Howard Nemerov - Quotes

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The secrets of success are a good wife and a steady job. My wife told me. ---->>>

A teacher is a person who never says anything once.

A teacher is a person who never says anything once.

Nothing in the universe can travel at the speed of light, they say, forgetful of the shadow's speed.

Nothing in the universe can travel at the speed of light, they say, forgetful of the shadow's speed.

I would talk in iambic pentameter if it were easier.

I would talk in iambic pentameter if it were easier.

Language is remarkable, except under the extreme constraints of mathematics and logic, it never can talk only about what it's supposed to talk about but is always spreading around. ---->>>

Language cares.

Language cares.

Robert Frost had always said you mustn't think of the last line first, or it's only a fake poem, not a real one. I'm inclined to agree. ---->>>

I have a plot, but not much happens. ---->>>

When I was starting to write, the great influence was T.S. Eliot and after that William Butler Yeats. ---->>>

History is one of those marvelous and necessary illusions we have to deal with. It's one of the ways of dealing with our world with impossible generalities which we couldn't live without. ---->>>

For a Jewish Puritan of the middle class, the novel is serious, the novel is work, the novel is conscientious application why, the novel is practically the retail business all over again. ---->>>

It may be said that poems are in one way like icebergs: only about a third of their bulk appears above the surface of the page.

It may be said that poems are in one way like icebergs: only about a third of their bulk appears above the surface of the page.

I think there's one thing which distinguishes our art - we don't consider. We don't think. We write a little verse because it comes to us. ---->>>

I've never read a political poem that's accomplished anything. Poetry makes things happen, but rarely what the poet wants. ---->>>

Write what you know. That should leave you with a lot of free time. ---->>>

I do insist on making what I hope is sense so there's always a coherent narrative or argument that the reader can follow. ---->>>

I like all my children, even the squat and ugly ones. ---->>>

I sometimes talk about the making of a poem within the poem.

I sometimes talk about the making of a poem within the poem.

A lot happens by accident in poetry. ---->>>

I think there was a revolution in poetry, associated chiefly with Eliot and Pound; but maybe it is of the nature of revolutions or of the nature of history that their innovations should later come to look trivial or indistinguishable from technical tricks. ---->>>

I never abandoned either forms or freedom. I imagine that most of what could be called free verse is in my first book. I got through that fairly early. ---->>>

When Robert Frost was alive, I was known as the other new England poet, which is to be barely known at all. ---->>>

A chronicle is very different from history proper. ---->>>

I've thought of the last line of some poems for years and tried them out, It wouldn't work because the last line was much too beautiful for the poem. ---->>>

Mostly the thought and the verse come inseparably. In my poem Poetics, it's as close as I come to telling how I do it. ---->>>

The historian is terribly responsible to what he can discern are the facts of the case, but he's nothing if he doesn't make out a case. ---->>>

When modern writers gave up telling stories, they gave up the greatest thing we had. ---->>>

Once in awhile you have a thought, and you rhyme it. ---->>>

Shakespeare tells the same stories over and over in so many guises that it takes a long time before you notice. ---->>>

I am not at all clear what free verse is anymore. That's one of the things you learn not to know. ---->>>

Obvious enough that generalities work to protect the mind from the great outdoors; is it possible that this was in fact their first purpose? ---->>>

The spirit world doesn't admit to communicating with me, so it's fairly even. ---->>>

We're not in love with Literature all the time - especially when you have to teach it every day. ---->>>

When you write it doesn't occur to you that somebody could think different from what you do. ---->>>

Occasionally a student writer comes up with something really beautiful and moving, and you won't know for years if it was an accident or the first burst of something wonderful. ---->>>

I liked the kid who wrote me that he had to do a term paper on a modern poet and he was doing me because, though they say you have to read poems twice, he found he could handle mine in one try. ---->>>

The nice thing about the Bible is it doesn't give you too many facts. Two an a half lines and it tells you the whole story and that leaves you a great deal of freedom to elaborate on how it might have happened. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: 02-29, 1920
Birthplace:
Die: 07-05, 1991
Occupation: Poet
Website:

Howard Nemerov (February 29, 1920 – July 5, 1991) was an American poet. He was twice Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, from 1963 to 1964 and again from 1988 to 1990. For The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov (1977), he won the National Book Award for Poetry, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and Bollingen Prize (wikipedia)