Jarrell, Randall


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Jarrell, Randall

(jərĕl`), 1914–65, American poet and critic, b. Nashville, Tenn., grad. Vanderbilt Univ. (B.A., 1935; M.A., 1938). His poetry, reflecting an unusually sensitive and tragic view of life, includes Blood for a Stranger (1942), The Seven-League Crutches (1951), and The Woman at the Washington Zoo (1960). His best-known poem, "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner," was a mediation on his experiences during World War II. In 1953 his critical essays were collected and published as Poetry and the Age. Jarrell's other works include several delightful children's books; Pictures from an Institution (1954), a satirical novel set in a progressive women's college; and A Sad Heart at the Supermarket (1962), a collection of essays and fables.

Bibliography

See his complete poems (1969); posthumous collections of his criticism and essays, The Third Book of Criticism (1969), Kipling, Auden & Co. (1980), and No Other Book (ed. by B. Leithauser, 1999); his letters (ed. by M. Jarrell, 1985); memoir by his wife, Mary Jarrell (1999); studies by R. Lowell et al., ed. (1967), C. Beck (1983), J. Bryant (1986), and S. Burt (2003); bibliography by S. Wright (1986).

Jarrell, Randall

(1914–65) poet, literary critic; born in Nashville, Tenn. He was a student of John Crowe Ransom and Robert Penn Warren at Vanderbilt University. His academic career was interrupted by his service with the Army Air Corps in World War II (1942–46). His war poems attracted national attention in the 1940s; The Woman at the Washington Zoo (1960) won a National Book Award. Poetry and the Age (1953), a reevaluation of modern American poets, established Jarrell as a critic with unfailing judgment and a witty style, while his one novel Pictures from an Institution (1954), is regarded as a minor classic of the academic-novel genre. Most of his career he taught at the University of North Carolina (1947–51; 1953–54; 1961–65). He was consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress (1956–58). His premature death resulted from his being hit by a car.