The War in the Air

Howard Nemerov

Background

Howard Nemerov was born on a leap day, February 29, in 1920 into a well-off Jewish- Russian family who owned a department store in New York City. Over the course of his life, Nemerov taught at several universities, wrote many volumes of poetry, and won many awards for them as well. In addition, he served in both the Canadian and U.S. air forces in World War ll, which explains the origins of his inspiration for The war in the Air.

Theme

Throughout the poem, a distinct war theme is present.

Lines Important to the Theme

"In the clean war, the war in the air."(line 4)


"Per ardua, said the partisans of Mars,"(line 11)


"That was the good war, the war we won"(line 13)

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Nemerov uses the word "war" several times in this poem, as well as in the title. He uses the word "Mars" in the poem as well, which in the context of the poem refers to the Roman god of war (Mars).
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