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War Stories

Poems about Long Ago and Now

Howard Nemerov has written often about wars great and small, the overtly political and the deeply personal. But only with the passage of time, a heightening of technique and deepening of insight, has he been able to write from his experience in World War II as he does here, where historical past and personal history finally dovetail. From "The War in the Heavens" to "The War in the Streets," Nemerov chronicles with devastating grace the harrowing of life.

"These new poems of Howard Nemerov are the poems of a master at his best. What is more, they are accessible. They speak out in a beautiful unclouded voice of the experience of a flyer of the Second World War. Although as ’war poems’ they take their place among the best of that genre, they resonate far beyond their history with an arresting immediacy."—Karl Shapiro

"Nemerov is the poet of our sanity, his the vision of the heroic ordinary. . . . Forty years after W. W. II, Nemerov’s experiences in that war translate into timeless poetry. . . . Nemerov’s poetry will outlast our generation: to read it now is to take part in something of ourselves and our world that will—and should—endure."—The Virginia Quarterly Review

"Throughout all his verse, formal language sets up a proscenium, keeping sentiment at a distance. In this elegant theatre, he tells stories that always, first, are works of art."—Denise Low, Kansas City Star

Read two poems about the space shuttle.

70 pages | 5-3/4 x 8 | © 1987


Table of Contents

1. The War in the Streets
To Joy Our Student, Bidding Adieu
The Royal Visit
Ultima Ratio Reagan
At Sixties and Seventies
On an Occasion of National Mourning
Happy Hour
The Shopping Mall, the Moral Law
Found Poem
Playing the Machine
The Biographer’s Mandate
The Bluejay and the Mockingbird
Drowning the Book
2. The War in the Air
Low-Level Cross-Country
Night Operations, Coastal Command RAF
The War in the Air
The Faith
Double Negative
World Lines
D-Day + All the Years
Remembering the Way
The Shadow Side
The Afterlife
3. The War in the Heavens
In the Beginning
More Joy in Heaven
Economic Man
In Transit
Theater of the Absurd
To Peter Raven on his Fiftieth Birthday
Night Piece
Freezing the Rain
A Reader of Mysteries
On Reading King Lear Again, 1984
The Celestial Emperor
To Dante
A Christmas Card of Halley’s Comet
All Things Made New for Now
Landscape with Self-Portrait

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