Jarrell, Randall

Jarrell, Randall jərĕlˈ [key], 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.

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).

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