X. J. Kennedy (born 21 August 1929, Dover, New Jersey, USA as Joseph Charles Kennedy) is a poet, translator, anthologist, editor, and author of children's literature and textbooks on English literature and poetry. He was long known as Joe Kennedy; but, wishing to distinguish himself from Joseph P. Kennedy, he added an "X" as his first initial.
In his youth, under the name Joe Kennedy, he was an active member of science fiction fandom and published well-regarded fanzines, including Vampire (a quarterly, 1945–47) and the Vampire Annuals. He was a member of several amateur press associations, and co-founded the still-extant Spectator Amateur Press Association (SAPS). During this period he began writing science fiction for pulp magazines.
Kennedy attended Seton Hall (BSc, 1950) and Columbia University (MA, 1951). After serving for four years as an enlisted journalist with the U.S. Navy's Atlantic Fleet, he studied at the Sorbonne from 1955 to 56. Kennedy then spent the next six years pursuing a graduate degree in English at the University of Michigan but did not complete his Ph.D. There he met his future wife Dorothy Mintzlaff, who was a fellow graduate student.
Kennedy taught English at the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Tufts University (1963–78), with visiting professorships at Wellesley, UC-Irvine, and Leeds.