Micro-Interview with Josh Bell

JOSH BELL teaches at Harvard University and is the author of No Planets Strike and Alamo Theory. He has taught for the MFA programs at Columbia University and the University of Iowa and has sometimes served as poetry liaison to Cosmopolitan magazine.

Josh Bell’s poem, “And a White Sow for Juno on Tuesday,” was originally featured in Issue 14.1, 2002.


Click here to view as a pdf.

Your poem, “And a White Sow for Juno on Tuesday,” was first featured with us in Issue 14.1, 2002. Can you tell us a bit about how your writing has changed since then?

I don’t think I’m as giddy as I used to be? But the same epic intent, there with Achilles in the Juno poem, still follows me around.

If you could go back to when the issue came out, what advice would you give yourself then?

“Dear Josh,” I would say, “it’s not necessary to use ALL of the words in the dictionary.”

How important was submitting to literary journals at the beginning of your career?

Getting published in Sycamore Review was SO important to me. I hadn’t been published a lot then. It felt like confirmation that I was doing the right thing.

Who are you reading now?

Speaking of epic intent, I just “discovered” Michelle Gil-Montero’s translation of Valerie Mejer Caso’s long poem This Blue Novel. “The sea is the spitting image of this sleeping girl/and nothing like Texas.” Caso is patient and wild at the same time and I’m learning a lot from her.

from Issue 30.1