Bob Hicok's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, and The American Poetry Review. His books include This Clumsy Living (University of Pittsburgh, 2007), which was awarded the 2008 Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress, and The Legend of Light (University of Wisconsin, 1995), which was named a "Notable Book of the Year" by Booklist. Hicok has worked as an automotive die designer and a computer system administrator, and is currently an Associate Professor of English at Virginia Tech. He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia.
When asked in an interview with Gulf Coast, “What would Bob Hicok launch from a giant sling shot?” he answered, “Bob Hicok.” Elegy Owed, Hicok’s eighth book, is an existential game of Twister in which the rules of mourning are broken and salvaged, and “you can never step into the same not going home again twice.” His poems are the messenger at the door, the unwanted telegram—telling a joke, imparting a depth of longing, returning us finally to a different kind of normality where “the dead have no ears, no answering machines / that we know of, still we call.” There is grief in these poems, but it is a grief large enough for odd awakenings and the unexpected, a grief enlarged by music, color, and joy as well as sober wisdom.
"[A] fluid, absorbing new collection... Hicok gives readers unexpected conjunctions and oddly offbeat thoughts, most darkly whimsical, and has us embrace them wholeheartedly. If he can survive the scary carnival that is this world, we can, too. Highly recommended for a wide range of readers."
—Library Journal, starred review
"Hicok's poems are like boomerangs: they jut out in wild, associative directions, yet find their way back to the root of the matter, often in sincere and heartbreaking ways. Hicok’s poems about mortality and loss take on a vibrancy of their own, with a rhythm and humor that seems to fall into place by mere, desperate momentum."
"Hicok is funny as hell, in Blake's sense of the infernal: irreverent, anarchic, undeceived.... He is one of our premier anatomists of contemporary American life, and a wildly refreshing, necessary poet."
Copper Canyon Press