NORTHUMBERLAND - Priestley Chapel Associates will present an informal program of words and music Sunday at the Joseph Priestley Memorial Chapel to recognize a U.S. poet laureate.

Randall Jarrell, who served as U.S. poet laureate from 1956-1958, was born in 1914 in Nashville. His first book of poems, "Blood for a Stranger," was published in 1942, the same year he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He soon left the Air Corps for the Army and worked as a control tower operator, an experience which provided much material for his poetry.

Jarrell's reputation as a poet was established in 1945, while he was still serving in the Army, with the publication of his second book, "Little Friend, Little Friend," which bitterly and dramatically documents the intense fears and moral struggles of young soldiers.

Following the war, Jarrell accepted a teaching position at the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and remained there, except for occasional absences to teach elsewhere, until his death in 1965.

Even more than for his poems, Jarrell is highly regarded as a peerless literary essayist, and was considered the most astute (and most feared) poetry critic of his generation.

The music portion of the program features Charles Phelps playing the historic John Wind organ and piano.

The event will be held from 9:30 to 10:10 a.m. Sunday in the chapel at 380 Front St.

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