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Elegy Owed

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  156 ratings  ·  21 reviews
National Book Critics Circle Award finalist

“[Elegy Owed is 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, starre
Hardcover, 120 pages
Published April 9th 2013 by Copper Canyon Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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This is something against the idea that poetry should sing or poetry should trouble or poetry should deconstruct or poetry should...should...defenestrate?

What I mean is, three weeks after hearing the author read, I still remember something about his wife's feet the day I heard the reading. I can not say the same about my own feet, or my own (well I don't have a wife). And I can say the feeling I associated with his wife's feet, at say sometime between 8-9 pm on that Monday evening: tenderness,
I can't believe I didn't review this already. It was my introduction to Hicok and my favorite out of all the poetry I read for poetry class last semester. It's the only one I bought and kept and plan to re-read.
Bob Hicok very well might be my new favorite poet. I've taught his poem, "Alzheimer's" in my class for many years, admired his work, but never gotten my hands on one his collections.

Hicok's poetry exhibits almost everything I want my own work to do. He is funny, accessible, quirky, deeply profound, surprising, surreal, philosophical, and irreverent---often all in the same poem. For instance, in "O," watch how Hicok swerves between sacred and profane, high and low but always with the promise of s
Patricia Murphy
You know how people always ask a poet who their favorite poets are? Well, I have an easy enough answer there. Bob Hicok has been on my list for years. I first heard his work at an off-site reading at AWP Chicago and I was instantly hooked by his intelligent yet emotionally charged poems. As I've said before, there's no reason we all can't have a little fun even though we are writing/reading poems. I adore Bob's sense of humor.

He does things with poems that are equivalent to magic tricks--he surp
I like the humor and matter-of-fact tone of a lot of the sixty-five poems in this book, like the great simile below, which comes from "How we came to live where we live":

as when you stand before a painting
in a museum for as long as you hope
says something good about you, even
when you're not sure what that good thing is,
that you're considerate of red or appreciate
the historical significance of the brocade
or know that the woman in the foreground
holding the scythe was the painter's lover

Many of th
Jerry Oliver
This book of poems was devastatingly beautiful. No other description is suffice. Just read it if you dig excellent original poetry.
Dan Rimoldi
I'm becoming quite a big fan of Bob Hicok. I first came across him via this poem he wrote about the Virginia Tech shooting (he teaches there).

I've now read his latest poetry collection, Elegy Owed, and realized he writes some really terrific poetry on the subject of death and loss. The important thing to note is that it is not writing about death in a depressing or self-pitying way. That would be boring. This poetry is honest, powerful, and thoughtful. Also, he's very accessible for those of you
Musings on death and loss and aspects of enduring

Bob Hicok surprises us on every page of this latest collection of his poems. He deals with death and mourning in his own language, his own perspective and the result is some of the more initially tough and yet beautifully constructed poems we are finding at the moment. Some background: Bob Hicok is an American poet, born in 1960. He currently is an associate professor of creative writing at Virginia Tech. He is from Michigan and before teaching ow
Aseem Kaul
Quite possibly Hicok's best book yet. I've always admired Hicok for the way his poems are always surprising, always unexpected, the way they make connections that seem bizarre until they turn out to be exactly right. Combine that kind of lyrical wit with an exuberance of language and you have one of the finest comic poets writing today.

In Elegy Owed, however, Hicok channels his considerable gifts into darker currents, creating poems that, while still fluid and sparkling on the surface, are tugg
Liz A.
His best book yet. The poems are devastating and brilliant.

"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 — pictures of your eyes
guarding your nose and the fire
you set by walking, picture of dawn
getting up early to enthrall your skin —"
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Hicok pulls all of the emotion into his poems with his juxtapositions of this thing and that thing. His poems are full of thingfulness. You can touch them. You can lick them. They taste all the ways you'd expect: sweet and bitter and salty and often like ink on paper.

In all honesty, I think Hicok is my favorite poet, and they way he takes images and lays them one next to another evoking all of the familiar losses I've experienced in my life rather astounds me.

I recommend taking this volume one p
Miriam Johnson
I put birds
in most poems and rivers, put rivers
in most birds and thinking, put the dead
in many sentences
blinking quietly, put missing
into bed with having, put wolves
in my mouth hunting whispers, put faith
in making, each poem a breath
nailed to nothing.
Patti K
This new collection of poetry by Hicok is very good. Many elegies of
varying degrees of sorrow. Strong powerful language and metaphors.
I enjoyed this book very much.
Nicole Testa
Hicok's ability to combine humor with discomfort, and with pain, and then also wrap those things in with beauty is remarkable, and very enjoyable, and often uncomfortable in the best way.
I came at this collection already heavy, wanting a good wringing out. This delivers. Man this delivers. Hicok's works are always such a strange mix of easy conversation, and the inscrutable dream-logic of symbols. This collection seems on a plane even more inscrutable than usual, as it weaves and bobs through death and other losses. Heavier fare than past collections, but losing none of its wit and whimsy. Very sweet and very alive. I keep meaning to read other poets but keep coming back to Bob.
Amorak Huey
"... Hicok’s new collection, Elegy Owed (Copper Canyon, 2013, 111 pp, $22), sets about that essential business of telling each other everything we can. ..."

You can read my full review at Wake.

Erica Wright
Sometimes I get nervous when I begin a new collection by a favorite poet, afraid of being disappointed. Elegy Owed is Hicok at his best, though. Whether tackling the personal or the political, each poem is a surprising combination of whimsy and insight.
Alan Caramatti
Hicok has a knack for throwing me off balance when I'm tempted to conclude "I see what he means" (making my interpretation into a canned belief) ... not in every poem, but often enough.
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Bob Hicok was born in 1960. His most recent collection, This Clumsy Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007), was awarded the 2008 Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress. His other books are Insomnia Diary (Pitt, 2004), Animal Soul (Invisible Cities Press, 2001),a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Plus Shipping (BOA, 1998), and The Legend of Light (University of Wiscons ...more
More about Bob Hicok...
This Clumsy Living Words for Empty and Words for Full Insomnia Diary Animal Soul (Contemporary Classics Poetry Series) The Legend of Light

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