Randall Jarrell was born in Nashville, Tennessee on May 6, 1914. He earned a bachelor's and master's degrees from Vanderbilt University. His first book of poetry, Blood from a Stranger, was published in 1942. During World War II, he served with the Army Air Force as a control tower operator. His other books of poetry include Little Friend, Little Friend; Losses; and The Lost World. He won the National Book Award in 1961 for The Woman at the Washington Zoo. In addition to writing poetry, he reviewed it during a brief period spent as poetry editor for The Nation. Poetry and the Age and A Sad Heart at the Supermarket are collections of his essays as a poetry critic. His teaching career included stints at Kenyon College, the University of Texas, Sarah Lawrence College, the University of Illinois, and the University of North Carolina/Greensboro. He also was the 11th Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, a position that now bears the title Poet Laureate. He was hit by a car in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and died in October 14, 1965 at the age of 51.