Seattle, Washington
39 at time of award
Area of Focus
Published July 1, 1987

About Richard's Work

Richard Kenney is a poet whose work is distinctive for its technique, intricate language, syntax, skillful use of rhyme, and for its concern with scientific metaphors and themes.

Using sophisticated word play and elaborate, stanzaic forms, Kenney probes the relationship between the passing of time and the mythical nature of self.  He is the author of three books of poetry.  The Evolution of the Flightless Bird (1984) contains a complex rhythm of sonnet cycles in which he introduces themes about learning to question, of recovery, and of curiosity.  Orrery (1985) radiates nostalgia for the unified physical and moral world by investigating the relationship between the scientific worldview and traditional humanistic thinking.  In The Invention of the Zero (1993), Kenney employs the form of four long narrative poems to link history, technology, and human perception.  His work has appeared in the New Yorker and the Atlantic Monthly, and in several poetry anthologies. 


Kenney is a professor in the English Department at the University of Washington, Seattle, teaching poetry and verse writing, and leads the University of Washington’s creative writing seminar in Rome, Italy. 

Kenney received a B.A. (1970) from Dartmouth College.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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