Elegy Owed

Elegy Owed

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, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781556594380
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
Publication date: 09/09/2014
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About 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.

Table of Contents

Pilgrimage 3

Elegy with lies 4

The days are getting longer 5

O 7

The story of 5:33 8

Knockturn 10

Good-bye, topspin 12

Elegy to hunger 14

Coming to life 15

Ode to magic 16

Pre-planning 18

I ah g 20

Sound scape 21

You name this one 22

A request 24

One of those things we say 25

Making do 27

The gift 31

Listen 32

A country mapped with invisible ink 33

Elegy to unnamed sources 35

The missing 37

Some recent weather 40

Born again 41

Scarecrow overhears himself thinking 44

Elegy's 45

Desire 46

Take care 48

Obituary for the middle class 50

Song of the recital 51

Leave a message 52

Blue prints 53

What the great apes refer to as a philosophy of life 55

The order of things 59

How we came to live where we live 60

The heart of the soul of the gist of the matter 62

To speak somewhat figuratively for S. 63

Absence makes the heart. That's it: absence makes the heart. 65

A very small bible 66

Notes for a time capsule 67

Another holiday has come and gone 69

Ink 70

Shed and dream 72

You can never step into the same not going home again twice 73

A poem that wanted to be a letter but didn't know how 75

Owe is to ode as whatever is to I don't know 77

Ode to ongoing 78

Elegy to the time it takes to realize the futility of elegies 81

Love 82

Elegy ode 83

Confessions of a nature lover 85

Circles in the sky 86

Something like an oath 88

Elegy owed 90

Missing 91

As I was saying 93

Speaking American 95

Moving day 97

Excerpts from mourning 99

Life 101

Sunny, infinite chance of rain 102

In lieu of building a crib 104

Equine aubade 105

I tell myself the future 107

Good-bye 108

About the Author 111

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