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date: 17 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

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

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