Monday, April 17, 2006

X.J. Kennedy

Elizabeth Lund talks to poet, scholar, and editor, X.J. Kennedy, for the Christian Science Monitor.

X.J. Kennedy is the editor (with his wife, Dorothy Kennedy) of my favorite anthology of verse for the youngsters, Talking Like the Rain. And, he has some very perceptive ideas about reading and writing verse. For example, he says, "I like poems where you don't really know whether to laugh or cry when you read them...I like what Auden said once, that poetry is the clear expression of mixed feelings."

I especially appreciate what Kennedy says about reading poetry with the youngsters:

  • "The attitude that poetry should not be analyzed is prevalent among many who consider themselves experts on children's literature. But I suspected that kids like to look closely at things and figure out what makes them go. Without talking a poem to death, why couldn't you look closely and see what some of its elements are, what's going on in the language? Do you have metaphors, colorful figures of speech, musical sound effects?"

I agree wholeheartedly. Kids like to talk about language, about words, about rhyme.