Part cultural critique, part surreal saga, and funniest at its most distressed, Josh Bell’s new book interrogates poetry, and language itself, asking tough questions of identity, of masculinity, and of American culture and its outliers. “Have you attended a picnic / that didn’t end in tears?” Alamo Theory is a humorously and darkly imagined corridor of time, anchored by a series of provocations spoken by epic hero Vince Neil, the former frontman of Mötley Crüe. Bell’s poems embrace isolation amid the waste and wonder of the senses.
“This is a speaker who has seen too much, felt too much, who cannot bear much more, but who still believes in us, and in his job, enough to try to bring back an accurate report from the large and the small broken heart.” —Jorie Graham
“Josh sings as if he had both a feather and a pistol held to his throat—objects that somehow (so absurd and surreal is his world) merge into the same provocation.” —Calvin Bedient