Randall Jarrell

(May 6, 1914 – October 14, 1965 / Nashville)

Biography of Randall Jarrell

Randall Jarrell poet

Poet, critic and teacher, Randall Jarrell was born in Nashville, Tennessee, to Anna (Campbell) and Owen Jarrell on May 6, 1914. Mr. Jarrell attended the Vanderbilt University and later taught at the University of Texas.

Mr. Jarrell also taught a year at Princeton and also at the University of Illinois; he did a two-year appointment as Poetry Consultant at the Library of Congress.

Randall Jarrell published many novels througout his lifetime and one of his most well known works was in 1960, "The Woman at the Washington Zoo".

Upon Mr. Jarrells passing, Peter Taylor (A well known fiction writer and friend of Mr. Jarrell) said, "To Randall's friends there was always the feeling that he was their teacher. To Randall's students there was always the feeling that he was their friend. And with good reason for both." Lowell said of Jarrell, "Now that he is gone, I see clearly that the spark of heaven really struck and irradiated the lines and being of my dear old friend—his noble, difficult and beautiful soul."

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The Black Swan

When the swans turned my sister into a swan
I would go to the lake, at night, from milking:
The sun would look out through the reeds like a swan,
A swan's red beak; and the beak would open
And inside there was darkness, the stars and the moon.

Out on the lake, a girl would laugh.
"Sister, here is your porridge, sister,"
I would call; and the reeds would whisper,

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