A Howard Nemerov Reader

Howard Nemerov, Author University of Missouri Press $54.95 (534p) ISBN 978-0-8262-0776-0
Poet laureate of the U.S. (1988-1990), critic, fiction writer and teacher, Nemerov here gathers selected works--most of it prose long out of print--from 1947 to 1987. His poetry is formal and disciplined, made radiant by the wry, the fresh, the shocking image. Reminders of mortality arise from his observation of creatures: the ``wide and moony grin'' of ``The Goose Fish,'' over whose remains two lovers stumble on a beach at night. In the charming ``Digressions Around a Crow,'' the essayist watches his son play with an oddly tame crow. Other essays indicate that the act of poetry is ascetic dedication (``The Swaying Form: A Problem in Poetry''), that great art is sacred (``Composition and Fate in the Short Novel''). Nemerov's critical stance is the traditional, humanely patriarchal aesthetic of mid-century, undisturbed by current trends; his criteria for excellence derive from those he admires, namely, cultured white male authors. The fiction ranges from primly whimsical stories to the novel Federigo (1954), a learned, witty farce of adultery and the doppelganger. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
Paperback - 552 pages - 978-0-8262-0936-8
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