poem index


Bob Hicok

Grand Ledge , MI , United States
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Bob Hicok

In 1960, Bob Hicok was born in Grand Ledge, Michigan. His most recent collection, Elegy Owed, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2014. This Clumsy Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007) was awarded the 2008 Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress. His other books are Insomnia Diary (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004); Animal Soul (Invisible Cities Press, 2001), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Plus Shipping (BOA Editions, 1998); and The Legend of Light (University of Wisconsin Press, 1995), which received the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry and was named a 1997 ALA Booklist Notable Book of the Year. Hicock has received three Pushcart Prizes, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts. His poetry has been selected for inclusion in five volumes of Best American Poetry.

Hicok writes poems that value speech and storytelling, that revel in the material offered by pop culture, and that deny categories such as "academic" or "narrative." As Elizabeth Gaffney wrote for the New York Times Book Review: "Each of Mr. Hicok's poems is marked by the exalted moderation of his voice—erudition without pretension, wisdom without pontification, honesty devoid of confessional melodrama. . . . His judicious eye imbues even the dreadful with beauty and meaning."

Hicok has worked as an automotive die designer and a computer system administrator and is currently an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

Elegy Owed (Copper Canyon Press, 2014)
This Clumsy Living (University of Pittburgh Press, 2007)
Insomnia Diary (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004)
Animal Soul (Invisible Cities Press, 2001)
Plus Shipping (BOA Editions, 1998)
The Legend of Light (University of Wisconsin Press, 1995)

by this poet

A bee in the field. The house on the mountain 
reveals itself to have been there through summer. 
It's not a bee but a horse eating frosted grass 
in the yawn light. Secrets, the anguish of smoke 
above the chimney as it shreds what it's learned 
of fire. The horse has moved, it's not a horse 
but a woman doing

I don't have much time. I'm an important person
to chickadees and mourning doves, whose feeder 
was smashed last night by a raccoon. Soon 
I'll be wielding duct tape, noticing the dew, 
wanting to bathe in it, hoping the awkwardness 
of yesterday (three instances of people talking
A few hours after Des Moines
the toilet overflowed.
This wasn't the adventure it sounds.

I sat with a man whose tattoos
weighed more than I did.
He played Hendrix on mouth guitar.
His Electric Ladyland lips
weren't fast enough
and if pitch and melody
are the rudiments of music,
this was just
memory, a body