Randall Jarrell
Randall Jarrell was an American poet, literary critic, children's author, essayist, and novelist. He was the 11th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress
Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress
The Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress—commonly referred to as the United States Poet Laureate—serves as the nation's official poet. During his or her term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of...

, a role which now holds the title of US Poet Laureate.
Jarrell was a native of Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

. He attended Hume-Fogg High School
Hume-Fogg High School
Hume-Fogg Academic High School is a public magnet high school located in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, teaching grades 9-12.-History:Hume-Fogg's original incarnation, Hume High School, which opened in 1855 on Eighth Avenue and Broad, was the first public school in Nashville.In 1875 Fogg High...

 where he "practiced tennis, starred in some school plays, and began his career as a critic with satirical essays in a school magazine." He received his B.A. from Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University is a private research university located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Founded in 1873, the university is named for shipping and rail magnate "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided Vanderbilt its initial $1 million endowment despite having never been to the...

 in 1935.

A good poet is someone who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times; a dozen or two dozen times and he is great.

"Reflections on Wallace Stevens," Partisan Review, vol. 18, (May/June 1951); published in Poetry and the Age (Knopf, 1953)

If we meet an honest and intelligent politician, a dozen, a hundred, we say that they aren't like politicians at all, and our category of politician stays unchanged; we know what politicians are like.

"The Intellectual in America" (1955), from A Sad Heart at the Supermarket (1962)

The climate of our culture is changing. Under these new rains, new suns, small things grow great, and what was great grows small; whole species disappear and are replaced.

"A Sad Heart at the Supermarket," Daedalus, vol. 89, no. 2 (Spring 1960); published in A Sad Heart at the Supermarket (1962)

One of the most obvious facts about grown-ups to a child is that they have forgotten what it is like to be a child.

"An Unread Book," introduction to The Man Who Loved Children|The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead|Christina Stead (Holt, Rinehart, 1965 edition)

I see at last that all the knowledgeI wrung from the darkness — that the darkness flung me —Is worthless as ignorance: nothing comes from nothing,The darkness from the darkness. Pain comes from the darknessAnd we call it wisdom. It is pain.

"90 North," lines 28-32

The nurse is the nightTo wake to, to die in: and the day I live,The world and its life are her dreams.

"Variations," lines 31-33