Randall entered the Army Air Force in 1942, but he failed to qualify as a pilot. Not qualifying for what he really wanted to do must have been a great disappointment for Randall and instead he became a celestial training navigator in Tucson, Arizona. During his service, for nearly four years, he had written many poems about the army and the war. The literature he had collected was used in his next two books; two poems from these books were "Little Friend" and "Losses".
Randall was considered as one of Americas significant poets and he helped build the reputation of others poets, 'Lowell', 'Elizabeth Bishop' and 'William Carlos Williams'. He wrote many poems on the war and his involvement in the army, which indicates that it had a large impact on his life. In these poems, his style changed into a sad, greyer style which recreated the daily life and feel of the barracks and disaster of combat during World War 2.
After the war Randall also spent a year as a literary editor of the Nation. He filled the back pages with poems and reviews from many of the best writers in America and England.
To begin to understand Randall we need to look back at his childhood and his first steps into the real world. Randall was born in Nashville, Tennessee. Soon after his birth, he moved with his parents to Los Angeles where he stayed for only a short period. After his parents divorce, he returned to Nashville with his mother. Growing up without a father for a large part of his childhood must have been difficult for Randall. A father plays an important part in a child's life and Randall must have missed his father greatly. In 1926 - 7 he visited his grandparents in Los...