Marvin Bell

Sam Roxas-Chua

Marvin Bell, author of twenty-three books of poetry and essays, has been called “an insider who thinks like an outsider,” and his writing has been called “ambitious without pretension.” Reviewing The Book of the Dead Man for The Georgia Review, Judith Kitchen noted: “These new books by Marvin Bell are doing to poetry what has occasionally been done before—sending it into new and original territory. Bell has redefined poetry as it is being practiced today.” His latest books are After the Fact: Scripts & Postscripts, a collaboration with Christopher Merrill (White Pine); Vertigo: The Living Dead Man Poems (Copper Canyon); Whiteout, a collaboration with the photographer Nathan Lyons (Lodima); and a children’s book with illustrations by Chris Raschka, A Primer about the Flag (Candlewick). These books were preceded by the wartime collection, Mars Being Red, and 7 Poets, 4 Days, 1 Book—A Collaboration of Poets from Five Countries. A song cycle, “The Animals,” premiered in 2009. His poems, his teaching, and his column in The American Poetry Review, “Homage to the Runner,” have influenced generations of poets.

Awards and Honors

Johnson Brigham Plaque Award of the Iowa Library Association, 2013

Honorary Doctorate of Letters, Union College, 2011

Finalist, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, 2007

First Poet Laureate of the State of Iowa, 2000-2004

Award in Literature, American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1994

Fulbright Senior Scholar to Australia, 1986

Honorary Doctorate of Letters, Alfred University, 1978 and 1986

National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, 1984

Fulbright Senior Scholar to Yugoslavia, 1983

American Poetry Review Prize, 1982

Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 1977

Finalist, National Book Award, 1977

The Virginia Quarterly Review’s Emily Clark Balch Poetry Prize 1970

Bess Hokin Award, 1969

Academy of American Poets’ James Laughlin Award (formerly the Lamont Poetry Prize), 1969