Books: A Poet Who Was There

RANDALL JARRELL, 1914-1965 edited by Robert Lowell, Peter Taylor and Robert Penn Warren. 307 pages. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $6.50.

"The public," Randall Jarrell once wrote, "has an unusual relation with the poet. It does not even know that he is there." As if to refute this bitter complaint against an unpoetic age, two dozen of Jarrell's brother poets have joined in lament for his death and to explain the mysterious ways in which this minor poet had been of major importance to them.

In 1965, Jarrell at 51 was killed by a truck while walking on a highway near the University of...

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