The Man Who Loved Poetry

Poetry did not die with him, but it
might not have lived without him.
Bud Kenny loved poetry almost as
much as poetry loved him.

Absent Bud’s unapologetic shoulders
upon which to sit and proclaim its
fierce entanglement with the head
and the heart, poetry might not have
become the emotional anchor for a
thousand men and women who needed
an outlet to express despair and passion,
rage and affection, sorrow and sympathy.

But he taught all who crossed his path that
poetry, as both a shield and a sword, demands
justice and metes out healing love with
phrases that capture all of life’s complexity.
Bud transformed poetry’s reputation from the
weak baby brother who hid behind the superior
power of prose to the ferocious big sister
who extracted every ounce of raw emotion
from each beautifully sculpted syllable.

He taught Hot Springs to love poetry
the way a parent loves a child; as a
gentle coach, always urging offspring
to become their best and most beautiful selves.
In Bud’s eyes, we were his lyrical children.
And Bud Kenny loved poetry almost as
much as poetry, his lyrical children, loved him.


It was perhaps fitting that Bud Kenny died on a Wednesday, October 2, 2019. He was a creator and promoter of Wednesday Night Poetry for many, many years (the first one being February 1, 1989). It has not, to this day, missed a single week, thanks in large part to Bud Kenny’s fierce dedication. I already miss Bud.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to The Man Who Loved Poetry

  1. Thanks, Bev. Kai’s video was moving, indeed. Bud really was a special guy.

  2. beverley wigney says:

    A wonderful poem in tribute to Bud Kenny. I watched Kai Coggin’s video. Very moving. Obviously you have lost a very special friend, mentor and inspiration in the literary and social community. <3

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