Thursday, January 26, 2012


     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.