Bob Hicok Interview

I did some more research on Bob Hickok, the author of Happy Anniversary. I found an interview with him on a website that allows people to submit questions. It is an interesting interview with lots of different questions.

One of questions that he answered was this:

Occasionally in your poetry you touch on political events. Do these events (ones such as 911) then motivate you to want to write more topical poems? Thanks for answering and thanks to SP for hosting.

Mike Busch — California

Less over time. Topical poetry almost never works. If I write, say, about war, I’m more likely to write something allegorical, something not tied to, I don’t know, Iraq.


I guess what he means by this is that he doesn’t write about specific topical events. I don’t fully understand his answer really. If he says topical poetry almost never works why does he write about Iraq? Isn’t that topical? Why does he have multiple poems published in the book we are reading if he doesn’t write about topical events?

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2 Responses to Bob Hicok Interview

  1. Kristen Woodside says:

    I don’t think I really understand his response either, but I somewhat connect it to the second line of “Happy Anniversary,” when he says, “This is a brand of minimalism: there are many wars.” Maybe he considers war not to be a topical subject, but a specific war, like Iraq, would be topical. To me, it seemed like he wrote with the specific intention of talking about “war,” not “the war.” But I am not totally sure then where the allegory that he mentions fits in. This is a really interesting response to the question.

  2. Madeline Cahill says:

    I too see a hint of denial in his response. Maybe he made this statement to describe what he strives for. His poem “Happy Anniversary” and “Full Flight” are two topical poems, but I think the other poems in the collection are less specific. I think the best example is “In the Loop” he talks about school shootings and guns, but offers no hint to any specific shooting.

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