was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 16, 1914. His family
soon moved to California, his parents were divorced, and he
spent a year or so in Hollywood with grandparents and a
great-grandmother. He then returned to Nashville, where he spent
a somewhat drab Depression childhood. His refuge was books and
the local library.
at Vanderbilt University, moving from psychology to English. In
1937-39 he taught at Kenyon College, and his friends there ---
John Crowe Ransom, Robert Lowell, and the novelist Peter Taylor
--- have all written of his gaiety, learning, and bright
assurance. In 1942 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He washed
out as a pilot, then served as a control tower operator working
with B-29 crews.
After the war in
1946 Jarrell taught at Sarah Lawrence and served as acting
literary editor of The Nation; from 1947 until his death
he taught at the Women's College of the University of North
Carolina at Greensboro, and occasionally visited other colleges
and universities. in 1965 he was struck by a car and died.
Richard and Robert O'Clair. Modern Poems: An Introduction
New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1973, p. 324.