Howard Nemerov

Howard Nemerov

About Howard Nemerov

Howard Nemerov, born February 29, 1920 in New York and died July 5, 1991 in University City, Missouri, was an American poet, short story writer, literary critic and university professor. He served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1976 to 1991. In 1978 Nemerov received the Pulitzer Prize, the Bollingen Prize and the National Book Award for the publication of The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov, published in 1977. He was elected Poet Laureate of the United States twice, in 1963-1964 and in 1988-1990.
His work is considered by critics as formalist and is inspired by humanism and Jewish humor, which he uses in various meditative, lyrical, satirical forms, etc. Nemerov's poems are deeply concerned with individual perception of nature and human history, using irony, puns, slang. He writes almost exclusively in rigid forms and meters. He is recognized for his rigor and his refined technique, but his work also has the reputation of being witty and playful. He is compared to John Hollander and Philip Larkin. A primer of the daily round is his most anthologized poem, and which is very representative of his poetic style. It is the archetype of the Elizabethan sonnet, illustrative of the prosodic creativity for which he is famous. Another well-loved poem is The War in the Air, which is based on his experience as a war pilot. Because you asked about the line between prose ans poetry is taught as an example of the Ars Poetica, when it describes the almost imperceptible change between rain and snow, while retaining the formal poetic elements of rhyme and meter.
Howard Nemerov died of complications from cancer in University City and was buried in the family plot in New York City. In 1994, the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Prize was established in his honor, an award for which about 3,000 sonnets compete each year.

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