Poet X. J. (Joseph Charles) Kennedy was born in Dover, New Jersey on August 21, 1929. After studying at Seton Hall, Columbia University, and the University of Michigan, Kennedy served four years in the U.S. Navy's Atlantic Fleet as a journalist, and then attended the Sorbonne in Paris for one year in 1955. In the early 1970s, Kennedy published Counter/Measures; a magazine devoted to the use of traditional form in poetry.
Kennedy's first collection of poetry, Nude Descending a Staircase (Doubleday, 1961), won the Lamont Poetry Selection. His awards include a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the Bess Hokin Prize for Poetry magazine, and a Los Angeles Times Book prize. Kennedy has taught at the Universities of Michigan, North Carolina (Greensboro), and California (Irvine), as well as Wellesley, Tufts, and Leeds.
He is a former poetry editor of The Paris Review. In addition to his collections
Kennedy lives in Bedford, Massachusetts, with his wife and their five children.