Randall Jarrell

Randall Jarrell served as Poet Laureate from 1956 to 1958. His poetry has been set to music by Lowell Liebermann, Ned Rorem, and several other American composers.

Photo: Randall Jarrell, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

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Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Randall Jarrell completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Vanderbilt University. He taught at several universities, including the University of Texas at Austin before enlisting in the Air Force in 1942. Some of his most famous poems are based on his experiences during World War II, and he became established as a poet in 1945.

In addition to serving as Poet Laureate, Jarrell received both a Guggenheim Fellowship and the National Book Award. He taught at Sarah Lawrence University and at the Woman’s College at the University of North Carolina. In addition to publishing several volumes of poetry, Jarrell was also well known and feared as a critic.

Jarrell was hit by a car and killed in 1965 at the age of 51. No one is certain whether his death was an accident or suicide, but his battle with depression at the end of his life lead many of his friends to believe it was a suicide.

–Christie Finn

Related Information



The New American Art Song

(Jake Heggie and Lowell Liebermann)


Songs of Lowell Liebermann

(Lowell Liebermann)


Sheet Music


Composer(s): Ned Rorem

Song(s): 1. The Drum
2. Tygers of Wrath
3. The Fury of the Aerial Bombardment
4. The Park
5. Sonnet LXIV
6. On his Seventy-Fifth Birthday
7. Grief
8. Remorse for Any Death
9. Losses
10. Then

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