Excerpt from

from Skulls (from Sounds of the Resurrected Dead Man's Footsteps)

I am the poet of skulls without why or wherefore.
I didn't ask to be this or that, one way or another, just a young man of words.
Words that grew in sandy soil, words that fit scrub trees and beach grass.
Sentenced to work alone where there is often no one to talk to.
The poetry of skulls demands complicity of the reader, that the reader put words in 
     the skull's mouth.

Marvin Bell at The Academy of American Poets

An interview with Marvin Bell by Ted Slade

How do you know when a poem is finished? Or when it's dead?
A poem seems finished when it has used up all the material within it or completely satisfied its form--which may amount to the same thing. It's dead when it won't breathe or boogie. How do I know? I know.

Marvin Bell interviewed by Rebeca Seiferle (from Drunken Boat)\

Seiferle: If the Dead Man had a literary family tree, from whom would he be descended?

Bell: Whitman, of course, is Granddad. A reviewer called The Book of the Dead Man "The Undersong of Myself." Whitman is Granddad, William Carlos Williams is his more or less respectable son, and Allen Ginsberg is his rebellious grandson. There's a dotty ancestor spoken of in hushed tones, Christopher Smart. Some people say we're distantly related to Pablo somebody, a Chilean. On a more inclusive family tree, the names would be those of photographers, potters, philosophers, sergeants, five-and-ten men, Ukrainian immigrants, rabbis, radicals, amateur radio operators, journalists, trumpet players, a few crooks--you know, the people who taught me the world. For the Dead Man is very much of this world.

    Interview               Five Poems

Go to Poetry Portraits home page
Go to Tad Richards home page