Possessing an intimate understanding of English language and rhetoric since childhood, X.J. Kennedy began writing when he was 21 years old while serving in the U.S. Navy for four years. Exclaiming that he would write during his spare time in the military, he quickly discovered his innate talent for and love of the craft. Armed with two educational degrees, he first served as an assistant professor of English at Tufts University, a role he held for a decade. From there, he was promoted to full professor, simultaneously writing and publishing his own poetry during his tenure.
Departing from the educational sphere in 1979, Mr. Kennedy decided to pursue writing on a full-time basis. Since that time, he has authored, edited and published over 100 books, both in fiction and in poetry. He finds that the most rewarding aspect of his work is the satisfaction of completing a project, reveling in the finished product and its subsequent impact upon both his own life and his readers’ lives.
As a testament to his success in education and writing, Mr. Kennedy was the first recipient of the Michael Braude Award for Light Verse from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Other prestigious accolades to his credit have included the Lamont Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poems, the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry Magazine, the Book Award for Poetry from the Los Angeles Times, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry from the National Council of Teachers of English, the Poets’ Prize for his book “The Lords of Misrule,” and the Robert Frost Medal for lifetime service to poetry from the Poetry Society of America, among many others.
Alongside his library of various awards and honors, Mr. Kennedy is also a Guggenheim Fellow, National Arts Council Fellow and grantee of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Now at the age of 90, he has accrued 69 years of experience in writing and continues to practice the craft. Looking toward the future, he intends to continue publishing his poetry.
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