Howard Nemerov (Howard Stanley Nemerov) Biography
(1920–1991), (Howard Stanley Nemerov), The Image and the Law, Guide to the Ruins, The Salt Garden
American poet, novelist, and critic, born in New York City, educated at Harvard; he subsequently served as a pilot in the Second World War, an experience informing many of his poems. After holding a succession of posts at American colleges and universities, he became Distinguished University Professor at Washington University, Missouri, in 1976. From 1988 to 1990 he was Poet Laureate of The United States. The Image and the Law (1947), Guide to the Ruins (1950), and The Salt Garden (1955), his first three collections of verse, established his reputation as a poet capable of combining accomplishment in the use of conventional forms with an urgency of address to a wide range of personal, social, and cultural themes. His numerous subsequent volumes include The Next Room of the Dream (1962), The Blue Swallows (1967), Sentences (1980), and War Stories (1987). Collected Poems appeared in 1977. The urbanely ironic and sometimes scathingly satirical with that is frequently encountered in his poetry is a dominant characteristic of his novels, which form modern comedies of manners emphasizing the moral ambiguities and social pressures of middle-class American life; The Melodramatists (1949) centres on the dissatisfactions of a Boston family, Federigo, or the Power of Love (1954) is a complex farce of adultery, and The Homecoming Game (1957) concerns a university professor whose values collide with the workings of the educational system. He also published two collections of short stories, A Commodity of Dreams (1959) and Stories, Fables and Other Diversions (1971). Nemerov's other works include Journal of the Fictive Life (1965), an autobiographical examination of the psychology of writing; Poetry and Fiction (1963), Reflexions on Poetry and Poetics (1972), and Figures of Thought (1978) are collections of his literary essays.