Learning to read at age 4 while sick with polio, Adele Kenny had an early taste of coping with adversity and a running start to a life as a reader, writer and teacher. From teaching English in public school to advising police recruits on how to write a good incident report, her devotion to language and writing informed her career. After retiring from full time work, her next life as a prolific poet took off in a big way. Her poetry has won accolades from inside and outside the poetry world. Her work is published in dozens of books. She is the co-curator of a program of live poetry readings in the town of Fanwood, NJ, where she lives. And she recently published her 1,000th work in the poetry magazine Exit 13.
Adele had an early lesson on following her muse, despite the hurtful words of someone who should have known better.
“In 10th grade, I had a teacher who told me I should not write poetry anymore, “she recalls. “We had to write poems for one assignment or another and apparently he didn’t care for what I wrote. He called me up to his desk and said Adele, listen, I just want to give you a little heads-up here, you really shouldn’t try to write poetry anymore. You really don’t have a talent for it. But many years later, I was doing a workshop series for the state and I was sent to his school and he was principal. And I just left a copy of one of my books on his desk. I didn’t say anything.”
Adele believes poetry found her. It has become a part of who she is and a way of coping with life’s setbacks. Hear our conversation in the episode below of the podcast Type. Tune. Tint.