B.L. Kennedy

Photo courtesy of Robert Grossklaus

Born in the Bronx, educated at Naropa Institute on scholarship (MFA) and at CSUS (BA and two MA’s), honored in the current Who’s Who in America, Bari Kennedy has an extensive list of credits, including numerous scholarships, grants, and awards.

For the past thirty years, Kennedy has served the community by spearheading many poetry readings, fundraisers, and major poetry events in Colorado, Oregon, and Northern California, including the now-famous “World’s Longest Outdoor Poetry Reading” (1986, 1996, 2006), and the annual “October in the Railroad Earth: An Annual Tribute to Jack Kerouac” (1980-2004), plus the establishment of a special collection of books and other collectibles from Sacramento writers, which is housed in the University of California at Davis Shields Library Special Collections Department. In 2005, he and Linda Thorell received a grant from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission to establish The Archives Group, which is dedicated to preserving the history of Sacramento’s poetry scene on videotape. Their film, I Began to Speak, was released in December of 2006.

Photo courtesy of Robert Grossklaus

Meanwhile, Kennedy’s poetry and art have been exhibited in locations such as the University of Colorado and have been collected into twenty-four books. His work has also appeared in many journals and anthologies, such as Bombay Gin, Freethought Poetry Magazine, Steelhead Review, Cleveland Poetry, Poetry Now, Landing Signals, and Nevada County Poetry Anthology (2004).

Bari is currently Reviewer-in-Residence for Rattlesnake Review (Rattlesnake Press), where his poetry and picture-poems have also appeared. He continues to host one night per month at Poetry Unplugged (Luna’s Café).

You can reach him at bk418@pacbell.net.

Rattlesnake Press is proud to have produced three of Kennedy’s books: Been Born Bronx (2005), which is a SnakeRings SpiralChap collection of his poetry and art; The Setich Manor Poems (2006), which is a poetry and art RattleChap chapbook of his musings about the historic Setich Manor apartment complex where he lives; and Luna’s House of Words (2008), a SpiralChap of B.L.’s art and poetry about Luna’s Café’s long-running poetry series, Poetry Unplugged, as well as his thoughts about the whole writing process in general. On this page are some samples from these books.


B.L. Kennedy Art

B.L. Kennedy Poems


In my apartment watching

Chiller TV
Monster on the Campus

The Promethazine w/Codeine
Cough Syrup

Mixes well w/ the beer and grass
In the film a dragonfly mutates

After sipping on prehistoric fish blood
And a good doctor becomes

Some badass monster after scratching
Himself on the long tooth of the same

Prehistoric fish
The phone rings

It’s my landlady’s son Paul
Stoned, alone and looking for an advance

On the rent
Not until you fix the drain (I tell him)

Damn, in the movie
Some cop kills the doctor/monster

He’ll never reach an altered state
With all those drugs


This poem is a prayer
Filled with sacred teachings

This poem rebel lyric
Of light

It wobbles language
It burst bubblebops

It composes with peddlewood pencils
It bleeds residue from leather girdles of Shiva

It shoots night full of orange flowers
Fills its mouth with tropical jewels

It sits with Buddha

It is necessary to travel with this poem
Because it is yet to be heard by strangers


At the end of the crossroads
Northeast of Poverty Ridge
Five city blocks from Oak Park
Setich Manor stands next

To the Busy Bee Daycare
Built in 1956 by Pete and Marie
Named with proper blessing

A building of character
Of future hopes and dreams
Now the home of dead souls

Poets, artists, musicians, shaman,
Ghost Hunters who hustle lame spirits
Crippled and forgotten voices all

Who wait to deal the devil?
Or someone like him beyond its gate
The naked pavement and cold world


Stoned at Setich Manor
Bud supplied by baby poet
Phillip T. Nails

I secretly plan to kill
God but instead
We watch TV

Some flesh eatin’ zombie
Thing with cool commercials
On the Sci-Fi Channel

Between zombie mauls we surf
The History Channel for U.F.O.’s
I tell Phillip about the new 418 Buzz
[Kolleen: leave a space here]
It’s hard to start because
Of this feeling that there is
Nothing to say

On TV zombies move like roaches
Across some kitchen floor and we are
U.F.O.’s stoned

With my secret plan to kill
God at Setich Manor
Changes cuz

Outside it’s 32 degrees cold
And TV interrupts for political reasons
The State of the Union or some such shit?

And it’s easy enough to believe
God is looking out for you
When you have a big bank account


















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