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Poetry from M.I.T.; X. J. Kennedy

Part of From the Vault. Part of Nine Poets Walk Into An Institute of Technology.


In this recording, one of several poetry readings and talks from M.I.T. that aired on WGBH in 1963, X. J. Kennedy reads and sings a range of poems by himself and others, speaking at intervals about his poetic process and various other subjects. After a brief introduction, Kennedy begins by reading three poems by other poets: "Mushrooms" by Sylvia Plath, "Story from a Russian Author" by Peter Redgrove, and "My Indian Girl" by Ali S. Hilmi, the last of which was selected as the worst poem he could find, on the logic that "if you can figure out why bad poems are bad, youÂ’re a long way toward figuring out why good poems are good." Over the balance of the reading, Kennedy performs original poems including "First Confession," a selection from the sequence "A Christmas Bestiary" titled "Sheep," a selection from the sequence "Inscriptions After Fact" titled "The Sirens," "Little Elegy for a Child Who Skipped Rope," "Epitaph for a Postal Clerk," "Ars Poetica," "Nude Descending a Staircase," and "Solitary Confinement." Themes include Kennedy's Catholic boyhood, ekphrasis, and the handling of rhyme in poetry. With an emphasis on "light poems that are very serious indeed" and an interest in returning poetry back to its roots in song, Kennedy also sings an original poem titled "In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus One Day" and reads and sings a long original poem titled "The Man and the Manmade Moon." Summary and select metadata for this record was submitted by Jim Cocola.

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Poetry from M.I.T.
X. J. Kennedy
Series Description

Radio series. Series release date: 1963



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Artistic Influences
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Kennedy, X. J.
Art and Science
Poetry readings (Sound recordings)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Performance for a Live Audience
Event Coverage
Kennedy, X. J. (Speaker)
Publication Information
Posted with permission provided by X.J .Kennedy
Chicago: “Poetry from M.I.T.; X. J. Kennedy,” 12/13/1962, GBH Archives, accessed June 18, 2024,
MLA: “Poetry from M.I.T.; X. J. Kennedy.” 12/13/1962. GBH Archives. Web. June 18, 2024. <>.
APA: Poetry from M.I.T.; X. J. Kennedy. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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