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Howard Nemerov quotes (37)

A chronicle is very different from history proper.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

A lot happens by accident in poetry.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

A teacher is a person who never says anything once.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

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.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

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.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

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

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

I have a plot, but not much happens.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

I like all my children, even the squat and ugly ones.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

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.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

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.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

I sometimes talk about the making of a poem within the poem.
Howard Nemerov   Category: 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.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

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.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

I would talk in iambic pentameter if it were easier.
Howard Nemerov   Category: Funny

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

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.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

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.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

Language cares.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

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.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

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.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

Nothing in the universe can travel at the speed of light, they say, forgetful of the shadow's speed.
Howard Nemerov   Category: Science

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

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.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

Once in awhile you have a thought, and you rhyme it.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

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.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

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

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.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

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.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

The secrets of success are a good wife and a steady job. My wife told me.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

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

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

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

When modern writers gave up telling stories, they gave up the greatest thing we had.
Howard Nemerov   Category:

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

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

Write what you know. That should leave you with a lot of free time.
Howard Nemerov   Category: