Marvin Bell has been called "an insider who thinks like an outsider," and his writing has been called "ambitious without pretension." He was for many years the Flannery O'Connor Professor of Letters at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and served two terms as the state of Iowa's first Poet Laureate. He has collaborated with composers, musicians, dancers and other writers, and is the originator of a form known as the "Dead Man" poem. His 23 books of poetry and essays include three books released in 2011: Vertigo: The Living Dead Man Poems, from Copper Canyon Press; Whiteout, a collaboration with the photographer Nathan Lyons, from Lodima Press; and a children's picture book from Candlewick Press (illustrations by Chris Raschka) based on the poem, "A Primer about the Flag." A CD is forthcoming of a song cycle, "The Animals," commissioned by the composer, David Gompper, which premiered in 2009. Mr. Bell lives mainly in Iowa City, Iowa, and Port Townsend, Washington. One can see a brief interview with him about writing in the "On the Fly" series at: YouTube.