Other literary forms
Although X. J. Kennedy is best known for his poetry, he has also written reviews, several highly successful textbooks, and two novels for children, The Owlstone Crown (1983) and its sequel, The Eagle as Wide as the World (1997). Kennedy established himself as a witty and discriminating judge of contemporary poetry through a series of book reviews published in Poetry magazine from 1961 through 1966. The lively and lucid style developed in these essays played an important part in the success of his various textbooks and anthologies, which include Mark Twain’s Frontier (1963, edited with James Camp), An Introduction to Poetry (1966, 13th ed. 2010, edited with Dana Gioia), Pegasus Descending: A Book of the Best Bad Verse (1971, edited with James Camp and Keith Waldrop), Messages: A Thematic Anthology of Poetry (1973), An Introduction to Fiction (1976, 11th ed. 2010, edited with Gioia), Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1976, 11th ed. 2010, edited with Gioia), Tygers of Wrath: Poems of Hate, Anger, and Invective (1981), and The Bedford Reader (1982, 10th ed. 2009, with Dorothy M. Kennedy and Jane E. Aaron). Much of his output in the 1990’s was children’s poetry: Fresh Brats (1990), The Kite That Braved Old Orchard Beach: Year-round Poems for Young People (1991), The Beasts of Bethlehem (1992), Drat These Brats! (1993), Uncle Switch: Looney Limericks (1997), and Elympics (1999).