From Publishers Weekly
Accompanying Kennedy's forthcoming selected (serious) poems, this agreeably cantankerous, occasionally laugh-out-loud-funny volume gathers brief parodies, barbed rhymes, naughty couplets and other assorted not-so-serious verse, dating (despite the title) from 1956 to the present. Kennedy serves up, among other poems, 46 limericks, 19 clerihews, assorted off-color jokes, rewritten popular songs from the pre-rock era (Suburban lawns with moles,/ Things full of holes/ Remind me of you) and Mary Had a Little Lamb rewritten in the style of Sylvia Plath. Kennedy (The Lords of Misrule
) also offers ghastly brats (poems too grisly for, but otherwise suited to, his three collections of children's verse) and a portrait of Sigmund Freud as Santa Claus. The volume seems less substantial than most collections of light verse (perhaps because Kennedy's greatest wits have been relegated to a companion volume); some of the jokes about sex and drink sound dated. Yet this lighter side of Kennedy should please fans of John Updike's verse or of the line of mid-century upscale rhyming—from Cole Porter to the New Yorker
—to which most of these poems belong. (Sept.)
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About the Author
X.J. Kennedy has published eight previous collections of poetry; nineteen children's books, including Brats and Exploding Gravy; and one novel, The Owlstone Crown. His textbooks have been taught to more than four million students. He was the first recipient of the Michael Braude award for light verse by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.