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X.J. Kennedy

shapeimage_3X. J. Kennedy (born 21 August 1929, Dover, New Jersey, USA as Joseph Charles Kennedy) is a poet, translator, anthologist, editor, and author of children’s literature and textbooks on English literature and poetry. He was long known as Joe Kennedy; but, wishing to distinguish himself from Joseph P. Kennedy, he added an “X” as his first initial.

Kennedy is most recognized for his light verse, and was the first recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Michael Braude Award for Light Verse. His first book, Nude Descending a Staircase, won the 1961 Lamont Poetry Prize of the Academy of American Poets, and his dozens of books have won awards including Guggenheim and National Arts Council fellowships, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry magazine, and a Los Angeles Times Book Award for poetry (in 1985 for Cross Ties: Selected Poems), the 1969/70 Shelley Memorial Award, the Golden Rose of the New England Poetry Club, honorary degrees from Lawrence and Adelphi Universities and Westfield State College. Kennedy received the National Council of Teachers of English Year 2000 Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry. He received the 2004 Poets’ Prize for his work, The Lords of Misrule: Poems 1992-2002. Kennedy accepted the Poetry Society of America’s Robert Frost Medal for lifetime service to poetry in 2009.

I get a kick out of this poem for the simple reason I having a sneaking suspicion it’s probably true. 😉 What do you think? Will it seem like it went that fast???

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The Purpose of Time is to Prevent Everything from Happening at Once

Suppose your life a folded telescope
Durationless, collapsed in just a flash
As from your mother’s womb you, bawling, drop
Into a nursing home. Suppose you crash
Your car, your marriage—toddler laying waste
A field of daisies, schoolkid, zit-faced teen
With lover zipping up your pants in haste
Hearing your parents’ tread downstairs—all one.

Einstein was right. That would be too intense.
You need a chance to preen, to give a dull
Recital before an indifferent audience
Equally slow in jeering you and clapping.
Time takes its time unraveling. But, still,
You’ll wonder when your life ends: Huh? What happened?

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Picture Credit: writers4kids.blogspot.com

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