The Ways of Hicok

The poem “Happy Anniversary March 16th 2006” that we read as a class, chilled me with its honesty and its biting satirical observation of war, and society.  As I read the rest of Hicok’s collection in The New American Poetry of Engagement, I realized all of his poems touched on violence, war, and hiding from the ugly. 

I decided to research Hicok to uncover where he gets his inspiration, and if he has any personal ties to war. I am not sure that I found answers to the second question, however,  in a description of his work, there was a piece pertaining to an interview he had held with Laura McCullough essentially inquiring about his style of writing. Hicok replied, “Because I don’t know where a poem is headed when I start, it seems that revelation has to play a central part in the poems, that what I’m most consistently doing is trying to understand why something is on my mind… Maybe writing is nothing more than an inquiry into presences.”


I find this quote to be unraveling.  Reading over his poems in our class text, it appears as though all of his poems take on this loop structure. For instance, they are all about one experience, or one event, however his thoughts diverge to glorify small segments of the circle, this is especially found in the poem “Troubled Times”. To exemplify this loop formation would be to travel too in depth. For there are so many ways to take it. But I think that by reading this quote and then reading Hicok, readers will be provided with a more complex reading of his poetry, and in a different light, will have an easier time stepping through what is going on.

site where the quote originated: Bob Hicok: The Poetry Foundation

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1 Response to The Ways of Hicok

  1. Carmen Puchulu says:

    I feel (from personal experience) a lot of poetry is trying to understand what is on a persons mind and that sometimes, a poet has no idea how a poem is going to turn out. What happens afterwards is that the poet goes back and actually makes sense of what they wrote and make it better. Poems go though a ton (or at least I think that they all) of editing.
    As for the loop (rotary, if you’ve read “The Things They Carried”), I think we all tend to do that in our own heads, which is why I really like how Hicok writes his poems.

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