The Beasts of Bethlehem

“I have loved X.J. Kennedy’s cycle of poems, ‘The Beasts of Bethlehem,’ since I first heard him read some of them years ago. They are a new element in the rich traditions associating animals with the Christmas story. The presence of animals at the Nativity adds a special note of tenderness and reminds us of the unity of all Creation and of the sacredness of all Nature.” Carol Wood, the artist.

X.J. Kennedy, one of America’s finest poets, is also known for his children’s books, among them, The Beasts of Bethlehem. He has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and the University of the South. Kennedy and his wife Dorothy have collaborated on several books and jointly received an award from the National Council of Teachers of English for excellence in children’s poetry.

Carol Wood has spent much of her career bringing together the related worlds of poetry and the harp. She is a professor of Medieval Literature at McNeese University and has published, lectured, and performed widely on both the concert and the Celtic harp. Her previous recording, The Chaucer Songbook (Eroica Classical Recordings), is a collection of songs drawn from Chaucer’s works.

Carol Wood plays Celtic harp on all tracks except “The Carol of the Birds,” on which she plays pedal harp. All music composed or arranged by Carol Wood.

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