy children now grown.
In 2000, the Teachers of English awarded XJ
For his excellent poems, for the way his words touch us at play.
Seton Hall, Michigan, the Sorbonne gave him scholarly chats,
But he first won our hearts when he twisted our minds with his Brats.
Other honors, degrees, recognitions are here duly noted,
But they all take back seats to the Gravy he told us Exploded.
XJ seems most adult-like with serious depth, it is true,
And he even was editor once of the Paris Review;
But we know underneath is a frolicking mind all the while,
And we all really do love him best when he acts… juvenile!
-- Mr. X. J. Kennedy.
(by Richard Hacken)