Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Randall Jarrell

Jarrell’s style came out of an early reaction against the Agrarians, who, he felt, had thrown the baby out with the bathwater in their rejection of romanticism. He was temperamentally opposed to the notion of poetry requiring professional explication. --D. H. Tracy, Choose A or B, Contemporary Poetry Review, review of Randall Jarrell and His Age, by Stephen Burt, and Randall Jarrell’s Letters: An Autobiographical and Literary Selection, edited by Mary Jarrell

'Death of a Ball Turret Gunner', the poem most familiar to readers of anthologies, is couched in considerable explanation. Given the compression of the poem itself (five lines long), Jarrell's commentary dwarfs it. ... Most readers would not have known, for instance, that the ball turret gunner on an American bomber was often positioned like a fetus in the womb or that at high altitude blood would instantly freeze to the fur-lined jacket. --Ernest Hilbert, Author essay, Bold Type, May, 2002


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