HOWARD NEMEROV, R.I.P.
I met the poet Howard Nemerov
At the Atlantic Center for the Arts.
He brooked no fools and readily would scoff
At tyro poets, incompetent upstarts.
So three days in, our seminar had lost
A quarter of the students who had come
Who couldn’t bear the way he would accost
And criticize their verse, leaving them dumb.
Not to excuse the man, but to explain:
He was an alcoholic and near death
And maybe thought to spare some fools the pain
Of fruitless hope and let them save their breath,
Turning their efforts to more useful things
Than turning verses and the pain that brings.