Marvin Bell is an American poet and teacher who was the first Poet Laureate of the state of Iowa.
Bell was raised in Center Moriches, Long Island. He served in the U. S. Army from 1964 to 1965 at the rank of First Lieutenant. He earned his bachelor's degree from Alfred University, his master's degree from the University of Chicago, and an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.
He is the author of more than 20 books of poetry, including The Book of the Dead Man, Ardor: The Book of the Dead Man, Vol. 2, Nightworks: Poems 1962-2000, Mars Being Red, and Vertigo: The Living Dead Man Poems.
Bell's first nationally distributed book, A Probable Volume of Dreams, was awarded the Lamont Poetry Prize of the Academy of American Poets in 1969. Other honors for his work include Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and Fulbright appointments to Yugoslavia and Australia. In 2000 Bell was appointed the first Poet Laureate for the state of Iowa.
Bell taught forty years for the Iowa Writers' Workshop, retiring as the Flannery O'Connor Professor of Letters. He is currently an emeritus faculty member. Over a long career, Bell has held numerous visiting lectureships at universities, including Goddard College, Oregon State University, the University of Hawaii, Wichita State University, Portland State University, and the University of Washington. He currently serves on the faculty of the Master of Fine Arts in Writing program at Pacific University in Oregon.