Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bullets Into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence” as Want to Read:
Bullets Into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bullets Into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  170 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A powerful call to end American gun violence from celebrated poets and those most impacted, including a foreword by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly and an introduction by Colum McCann, published on the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting.

Focused intensively on the crisis of gun violence in America, this volume brings together poems by dozens of our best-known po
Paperback, 208 pages
Published December 5th 2017 by Beacon Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bullets Into Bells, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bullets Into Bells

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  170 ratings  ·  39 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Bullets Into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence
May 26, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, anthology
the bullet, like you, simply craves
the warmth of the body. Like you, only wants
to die in someone’s arms.

-Ross Gay, from The Bullet, in Its Hunger

This is a book I’ve had to pull down from my shelf far too often, such as on weeks like this one when I need the words of some favorite poets processing grief after another horrific national incident of violence. I first picked up Bullets into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence when it came out in 2017 and have had far too many times when
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I received this poetry book through a Goodreads giveaway. It is incredibly relevant to the U.S. today, especially as the poems describe many of events related to gun violence. The poems support the need for more gun regulation. Worth the read!
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Holy shit.

Read this.

Our thoughts and prayers are not enough
John Morn
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Poets (including some of our most celebrated) have written poems about gun violence. Each poem is followed by a response from someone who has suffered from gun violence. Lots of great writing here. The responses are often as powerful as the poems.
Apr 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
No bullet will outlast the speed and velocity of language.
A powerful call to end American gun violence.
Holy shit. These poems are way too difficult and they will hit you hard. I have not read anything like this. It is hard to find words to describe this book but please read this book and recommend it to everyone you know.
Incredibly powerful and moving collection of poems that is both emotionally difficult to read yet vitally important, especially given the national dialogue about gun violence. These are the heartbreakingly strong voices of gun violence survivors, parents of the first graders killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, friends of victims, concerned citizens and others. These pieces memorialize the tragedies and the names that have garnered national headlines as well as incidents known only to those who live ...more
Amy Nawrocki
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional anthology. Please read these bold poems about gun violence and think. Respond as many others do. Feel, Fight Write.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really think you should read this, if not for the poetry than for the commentary after each poem.
LAPL Reads
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Through poetry and prose, parents, poets, politicians, social and political activists, and survivors of indiscriminate individual and mass shootings, express their thoughts and feelings about gun violence in the United States. The writing is presented in a call and response format: first a poem and then a prose commentary. In the introduction, novelist Colum McCann states why poetry is a good place to begin, "The poems assert the possibility of language rather than bullets to open our veins.” He ...more
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read it for it's advocacy, read it for the sheer talent of the writing, but read it. This book will change you to a depth you may not have thought possible. You may think I exaggerate, but I do not. Profound and moving in a way that leads to a passion to protect our friends, family and all those who are victims of this hateful violence. I am moved, grateful and angry. ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Poetry can speak truth in powerful ways and this collection does. These poems and responses speak to many ways that gun violence impact lives. Join the conversation.

My copy was a gift through Goodreads First.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
One poem states that poetry doesn’t make good legislation. I think we need more poetry to bring heart and empathy to bear on legislation.
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read this. And then give a copy to everyone you know.
Richard Jespers
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There would nothing wrong with presenting a book-length collection of anti-gun poetry by itself, but Bullets into Bells increases its power by pairing each poem with a response written by a person who has been deeply affected by such violence. Note the eloquence of these lines from “Heal the Cracks in the Bell of the World,” by poet, Martín Espada.

Now the bells speak with their tongues of bronze.
Now the bells open their mouths of bronze to say:
Listen to the bells a world away. Listen to the b
Brandon Amico
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A well-curated group of devastating poems that flash in turns of rage, hope, despair, and determination in regards to our epidemic of gun violence in America. The decision to have a non-poet, but someone whose life has been altered by gun violence or who is either a civil servant or works for an organization dedicated to stemming the tides of such violence, react to each poem was a brilliant idea. These response bring an immediacy to these poems (as if they weren't already immediate) that is enh ...more
Jonathan Tennis
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I heard about this book from a recent article and regardless of where you sit on the gun control debate, this is an incredibly well put together collection of writings and responses detailing the matter.

“I don’t want sympathy and I don’t want affection / I want this country to head in the right direction / Instead of discussin who the Grammys should be awardin / Work to prevent murders like those of my cousin, Jordan” – p. 1 (from Jordan by Nick Arnold)

“And when a child is asked what they want
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
To be read in small doses. It's a bit much to be trying to read this in one setting. ...more
Adam Stone
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This collection kept coming up in my feed, and I enjoy and respect many of the poets in this collection, so I decided to get my own copy.

