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review Animal Soul Contemporary Classics Poetry Series 103 » Chosen alongside celebrated poets Louise Glück and Czeslaw Milosz Bob Hicok’s Animal Soul was the standout surprise of the 2002 National Book Critics Circle Award nominations According to author David Wojahn a three time winner of the Pushcart Prize this collection of p“is the best collection yet by a poet who has become one of the most individual and necessary voices of his generation An almost prophetic rage seems to inhabit these poems which present us with a speaker who is tender and brutally rueful by turns Bob Hicok asks to be a voic. May 19 2004A Palpable Intimacy The thing I like most about Bob Hicok’s Animal Soul is that you can turn to any page and be enchanted by ideas images and the indelible heart of the poet The title is memorable and lovely— it speaks of two things—our animal nature and our spiritual essence which points to the whole issue of human embodiment Hicok comes to our all too human party as the Guru of All Things Apparently Whimsical but the depth of Hicok’s whims can’t be measured He also steps onto each page as the Silent Sage of This Very Moment Hicok invites the reader into the volume with an aptly and reverentially titled poem “Whither Thou Goest” The poem has a no matter whatness to it the I in the poem has his issues and so does the unnamed thou but through the mercy of the bond he promises to be there conspicuously mad in his devotion On a provocative literary level the poem is written to Thou the reader which is a pretty nice way to be greeted Ultimately this poet in this volume of poetry is the the foolish seeker and elouent finder of miracles and it’s perfectly obvious he wants to tell you about all of them Ironically yet appropriately structure of this radiant volume is straightforward A provocative telling cover the head of a man or a manneuin with spiral lenses in his glasses A meaningful title A contents page broken into four distinct sections Sections I III have 8 poems Section IV has 10 poems An appropriate epigram about an I persona trying to remember the name of an animal that sings in the water and other people making suggestions but then I remembers Sirens which of course are semi human seductresses whose songs destroy those who seek their source Thematically sirens bear significant metaphoric weight because the very last line in the book is an invocation of the I to include You into not reaching for the vowel but to give silence back Brilliant

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Chosen alongside celebrated poets Louise Glück and Czeslaw Milosz Bob Hicok’s Animal Soul was the standout surprise of the 2002 National Book Critics Circle Award nominations According to author David Wojahn a three time winner of the Pushcart Prize this collection of poetry. This was the book that started getting Hicok a larger audience I was able to write something about this and about Hicok's changing reputation back in 2002

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Animal Soul Contemporary Classics Poetry SeriesE of conscience in a conscience less world And like all true prophets his rage and consternation in the end transform themselves into a form of prayer what one of his poems calls a ‘mad devotion’ Hicok is able to instruct and console us and that is a very rare thing indeed?. Powerful meditations on the monstrous as a mix of human and animal gone slightly but not perhaps irreparably wrong