Marvin Bell, 1937-2020

I write this in fits and starts, just adding things about Marvin as they come to mind, moving up and down the page. It’s strange to look at websites make the necessary update, the cementation that he is, in fact, gone. It’s a strange addition to the grieving process. A friend of mine who was in my first workshop with Marvin had said upon hearing the news of his passing, “I thought he’d live to 101.” I thought so too.

About that Speech

“I like X too, but…” or “I say this as a fan of X’s poetry…” or “I read X in high school and loved it…” or [insert your phrasing of choice here]. For any poet or color, it’s the necessary incantation before one can make any criticism, no matter how benign, of any white poet (dead or alive).

This isn’t paranoia. All one would need to do is look through Poetry Twitter right now and see this dance being performed by poets of color. And what is the criticism currently?