I went to John Muir Elementary School in Fresno, California from Kindergarten through third grade. For fourth through sixth grades I attended Kirk Elementary School, also in Fresno. In 1973 my family moved to San Diego, California, where I attended Pacific Beach Junior High School, followed by Mission Bay High School and La Jolla High School. I took classes at San Diego Community Colleges before attending National University, where I majored in Computer Science.
My poems have not won any awards that I know of, but I won the most prestigious award in children’s poetry, the Children’s Poet Laureate award (now called the Young People’s Poet Laureate), in 2013. This award is given every two years by the Poetry Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting poetry in American life.
I’m sorry, but I can’t write poems on request. My schedule is always very full, and sometimes it is difficult just finding the time to write new poems to post on the website. I recommend you read the Poetry Lessons section of the website, and then you will be able to write poems about anything you want.
Yes. Before I became a poet I was a computer software developer. At the time that I wrote my first funny kid’s poem, I was working for Microsoft. I worked there for two years, from 1992-1994. After that I was self-employed, creating Internet software and other programs. Now I am a full-time poet.
My first children’s poem — Scrawny Tawny Skinner — was written in 1994 after having dinner with a friend whose 4-year-old daughter did everything she could to get out of eating her dinner. That evening, after hearing a recording of Shel Silverstein reading his poem “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout,” I decided to try my hand at writing a poem like that. Later I was influenced to keep writing when I read Jack Prelutsky’s book Something Big Has Been Here. I was so impressed by his poetry that I decided to try to become equally skilled and writing funny poems. I have also been influenced by the works of Ogden Nash, Dennis Lee, Bruce Lansky, and many other humorous poets who write for children.
I’m afraid not. It’s pretty hard to get rich writing poetry. I’m more of a “starving artist.” I’m not actually starving, but I have to work pretty hard at this to support myself and my family.
You can find biographical information about me on my Biography page. You can also find links to several interviews with Kenn Nesbitt in the links section. If you have any questions that are not answered there, please feel free to send me an email and I will be happy to answer whatever other questions you might have.
I visit schools online all over the world, and I would love to visit your school, but in order to do so I must be invited by someone who works at the school, such as a teacher, librarian or principal. If you would like your school to invite me to visit online, please let your teacher, librarian or principal know about my website, and encourage them to visit the School Visits page for information about my programs.