Randall Jarrell (1914-1965) was a highly-regarded, mid-20th century poet and critic. A native of Nashville, TN, Jarrell lived and taught in Greensboro, at UNCG, from 1947-1965. He sojourned in Washington, D.C. from 1956 to 1958, serving in a position that would come to be known as national poet laureate. Jarrell's great lament was that poetry had such a small audience. In 2009, the Beltway Poetry Quarterly published an extremely informative article about Jarrell, a must-read for those interested in this literary scholar (read here).
Today's photo is a portrait of Jarrell, painted by Greensboro's own Betty Watson. Mrs. Watson and her husband were family friends of the Jarrells as both men worked at UNCG. The above photo has been brought out of storage and now hangs on the second floor of Jackson Library at UNCG. The photo does not do justice to the brilliant colors of the portrait. If you are local and appreciate fine art, you must go see it in person. A carpeted area, with a grouping of chairs, invites visitors to sit and enjoy this fine work of art. It would be lovely to sit there while reading Jarrell's poems.
Mrs. Watson has been in the news recently because her other portarit of Jarrell is currently on display at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery (reference). While the Jarrells and her husband are long gone, Mrs. Watson, at age 85, continues to paint in her Greensboro studio. How wonderful that she has lived to see how much the public appreciates her fine art.