Cover image for Insomnia diary
Insomnia diary
Hicok, Bob, 1960-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Pittsburgh, Pa. : University of Pittsburgh Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
86 pages ; 23 cm.
Bottom of the ocean -- Small purchase -- The semantics of flowers on Memorial Day -- Dropping the euphemism -- Calling him back from layoff -- My life with a gardener -- Meeting Bill -- An old story -- The documentary art -- Becoming bird -- Another awkward stage of convalescence -- The bald truth -- After working sixty hours again for what reason -- Oath to my former life -- Spirit ditty of no fax-line dial tone -- Insomnia diary -- Go Greyhound -- Finally opening the anthology to Kunitz -- Free-floating anxiety sounds like a pretty balloon -- Tuesday's walk -- 1935 -- American studies -- Sur Coast diary -- Capital crime -- Now and then I am direct -- Growing at the speed of fashion -- Bars poetica -- Translator's note -- Echo -- Mortal shower -- Meteor shower -- Building a painting a home -- Commission by attrition -- Goodbye in the shape of a knot -- The edge -- Radical neck -- It's not so much the heat as the stupidity -- