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(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 Player Piano

I ate pancakes one night in a Pancake House
Run by a lady my age. She was gay.
When I told her that I came from Pasadena
She laughed and said, "I lived in Pasadena
When Fatty Arbuckle drove the El Molino bus."

I felt that I had met someone from home.
No, not Pasadena, Fatty Arbuckle.
Who's that? Oh, something that we had in common

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