Nightworks: Poems 1962-2000
By Marvin Bell
During the past forty years Marvin Bell has been one of poetry’s true innovators. With each book his writing seems in constant motion, always developing ideas and exploring new literary territory. His voice changes not to fit current literary fashion, but to serve his art, to serve the wide—and often entertaining—range of subjects and ideas at the heart of his poems.
Nightworks is a refreshing retrospective on the distinguished poet and educator’s work. It collects poems from a dozen previous books—together with forty-two new poems—and makes available poems from volumes long out of print, including groundbreaking books such as The Escape Into You and National Book Award finalist Stars Which See, Stars Which Do Not See. It amply demonstrates why Bell’s poetic voice has been continually praised for its lucidity and eloquence, and has been rightly characterized as ambitious without pretension.
You are not beautiful, exactly.
You are beautiful, inexactly.
You let a weed grow by the mulberry
and a mulberry grow by the house.
So close, in the personal quiet
of a windy night, it brushes the wall
and sweeps away the day till we sleep.
A child said it, and it seemed true:
“Things that are lost are all equal.”
But it isn’t true. If I lost you,
the air wouldn’t move, nor the tree grow.
Someone would pull the weed, my flower.
The quiet wouldn’t be yours. If I lost you,
I’d have to ask the grass to let me sleep.
“One of our finest and most acclaimed poets.”—Booklist
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press; First Edition (September 1, 2000)
Paperback: 360 pages