Bob Hicok was born in Grand Ledge, Michigan, in 1960 and worked for many years as an automotive die designer and a computer system administrator. He began teaching in 2002 and received an MFA from Vermont College in 2004.
Hicok’s first book of poetry, The Legend of Light (University of Wisconsin Press, 1995), received the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry and was named a 1997 American Library Association (ALA) Booklist Notable Book of the Year. His other poetry collections include Water Look Away (Copper Canyon Press, 2023); Sex & Love & (Copper Canyon Press, 2016); This Clumsy Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007), winner of the 2008 Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress; and Animal Soul (Invisible Cities Press, 2001), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Hicok writes poems that value speech and storytelling, that revel in the material offered by pop culture, and that deny categories, such as “academic” or “narrative.” In an interview in Gulf Coast, he elaborates, “Being open to all kinds of poems allows for a fuller range of expression and helps the poet write out of different kinds of moods and sensibilities.”
As the novelist Elizabeth Gaffney notes in the New York Times Book Review:
Each of Mr. Hicok’s poems is marked by the exalted moderation of his voice—erudition without pretension, wisdom without pontification, honesty devoid of confessional melodrama. . . . His judicious eye imbues even the dreadful with beauty and meaning.
Hicok is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. His poetry has been awarded three Pushcart Prizes and was selected for inclusion in five volumes of Best American Poetry. He currently teaches at Virginia Tech University and lives in Virginia.