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For Whom the Bell Tolls

Light and Dark Verse

Martin Bell OBE has been many things – an icon of BBC war reporting, Britain’s first independent MP for 50 years, a UNICEF ambassador, and ‘the man in the white suit’ – a tireless campaigner for honesty and accountability in politics.But as For Whom the Bell Tolls reveals, he’s also a poet of light verse, and here Bell’s poems continue his war by other means on duplicitous politicians, our all-consuming media, the venality of celebrity culture and much more. The earliest poem here was written when Martin was 19; the most recent cover the riots of August 2011, the phone-hacking scandal and the ‘Arab spring’.Oscillating between trenchant satire and touching honesty with often poignant autobiography spiced with gentle humour, Bell presents poems on Tony Blair and Iraq, on Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic, on his hero, Reuters reporter Kurt Schork, and colourful episodes from his work and life, from the chart-topping calypso written about him in St Lucia to his being a guest at Idi Amin’s wedding:‘…that by God / Was well worth doing, if distinctly odd.’