Randall Jarrell (1914-1965)

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Randall Jarrell (1914-1965) wrote five books of poetry, several children’s books, a novel, and poetry criticism, as well as several translations. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, he taught music there and then English at Kenyon College, then at the University of Texas at Austin. He went on to serve in the United States Army Air Corps, and much of his poetry was influenced by his experiences in the army. Jarrell taught at several other universities before serving as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress for two years, then returning to teaching. In 1947-1948, he won a Guggenheim fellowship, and a grant from the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1951. His poetry book The Woman at the Washington Zoo won the National Book Award in 1961. He eventually became influenced by Wordsworth and decided that the most important aspect of poetry was that it reflect everyday life and conversation. A few of his other poetry books included Blood for a Stranger (1942), Little Friend, Little Friend (1945), and The Lost World (1965). Toward the end of his life, Jarrell battled depression, and his family was fairly certain that his death was a suicide. A historical marker was placed in Jarrell’s honor at his alma mater, Hume-Fogg High School.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randall_Jarrell#Writing Beltway Poetry Quarterly, "Randall Jarrell in Washington" by Peter Montgomery, Volume 10:4, Fall 2009: http://washingtonart.com/beltway/jarrell.html DC Writers' Homes: http://dcwriters.poetrymutual.org/pages/jarrell.html

Written by Monica Root December 2013


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