This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for May 6, 2017: Red Never Lasts

May 6, 2017: birthday: Randall Jarrell

It’s the birthday of poet and critic Randall Jarrell (books by this author), born in Nashville, Tennessee (1914). He wrote many collections of poetry in his lifetime, but he was also considered one of the greatest literary critics of his generation. In his critical essays, collected and published as Poetry and the Age (1953), he revitalized the reputations of Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, and William Carlos Williams. He was also one of the first critics to notice the work of Elizabeth Bishop. In a review of her first book of poems, Jarrell wrote, “[Bishop understands that] morality, for the individual, is usually a small, personal, statistical, but heartbreaking or heartwarming affair of omissions and commissions, the greatest of which will seem infinitesimal, ludicrously beneath notice, to those who govern, rationalize, and deplore.”

Randall Jarrell said: “It is better to entertain an idea than to take it home to live with you for the rest of your life.”