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Randall Jarrell
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    (May 6, 1914-October 14, 1965)
    Born in Nashville, Tennessee
    Poet and critic
    Poetry collections include ‘Blood for a Stranger’ (1942), ‘Little Friend, Little Friend’ (1945), ‘Losses’ (1948), ‘The Woman at the Washington Zoo: Poems and Translations’ (1960), and ‘The Lost World’ (1965)
    Critical essays collected in ‘Poetry and the Age’ (1953), ‘A Sad Heart at the Supermarket’ (1962), and ‘The Third Book of Criticism’ (1969)
    Wrote the novel ‘Pictures from an Institution’ (1954)
    Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (1956-58)
    Died after being struck by a car while walking along a highway
    Stephen Spender wrote that he showed ‘a cruel streak’ when criticizing poets he did not like.
    He suffered severe depression when he approached his fiftieth birthday.
    He slashed his wrist after the New York Times printed a harsh review of ‘The Lost World.’
    Although his death was officially ruled an accident, there were widespread suspicions that he had taken his own life. (For instance, a week after Jarrell’s death, Robert Lowell wrote to Elizabeth Bishop, ‘I think it was suicide, and so does everyone else who knew him well.’)
    At Vanderbilt, he edited the student humor magazine, captained the tennis team, and graduated magna cum laude.
    He joined the Army Air Corps as a control tower operator during World War II.
    His frequently anthologized ‘Death of the Ball Turret Gunner’ has been called ‘the ultimate poem of war.’
    He wrote two children’s books that were illustrated by Maurice Sendak, ‘The Bat-Poet’ (1965) and ‘The Animal Family’ (1965)
    He wrote, ‘One of the most obvious facts about grown-ups, to a child, is that they have forgotten what it is like to be a child.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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