Interesting too, reading further into the Prichard biography, is that, unlike his friend Lowell, Jarrell was not a virtuoso from the start. Unsuccessful poems--too abstract, too indeterminate--are scattered throughout his career. Of course, what poet doesn't write heaps of poor poems all the time. Still, I came to Jarrell through the late work, the last book, which is more fully realized, is generally thought his best; it's odd now to realize that, while his friends, like Lowell, Bishop, Berryman, were sprinting out of the gate, Jarrell was stumbling a bit. Yet, as a critic, Jarrell emerged almost fully mature.
A note too on FSG's "Complete Poems". Unfortunately, they used Jarrell's selected poems--in which the author divides his poems into a series of ridiculous categories--for all but the last two books, so we no longer have a sense of how the poems were originally published in book form. Anything but a chronological, book by book collected poems bugs the hell out of me.