Howard Nemerov was born on February 29th, 1920 in New York, New York. He graduated from the Society for Ethical Culture's Fieldstone School in 1937 and went on to study at Harvard, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1941.
Throughout World War II, he served as a pilot in the Royal Canadian unit of the U. S. Army Air Force. He married in 1944, and after the war, having earned the rank of first lieutenant, returned to New York with his wife to complete his first book.
He then began teaching, first at Hamilton College and later at Bennington College, Brandeis University, and Washington University, where he was Distinguished Poet in Residence from 1969 until his death. Howard Nemerov had been the recipient of numerous literary awards and prizes, including the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He was chosen Poet Laureate of the United States in 1988.
Although Nemerov is known foremost for his many poems, during his career he also distinguished himself as a writer of short stories, novels, essays, and criticism.
A review in The Nation characterized him thusly: "Nemerov's virtues are all in fact unfashionable ones for our time: vivid intelligence, an irreverent sense of humor, a mastery of formal verse, an awareness of mystery."