Happy Birthday, Randall Jarrell
Happy Birthday to poet and critic Randall Jarrell, born in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 6, 1914, where he attended Vanderbilt University. Randall Jarrell was struck by a car and killed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at the age of 51 on October 14, 1965, in a death that may or may not have been a suicide.
I have many thoughts on Jarrell and his imitators (Logan, Kirsch, Chiasson, et al.,) and could go on at length. Let me spare you that. I have an early meeting this morning, and after all, it is the man's birthday.
Here is Jarrell's most well-known poem:
THE DEATH OF THE BALL TURRET GUNNER
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.