Alamo Theory

by Josh Bell

Paperback, 2016

Call number

811 BEL



Copper Canyon Press (2016), 82 pages


"Bell's work is a concoction of the surreal and the hyper-real, the hilarious and the devastating."--The New Yorker "One of the most tonally versatile young poets working today."--Boston Review "In poems that look dense but read in a fluid, easy tumble, Bell offers [inAlamo Theory] characters and scenarios that border on the surreal ('no one's getting/ off this tractor alive, no one without/ a pod of vanilla, Stuck like a witch's/ finger in the throat') yet are grounded in everyday discontents ('Apologies/ to the inhabitants of the condo/ next to my condo'). The observations are arresting and almost witty, almost wry, and a character named Josh occasionally wanders along to engage with others. Fittingly, voice (and the voice box) feature thematically, as reading this work is like listening raptly to a verbose, intensely smart friend expatiate on life."--Library Journal "A contemporary knockout, Bell's poems run the gamut of good: they're seriously funny, bizarre, wry, ambitious, acrobatic, gorgeous. Sometimes they have zombies."--Flavorwire Joshua Bell's unnerving and darkly funny second collection of poems inhabits various personae--including a prominent series starring the garrulous and aging rock star Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe--through which he examines paranoid, misogynist, and murderous elements within contemporary American culture. Throughout are prose "movie poems" that feature zombies, a summer camp slasher, exorcism, and courtroom drama. From "The Creature": Like many humans, I enjoy lifting small, living things. Your wife qualifies, but doesn't like to be lifted. I guess it's probably because, as is true with many humans, your wife doesn't want to be eaten, and often we are lifted, by the bigger thing, right before it drops us on a rock and eats us. I understand, I say to your wife, lowering her body to the kitchen floor, her legs bending slowly as she takes back the weight I've returned to her, like an astronaut moving back into the gravity ofthe capsule... Josh Bellearned an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a PhD from the University of Cincinnati. He was a member of the creative writing faculty at Columbia University and is currently Briggs Copeland Lecturer at Harvard.… (more)

Library's review

Hmmm... There's undeniably some clever wordsmithing here. It just didn't connect with me most of the time.

User reviews

LibraryThing member bness2
Obviously some real work went into crafting these poems, but they are way too abstract and surreal for my taste. Parts of a few were something I could relate to, but there was little here I could say I enjoyed.




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