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The Book of the Dead Man
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The Book of the Dead Man

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  72 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Marvin Bell's ninth major collection of poems is groundbreaking, his most provocative and imaginative work to date. The phrase the dead man resounds throughout like a drumbeat registering the wisdom and genius of ignorance, fallibility, and mutability with a Zen-like detachment. Defying paraphrase, Bell's new poems demand to be understood in the context of the incantatory ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published January 1st 1993 by Copper Canyon Press
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Jun 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting form, in which each poem begins with "The Dead Man...". Bell references the Buddhist prescription from the Tibetan Book of the Dead at the beginning of his volume: "Live each day as if you are already dead." He combines wit and playful attention to language throughout. ...more
Jun 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
These poems intrigue me because I have fashioned my own Buddhist-type meditation on Death. Bell is following the ancient teaching to live as if you are already dead, as a way to appreciate each moment. Somehow, he makes the topic amusing as well as thought-provoking.
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Clever, which I appreciated--I love Bell's voice. I'm not sure if I'm in the right reading mode just now to fully appreciate the book, or if I may have needed a bit more variance, as if maintaining the method for the whole volume wasn't quite fitting into place for me. ...more
Sarah Chavez
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book floored me. In the best possible way.
Tracy O
Sep 02, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Normal People & Maybe Hipster Types
Shelves: poetry
This book is mostly a clever conceit. Pick up, read a bit when you have a free moment, repeat.
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Unique poetry! Outstanding. You've got to read it. Zen Buddhist touchings on every page. ...more
David Williams
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this collection of poems, particularly the simplicity of the metaphorical Dead Man: regardless of any actual human characteristics, everyone can see themselves as a Dead Man someday (misgendering aside, of course), and it is the recognition of such that drives the content of these poems, and whether the resultant reaction is fear, melancholy, or resignation, each anecdote about the Dead Man and his proclivities is imbued with an earnest intensity, each by parts comforting, hilarious, and ...more
Brian Pribis
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bell's poetry is in a class of its own. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of his work. If you've never read Bell before, it is weird. At least the Dead Man books are. But once I got into it I found myself not only in love with the Dead Man, but strangely identifying with him. ...more
Marcus Wynne
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Marvin’s a dear friend and great mentor. He walks the talk of being The Living Dead Man. “Live as though you were already dead.” He’s a samurai of words. This is the beginning of the Dead Man cycle.
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Marvin Bell was born in New York City on August 3, 1937, and grew up in Center Moriches, on the south shore of eastern Long Island. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Alfred University, a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa.

Bell’s debut collection of poems, Things We Dreamt We Died For, was published in 1966 by the Stone Wall Press, fo

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