Elegy Owed

Bob Hicock

When asked in an interview with Gulf Coast, “What would Bob Hicok launch from a giant sling shot?” he answered, “Bob Hicok.” Elegy Owed 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.

ISBN: 9781556594380

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Bob Hicok’s ninth collection, Hold, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2018. A two-time finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and recipient of the Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress, he’s also been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and eight Pushcart Prizes, and his poems have been selected for inclusion in nine volumes of The Best American Poetry. He teaches at Virginia Tech.

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“What Hicok’s getting at is both the necessity and the inadequacy of language, the very bluntness of which (talk about a paradox) makes it all the more essential that we engage with it as a precision instrument, a force of clarity, of (at times) awful grace.” —Los Angeles Times

“[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 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.” —Publishers Weekly