Randall Jarrell

1914-1965

'Poet

Teacher

Beloved Husband'

 

Randall Jarrell is buried in New Garden Friends Cemetery, Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina, USA.
 

Grave of Randall Jarrell
Photograph by Legerdemaine

During World War II Jarrell served in the army air corps and as a control tower operator. During this time he wrote many poems about war - most of which appeared in his collections Little Friend, Little Friend (1945) and Losses (1948).

After World War II he taught at Sarah Lawrence College which provided him with the inspiration for his satirical novel Pictures from an Institution (1954) which was a forerunner of the campus novel.

Randall Jarrell

Jarrell was one of the leading poetry critics of his generation and helped to establish the reputation of fellow poets such as Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop and William Carlos Williams.

From 1956-58 he served as the poetry consultant at the library of Congress. 

Towards the end of his life he suffered from mental illness and attempted suicide by slashing his wrists. By 1965 he had recovered sufficiently to return to teaching - however while out walking one night he was struck by a car and killed. It is not known for certain whether his death was accidental or another suicide attempt. He was 50 years old.

His final collection The Lost World was published posthumously in 1966.

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

 

 


 

 

 
 
 
 

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