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Howard Nemerov's Quotes

Howard Nemerov profile photo

Born: 1920-02-29
Profession: Poet
Nation: American
Biography of Howard Nemerov

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

Tags: Admit, Fairly, Spirit

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

Tags: Literature, Love, Time

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

Tags: After, Great, Write

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

Tags: Alive, Known, Poet

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

Tags: Occur, Somebody, Write

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.

Tags: Business, Why, Work

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.

Tags: Deal, History, Impossible

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.

Tags: Found, Read, Try

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.

Tags: Book, Free, Freedom

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.

Tags: History, Nature, Poetry

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.

Tags: Beautiful, Moving, Wonderful

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.

Tags: Freedom, Great, Nice

A teacher is a person who never says anything once.

Tags: Once, Says, Teacher

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.

Tags: Language, Logic, Talk

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

Tags: Light, Science, Travel

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

Tags: Good, Success, Wife

I would talk in iambic pentameter if it were easier.

Tags: Easier, Funny, Talk

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.

Tags: Art, Consider, Write

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

Tags: Happen, Poetry, Political

A chronicle is very different from history proper.

Tags: Chronicle, History, Proper

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

Tags: Gave, Greatest, Stories

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

Tags: Free, Time, Write

A lot happens by accident in poetry.

Tags: Accident, Happens, Poetry

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

Tags: Clear, Free, Learn

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

Tags: Hope, Making, Sense

I have a plot, but not much happens.

Tags: Happens, Plot
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I like all my children, even the squat and ugly ones.

Tags: Children, Squat, Ugly

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

Tags: Poetry, Sometimes, Talk

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.

Tags: Beautiful, Thought, Work

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.

Tags: Above, May, Said

Language cares.

Tags: Cares, Communication, Language

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.

Tags: Close, Telling, Thought

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

Tags: Great, Mind, Work

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

Tags: Once, Rhyme, Thought

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.

Tags: Fake, Real, Said

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

Tags: Stories, Takes, Time

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.

Tags: Case, Discern, Facts

Windows are as essential to office prestige as Christmas is to retailing.

Tags: Essential, Office

Even at the United Nations, where legend has it that the building was designed so that there could be no corner offices, the expanse of glass in individual offices is said to be a dead giveaway as to rank. Five windows are excellent, one window not so great.

Tags: Architecture, Great, Said

Hateful is the power, and pitiable is the life, of those who wish to be feared rather than loved.

Tags: Life, Power, Wish

No government is safe unless fortified by goodwill.

Tags: Government, Safe, Unless

Peace is obtained by war.

Tags: Obtained, Peace, War

So that he seemed to depart not from life, but from one home to another.

Tags: Another, Home, Life

It is much easier to become a father than to be one.

Tags: Become, Dad, Father

Love has its own time, its own season, and its own reasons from coming and going. You cannot bribe it or coerce it or reason it into staying. You can only embrace it when it arrives and give it away when it comes to you.

Tags: Give, Love, Time

Remember that you don't choose love; love chooses you. All you really can do is accept it for all its mystery when it comes into your life. Feel the way it fills you to overflowing then reach out and give it away.

Tags: Give, Life, Love

Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace.

Tags: Heart, Life, Peace

Until you have a son of your own... you will never know the joy, the love beyond feeling that resonates in the heart of a father as he looks upon his son.

Tags: Father, Heart, Love

Do not fall prey to the false belief that mastery and domination are synonymous with manliness.

Tags: Belief, Fall, False

Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun.

Tags: Children, Remember, Yourself