Bob Hicok’s Red Rover Red Rover is joyous and macabre, hopeful and morbid, caring and critical. These poems are apocalyptic in tone but tender in their depiction of dying animals, disappearing water, raging fires, and the humans to blame. He calls attention to the dire costs of modern conveniences and begs for our willingness to change. No subject is too high or low for his wide-sweeping gaze, a comfort with extremes that gives his work the quality of an embrace. Threads of humor, romance, and kindness suggest America’s capacity to transcend the disastrous present: “heaven’s everywhere / someone needs a place to rest // and someone else says, / Come in.” Hicok presents a high-stakes game of survival and connection.
“Even in a bad year, Hicok seems to have the medication to treat it, approaching all of the challenges that face us with the gentle humor for which he has long been known…There’s hope here, and sadness here, and fear here, and anger here, and charm here, in just the right proportion of potion to let the reader know that this work is right here, with all of us, that the author is right here, with all of us, that we can almost believe him, and that we can still be thankful for this medication, for our many reasons to live, and for our many ways to do so.”—New York Journal of Books