No Planets Strike / Edition 1

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Overview


No Planets Strike, the debut collection of poetry by Josh Bell, reads as a playfully serious record of modernity. Subversive in their treatment of the contemporary voice, broad in their subject matter, and often delightfully funny, the poems in this collection have a brilliant ear language.
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Editorial Reviews

John Ashbery
"Edgy in both senses of the word. Josh Bell populates his daft American heartland with the runaway muse Ramona and her clones. The resulting landscapes are as dangerous, funny, and drop-dead gorgeous as those in a Road Runner cartoon."

-John Ashbery

Calvin Bedient
"Josh sings as if he had both a feather and a pistol held to his throat-objects that somehow (so absurd and surreal is his world) merge into the same provocation. He's tickled and he's frightened; he's at once hilariously and seriously voluble. Reeling from a sense that the universe cudgels us (that most contemporary of feelings), he yet boasts, rightfully, of his devices, which, wrongly, he calls 'rusted.' Everywhere in this dazzling collection he vindicates the idea that 'we're at the fingertips / of so much force; it makes us / feel like singing.'"

-Calvin Bedient

Cate Marvin
"This is not a book for the agoraphobic, the acrophobic, or the erotophobic: Josh Bell's fierceness of wit, his deft lyricism, his ability to swing adroitly between dictions high and low, combine to create a world that is savage and irreverent, yet fraught with longings spiritual and corporeal."

-Cate Marvin

Jorie Graham
"Josh Bell's No Planets Strike is a scary and deeply moving voyage through a wide spectrum of very American self-confrontation. With a voice that can move easily across many dialects and moods-a voice that can mutter, 'Ramona, I can't sleep, I shot / too many Indians. I shot and shot / but they wouldn't fall down'-this powerful first collection reminds us of all that is untranslatably American in our experience, as well as our language. It is a mesmerizing tonal range Bell achieves-'reach[ing] for the sky'-being grounded down by a reality of deep psychic and national orphanhood, one that is, as well, bravely clear-headed, capable of grief without self-pity, filled with dark humor-sassy, witty, caustic, dying to love and be loved, trying not to sell out to powers visible and invisible. This is a speaker who has seem too much, felt too much, who cannot bear much more, but who still believes in us, and in his job, enough to try to bring back an accurate report from the large and the small broken heart."

-Jorie Graham

Boston Book Review - Tanya Larkin

“Bell delivers on his promise to ‘burn the very Latin from the world,’ insisting on grief-stricken gutturals often undercut by wry or Dadaist humor that prove him to be one of the most tonally versatile young poets working today.”—Tanya Larkin, Boston Book Review
John Ashbery

“Edgy in both senses of the word. Josh Bell populates his daft American heartland with the runaway muse Ramona and her clones. The resulting landscapes are as dangerous, funny, and drop-dead gorgeous as those in a Road Runner cartoon.”—John Ashbery
Calvin Bedient

“Josh sings as if he had both a feather and a pistol held to his throat—objects that somehow (so absurd and surreal is his world) merge into the same provocation. He’s tickled and he’s frightened; he’s at once hilariously and seriously voluble. Reeling from a sense that the universe cudgels us (that most contemporary of feelings), he yet boasts, rightfully, of his devices, which, wrongly, he calls ‘rusted.’ Everywhere in this dazzling collection he vindicates the idea that ‘we’re at the fingertips / of so much force; it makes us / feel like singing.’”—Calvin Bedient
Cate Marvin

“This is not a book for the agoraphobic, the acrophobic, or the erotophobic: Josh Bell’s fierceness of wit, his deft lyricism, his ability to swing adroitly between dictions high and low, combine to create a world that is savage and irreverent, yet fraught with longings spiritual and corporeal.”—Cate Marvin
Jorie Graham

“Josh Bell’s No Planets Strike is a scary and deeply moving voyage through a wide spectrum of very American self-confrontation. With a voice that can move easily across many dialects and moods—a voice that can mutter, ‘Ramona, I can’t sleep, I shot / too many Indians. I shot and shot / but they wouldn’t fall down’—this powerful first collection reminds us of all that is untranslatably American in our experience, as well as our language. It is a mesmerizing tonal range Bell achieves—‘reach[ing] for the sky’—being grounded down by a reality of deep psychic and national orphanhood, one that is, as well, bravely clear-headed, capable of grief without self-pity, filled with dark humor—sassy, witty, caustic, dying to love and be loved, trying not to sell out to powers visible and invisible. This is a speaker who has seem too much, felt too much, who cannot bear much more, but who still believes in us, and in his job, enough to try to bring back an accurate report from the large and the small broken heart.”—Jorie Graham
Boston Book Review

“Bell delivers on his promise to ‘burn the very Latin from the world,’ insisting on grief-stricken gutturals often undercut by wry or Dadaist humor that prove him to be one of the most tonally versatile young poets working today.”—Tanya Larkin, Boston Book Review

— Tanya Larkin

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803220409
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 1,006,491
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Josh Bell is a lecturer in the creative writing program at Columbia University while he completes his dissertation for the University of Cincinnati. His poems have appeared in 9th Letter, Boston Review, Hotel Amerika, Indiana Review, Triquarterly, Verse, and Volt.
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Table of Contents

Coming attractions 1
The beautiful American poem 3
Sleeping with Artemis 4
Zombie Sunday 5
A meditation concerned with what you might be meditating about, Ramona 7
My week as a pornographic film queen 8
Dear song 10
Zombie Sunday (the dear reader version) 12
War poem 14
Poem to line my casket with, Ramona 15
Zombie Sunday (the epic version) 16
The horse leech's daughter 17
Zombie Sunday (had we but world enough and time) 19
Poem voted most likely 21
Zombie Sunday 22
Love double-wide (your love is like a bad tattoo) 25
Pantoum for Houston (director's cut) 27
Sheriff, you forgot yer hat 28
Milk division 29
In my oft-quoted Guide to clouds and weather, Ramona 30
Surviving love 32
Zombie Sunday 33
Sleeping with waitresses 34
Meditation on insomnia 35
Drugstore 37
Zombie Sunday 38
Sleeping with J. A. 41
First, second, twenty-fifth, and thirty-ninth lines courtesy of Thomas Campion 43
Poem against Matt Guenette's ex-girlfriend 45
The care and feeding of mermaids 47
Space dementia 49
Epithalamion, ex post facto 50
Watching poetry readings on videotape in apartment #5 54
Ramona's theme 57
Notes for a movie entitled Revenge of the necrophiliacs 58
Sleeping with Julia Roberts 59
Zombie Sunday (a short poetical history of spring) 61
Ramona ex machina 63
Zombie Sunday 65
Cyborg 67
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2005

    Striking

    These poems hold themselves to the highest standards with a brilliance so steady & strong it's quite nearly planetary. Yet they never let their big, bright brains completely eclipse their heavy and knowing hearts. This book is not only a stand-up amongst first books, but amongst most books.

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