Not just a collection of poetry about gun violence, but also some micro-essay responses by victims of gun violence. The essays are precisely the right length for a poetry collection, in that none of them stretch beyond a page.

Like the poems, some of the essays are of varying qualities. Some preachy and self-indulgent, and some of them cringe-inducing and poorly
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Published in 2017, this book pre-dates half a dozen more incidents of gun violence on a mass scale across the country that underline its importance. This is a collection of new or relevant poems that cover all facets of gun violence from the perpetrator to the victim to those left behind to mourn or try to make sense of the tragedy. Each poem has a personal reflective response from someone whose life has been impacted by gun violence, "a call-and-response format, a church of the possible."It is ...more
Samantha Kolber
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A must-read! This book is the most thoughtful, intentional anthology on the market today. Each contributor nails the message - a personal cry on gun violence. Have tissues handy and be ready to be moved.

Event plug: Bear Pond Books presents a reading Friday, Nov. 2 at the Unitarian Church in Montpelier, Vt., with poets Major Jackson, Brian Clements, Matthew Olzmann, and Kerrin McCadden, and survivors Abbey Clements, GunSens VT Executive Director Clai Lasher-Sommers, and a representative of Moms D
Jerome Maida
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it
A decent book of poems on gun violence. What keeps this from being great is 95% of the poems are ant-gun and many go into tired tropes about racism. This is especially disappointing, since the book is billed as just dealing with all the aspects of violence. it further undermines it's supposed mission by having ant-gun zealots like Shannon watts TELL you what each poem means to them - thus reinforcing that you are being told what to think - rather than letting the reader interpret the poems on th ...more
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This collection of poems on gun violence includes poem interpretation and commentary meant to make the case for gun control in America. While not everyone will agree with the premises presented, the book provides another avenue to open discussion on what drives the want for control or no control of weapons.

I was randomly chosen to receive this book. I was under no obligation to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Tom Romig
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A moving and timely collection of poems relating to gun violence and its devastating consequences. Often more striking than the poems themselves are the comments that follow every poem. These comments, most written by people who have lost loved ones to the carnage, describe not only staggering pain and emptiness but also the steely resolve to work for change.
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poets wrote poems about a variety of aspects of gun violence (mass shootings, accidental deaths of children, domestic violence, suicide) and people who were impacted by violence, including many who have become anti-gun activists, respond. Powerful, thought-provoking. I like that Beacon Press offered it for free.
Maryann Gestwicki
Dec 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"What poetry can do is untangle some of the facts and reveal the human tissue underneath." I love this quote in the book.

Each poem is deep, meaningful in its own way. Full of spirit and life with a heart full of sadness and pain including sad events and moments that replay on our minds. I liked all the poems.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book went back and forth between poems and responses about gun violence in the United States. It was moving and thought provoking. It is hard to comprehend the number of people effected by gun violence.
Nov 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing, powerful, painful and well worth reading. Each poem is followed by a brief paragraph or two by someone who is affected by and works with those affected by violence in this country. The collection if brilliant and strong from beginning to end.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the poetry more than the essays.
Saruuh Kelsey
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: other, read-in-2018
I'm actually not sure how to review this. It's one of those books that are so vital to read and strike such an emotional chord but you can't really put into words. ...more
Sep 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Bullet points

the bullet in its hunger
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Combine editions 2 15 Dec 08, 2017 02:31AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • I Hope This Finds You Well
  • Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?
  • What's in Your Pocket?: Collecting Nature's Treasures
  • When We Cease to Understand the World
  • The Hurting Kind: Poems
  • How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America
  • My Monticello
  • City on Fire
  • How to Fly in Ten Thousand Easy Lessons
  • Smile: The Story of a Face
  • Ain't Burned All the Bright
  • To Hell with the Hustle
  • Day Unto Day: Poems
  • A Burst of Light
  • When Angels Speak of Love
  • The Trees
  • No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America
  • How to Not Die Alone: The Surprising Science That Will Help You Find Love
See similar books…

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
40 likes · 5 comments
“American police terrorism was created to control the black and brown people of slavery. This remains vivid today. We need change across this country and accountability for our loved ones whose lives have been stolen by American terrorism. Who will govern the government when they continue to murder American citizens? Injustice in this country is pitiful and pathetic. The injustice starts with economics, education, and politicians.” 0 likes
“If you speak, you die. If you keep quiet, you die. So, speak and die.” 0 likes
More quotes…