Article

Randall Jarrell’s <i>The Bat-Poet</i>

Richard Flynn

in The Oxford Handbook of Children's Literature

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780195379785
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195379785.013.0003

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Randall Jarrell’s The Bat-Poet

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This article addresses how The Bat-Poet (1964) may be used to explore the rich traditions of American children's poetry within a larger literary history encompassing both fiction and criticism. This work responds to what Randall Jarrell perceived as antipoetic times with the nuance and emotional depth that is the province not of criticism but of imaginative literature. The synopsis of The Bat-Poet hardly does justice to the story's enduring intellectual and emotional appeal. The conversation between Jarrell's writing for children and his writing for adults is clear evidence that Lowell was wrong about Jarrell's children's writing being “a nice idyllic thing to do.” The culture is even more hostile to poetry than Jarrell's was.

Keywords: Bat-Poet; Randall Jarrell; American children's poetry; fiction; criticism

Article.  9170 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Children's Literature Studies ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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