Marvin Bell

Photo of Marvin Bell

Photo by Jason Bell

Marvin Bell was born in New York City and grew up in Center Moriches on eastern Long Island. He attended Alfred University in western New York. He later received an MA in literature from the University of Chicago and an MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa. Following two years in the Army, he served forty years on the faculty of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

He lives with his wife Dorothy in both Iowa City and Port Townsend, Washington, and at times in Sag Harbor, New York. He teaches now for the brief-residency MFA program at Pacific University. He has collaborated with musicians, composers, dancers, and photographers, frequently performs with the bassist Glen Moore of the jazz group, Oregon, and is the creator of a poetic form known as the “Dead Man” poem.

Honors include awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Academy of American Poets, and The American Poetry Review, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and Senior Fulbright appointments to Yugoslavia and Australia. He was the first Poet Laureate of Iowa.

Poetry by Marvin Bell

Vertigo: The Living Dead Man Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2011)

Whiteout: Dead Man Poems by Marvin Bell in Response to Photographs by Nathan Lyons (Lodima Press, 2011)

A Primer about the Flag, children’s picture book illustrated by Chris Raschka (Candlewick Press, forthcoming 2011)

Mars Being Red (Copper Canyon Press, 2007)

Rampant (Copper Canyon Press, 2004)

Nightworks: Poems, 1962-2000 (Copper Canyon Press, 2000)

Wednesday: Selected Poems 1966-1997 (Salmon Publishing, Ireland, 1998)

Poetry for a Midsummer’s Night (Seventy Fourth Street Productions, 1998)

Ardor: The Book of the Dead Man, Vol. 2 (poems) (Copper Canyon Press, 1997)

A Marvin Bell Reader (selected prose and poetry) (Middlebury College Press/University Press of New England, 1994)

The Book of the Dead Man (poems) (Copper Canyon Press, 1994)

Iris of Creation (Copper Canyon Press, 1990)

New and Selected Poems (Athenaeum, 1987)

Drawn by Stones, by Earth, by Things That Have Been in the Fire (poems) (Athenaeum, 1984)

These Green-Going-to-Yellow (Athenaeum, 1981)

Stars Which See, Stars Which Do Not See (Athenaeum, 1977) [Reissued, Carnegie Mellon Classic Contemporary Series, 1992]

Residue of Song (Athenaeum, 1974)

The Escape into You (Athenaeum, 1971) [Reissued, Carnegie Mellon Classic Contemporary Series, 1994]

A Probable Volume of Dreams (Athenaeum, 1969)

Things We Dreamt We Died For (Stone Wall Press, 1966)


7 Poets, 4 Days, 1 Book, co-authored with Istvan Laszlo Geher, Ksenia Golubovich,

Simone Inguanez, Christopher Merrill, Tomaz Salamun, and Dean Young (Trinity University Press, 2009)

Segues: A Correspondence in Poetry [co-authored with William Stafford] (David R. Godine, Publisher, 1983)

Old Snow Just Melting: Essays and Interviews (University of Michigan Press, 1983)