Poet Marvin Bell on Politics and Aging

Marvin Bell is now retired from teaching poetry at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, but this wordsmith isn't slowing down. His nineteenth book, Mars Being Red, is a gutsy meditation on politics and aging. In "I Didn't Sleep," we read "I thought maybe I could sleep after the war / or catch a nap after the next election." And from "Assisted Living Quarters," Bell observes "All / the mothers have seventy-year-old babies." These are difficult themes for poems without coming across preachy or trite. Bell succeeds with measured doses of humor and grace, surprise and anger, and a fearless spirit.