Elegy Owed

Elegy Owed

5.0 9
by Bob Hicok
     
 

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National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.

Paterson Award for Literary Excellence.

"What Hicok's getting at [in Elegy Owed] 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

Overview

National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.

Paterson Award for Literary Excellence.

"What Hicok's getting at [in Elegy Owed] 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. . . . Highly recommended."—Library Journal, starred review

When asked in an interview "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."

From "Notes for a time capsule":

The twig in. I'll put the twig in I carry in my pocket
and my pocket and my eye, my left eye. A cup
of the Ganges and the bacteria from shit
in the Ganges and the anyway ablutions of rainbow-
robed Hindus in the Ganges. The dawnline of the mountain
with contrail above like an accent in a language
too large for my mouth. A mirror
so whoever opens the past will see themselves
in the past and fall back from their face
speaking to them across centuries or hours
or the nearnevers . . .

Bob Hicok's worked as an automotive die designer and a computer system administrator before becoming an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech. He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia.


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. His seventh book is hefty, containing poems in which a man can chop down wind, or “feel up” silence, though mostly this book explores death, the “lit fuse trailing each of us.” Yet 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. Language and memory haunt him, they “never/ let the living let the dead die.” His title poem opens with the statement, “in other languages/ you are beautiful— mort, muerto— I wish/ I spoke moon, I wish the bottom of the ocean/ were sitting in that chair playing cards/ and noticing how famous you are/ on my cell phone.” The next poem, “Missing,” acknowledges his tendency to spiral into a random, nonsensical whimsy that at times feels forced: “Imagination says things like that/ without knowing what they mean.” “The dark is my favorite suit to wear,” Hicok says, and he means it. It’s with a bitter humor that he observes how “God does these things like send us halfway out/ on a rope-bridge before telling us/ He’s changed His mind about rope,/ it shouldn’t exist, it’s not going to exist.” (Apr.)
Library Journal
The easiest way to talk about the poetry of Bobbitt Prize winner Hicok (Words for Empty and Words for Full) is simply to quote it, and here are some choice lines. "My heart/ is whatever temperature a heart is/ in a man who doesn't believe in heaven." "The birds I feed seed every morning/ never thank me/ I tell them on my mother." "I wanted// to reverse my vasectomy on the spot and have a child with the moon." "Life has taken my cartilage and left me a biography of André Breton." "Others…are often sharp/ in my experience and pointy/ people are like scissors." And those are from just the first few poems of his fluid, absorbing new collection. Clearly, this is not over-earnest poetry. But it's not exactly laugh-out-loud poetry either; there's a difference between humor and a crafted absurdity that captures the not-so-crafted, aching ridiculousness of life. 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. VERDICT Highly recommended for a wide range of readers.—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781619320840
Publisher:
Copper Canyon Press
Publication date:
04/23/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
120
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Bob Hicok: Bob Hicok's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, and The American Poetry Review. His books include This Clumsy Living (Univ. Pittsburgh, 2007), which was awarded the 2008 Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress, and The Legend of Light (Univ. 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.

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Elegy Owed 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*Walks in*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is Sewoa dead?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yeah!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looks around.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"And who might you be?" Her red eyes glinted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sits
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zero didm't leave... gtgtb bbt.