Poet, novelist, critic, and teacher, Randall Jarrell was a diverse literary talent with a distinctive voice, by turns imaginative, realistic, sensitive, and ironic. His poetry, whether dealing with art, war, memories of childhood, or the loneliness of everyday life, is powerful and moving. A poet of colloquial language, ample generosity, and intimacy, Jarrell wrote beautifully "of the American landscape," as James Atlas noted in American Poetry Review, "[with] a broad humanism that enabled him to give voice to those had been given none of their own."
The Complete Poems is the definitive volume of Randall Jarrell's verse, including Selected Poems (1955), with notes by the author; The Woman at the Washington Zoo (1960), which won the National Book Award for Poetry; and The Lost World (1965), "his last and best book," according to Robert Lowell. This volume also brings together several of Jarrell's uncollected or posthumously published poems as well as his Rilke translations.