Bob Hicok is back again

by Jess

Oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man.

Okay, calm down.  Maintain.

Bob Hicok’s new book of poetry is out, by Pitt Poetry.  It’s called Words for Empty and Words for Full.  Here’s a review from Corduroy Books.

You may recall how much I love Hicok’s This Clumsy Living.  (Or you may not.  It doesn’t really matter.)

All that matters is that I’m about to order Words for Empty.  And then I’m going to read it.  And then I’m going to read it again.  And then I’m going to tell you all about it.

I have been waiting for this collection for quite a long time.  Hicok teaches at Virginia Tech, and the VT shooter was one of his students.  Several years ago, at Queens, Hicok read a chilling poem about the shooting.  The poems he wrote about the incident are collected in Words for Empty.  Here’s one of them (apologies: APR seems to have some weird formatting issues that are a little distracting).  And here’s another.

Hicok has a way of writing that is more like speaking than writing, and more like thinking than speaking, and it somehow simultaneously tickles your funny bone and pierces your heart.  Hicok owns language.  We borrow it for a while to say things like, “Are you going to eat the rest of that?” and, “I forgot to turn off the coffeepot,” but soon we have to give it back to him, because it’s all his and only he can make magic with it.

Read Bob Hicok’s poetry.  It’s one of the best things I know.