Marvin Bell

Defiantly nontraditional poems by poet who has been called “an insider who thinks like an outsider,” Ardor continues the work Marvin Bell began with his groundbreaking The Book of the Dead Man. An acknowledged master of poetic forms and ideas, Bell is a metamorphic poet who writes with authority, wit and intelligence. In Ardor he reinvigorates the everyday in poems which are by turns surreal, deadpan, outrageous, incisive, and perceptive.

ISBN: 9781556590818

Format: Paperback

About the Author

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 …

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“In this second Book of the Dead Man, Bell has perhaps reached an apex with long American lines stuffed full of images and observations that all revolve around the single meditation of an individual who has given up everything in order to have everything.” —Bloomsbury Review, Editor’s Choice

“[The] two volumes combined begin to redefine poetry as it is being practiced today.” —Georgia Review

“With the rhythms of a modern-day prophet, Bell creates a universe of one, recasting Whitman’s ‘Song of Myself’ to mirror the present age… Charged with making the darkness visible, Bell’s Dead Man sometimes glows with an eerily illuminating light.” —Publishers Weekly

“At first one wonders, ‘Who is the dead man?’ but it becomes clear as these eloquent and powerful poems accumulate that the dead man is our collective conscience, a witness to everyday joys and historical atrocities, the former so we do not miss them, the latter so we do not hide them from ourselves… This is the strongest book of poems I have read this year.” —Virginia Quarterly Review

“Marvin Bell’s Dead Man [is]… a vast companion, enormous in spirit, an archive as well as an immediate presence. This book may actually be used for consultation when one needs wisdom or heart.” —American Poet

“Bell’s large graceful lines and pliable voice express the entirety of experience… This is a work of consolation, though Bell leaves us inconsolable.” —Bloomsbury Review

Ardor proceeds not by cumulative, cohesive argument, but by quick-take magnesium flashes of insight.” —Poetry

“[Ardor is] slim but combustible… Bell’s appetite for life is intense… Not unlike Thoreau, Bell sucks the marrow out of the commonplace. His perspicacity is evident whether he’s writing about toasters or taxidermy or desire. Despite the homespun nature of some of his subjects, Bell’s language is rich, the phrasing exquisite and the ideas complex. These are poems to be savored… Ardor is imaginative, challenging, and supremely accomplished. Bell’s ‘dead man,’ indeed, affirms life.” —Tacoma News Tribune

“Eloquent and powerful… Bell creates a voice that is both intensely personal and yet available to anyone who cares to give him- or herself up to these wonderful statements.” —Virginia Quarterly Review