No Planets Strike


No Planets Strike

Josh Bell

80 pages


September 2008


$15.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

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.

Author Bio

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.


“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

Table of Contents

Coming Attractions
The Beautiful American Poem
Sleeping with Artemis
Zombie Sunday
A Meditation Concerned with What You Might Be Meditating About, Ramona
My Week as a Pornographic Film Queen
Dear Song
Zombie Sunday (The Dear Reader Version)
War Poem
Poem to Line My Casket with, Ramona
Zombie Sunday (The Epic Version)
The Horse Leech's Daughter
Zombie Sunday (Had We but World Enough and Time)
Poem Voted Most Likely
Zombie Sunday
Love Double-Wide (Your Love Is Like a Bad Tattoo)
Pantoum for Houston (Director's Cut)
Sheriff, You Forgot Yer Hat
Milk Division
In My Oft-Quoted Guide to Clouds and Weather, Ramona
Surviving Love
Zombie Sunday
Sleeping with Waitresses
Meditation on Insomnia
Zombie Sunday
Sleeping with J.A.
First, Second, Twenty-Fifth, and Thirty-Ninth Lines Courtesy of Thomas Campion
Poem against Matt Guenette's Ex-Girlfriend
The Care and Feeding of Mermaids
Space Dementia
Epithalamion, Ex Post Facto
Watching Poetry Readings on Videotape in Apartment #5
Ramona's Theme
Notes for a Movie Entitled Revenge of the Necrophiliacs
Sleeping with Julia Roberts
Zombie Sunday (A Short Poetical History of Spring)
Ramona Ex Machina
Zombie Sunday

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