Poet Marvin Bell, photo by Sam Roxas-Chua

Marvin Bell


Marvin Bell taught 40 years for the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and served two terms as Iowa’s first Poet Laureate. He has published 24 books and is known also for his many collaborations with other artists and for his influential teaching. Often redefining his poetics from book to book, he is the creator of the "Dead Man" and "Dead Man Resurrected" poems, and has been called "ambitious without pretension." Reviewers have said, "Marvin Bell enlarges our understanding of what poetry can do," and "Bell's poems, beyond their formal mastery, constitute an admirable project whose interrogations run deep."

Bell edited poetry for five years for the North American Review at its rebirth and for two years for The Iowa Review at its birth. He began and edited for five years New Poets / Small Books for Lost Horse Press, a series that published 15 poets, three to a volume. He designed and taught for five years a summer workshop for teachers from the urban program America SCORES. Recipient of The Lamont Award for his first book, Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, Senior Fulbrights to Yugoslavia and Australia, and awards from The Academy of American Poets and The American Academy of Arts and Letters. A short, snappy interview can be seen online in the "On the Fly" series.  

Photo by Sam Roxas-Chua


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