Incarnate: The Collected Dead Man Poems

Marvin Bell

The Dead Man, Marvin Bell’s brilliant poetic invention, is an overarching consciousness, alive and dead at once, defeating time. Mystical and anonymous, The Dead Man offers searing insight into the joys, as well as the catastrophes, of fluctuating cultural and political moments. Incarnate draws from all of Bell’s previous collections where The Dead Man appeared, and adds an abundant cache of new poems that resonate with “the dark matter and sticky stuff” of life. As David St. John writes in his introduction, “No voice in our poetry has spoken with more eloquence and wisdom of the daily spiritual, political and psychological erosion in our lives; no poet has gathered our American experience with a more capacious tenderness—all the while naming and celebrating our persistent hopes and enduring human desires.”

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ISBN: 9781556595837

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781556595820

Format: Hardcover

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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“While the Zen admonition—Live as if you were already dead—may embody a lively challenge, these poems, too, tip their hats with greatest respect and fanciful care for the living mystery that holds us all.” —Naomi Shihab Nye, The New York Times

“I feel this book is a masterpiece, one of a handful of essential books in American poetry in the last 50 years.” —David St. John

“…In the meditations of this timeless Everyman, a wisecracking poet-philosopher who comprehends the human condition in all its complexity, we may see the world anew… Incarnate is a book for the ages.” —Christopher Merrill

“Marvin Bell’s Dead Man poems should close out any anthology of the twentieth century and open any anthology of this new century’s work. They change the game. They insist that we pay a new and different kind of attention.” ―Georgia Review

“His poems are philosophical, concerned most often with the pairing of life and death, which he ponders with a reliable frankness and, over the years, an increasing sense of liberation.” ―Booklist

“A book to make our aches more pointed, to give them a deeper sense of purpose… In our troubled times, one could do much worse than to be a companion to Marvin Bell’s Dead Man.” —Kenyon Review

“[Dead Man poems] are by turns cosmic and earthy, dubious and faithful, determined and resigned. Deeply funny and comically humane, they remind us that life in this world embraces contraries.” ―Pleiades

“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.” ―Publishers Weekly

As featured in:

The New York Times Magazine