The Dead Man returns in Vertigo, Marvin Bell’s latest vibrant and provocative collection. A master of the surreal yet everyday, Bell created his everyman—a character unlike any other in American poetry—in the late 1980s and has continued to improvise on the life of the Dead Man, looking ahead while grappling with “the beginning, when mountains, canyons and seas were new, / before the moon had eyes, before paper, before belief.” The Dead Man is an overarching consciousness that stands witness to violence and political turmoil, celebrates daily joys, and challenges the scope of human knowledge. Bell’s uninhibited imagination and powerful command of language are at their best in Vertigo.
“[The poems in Vertigo] 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
“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
“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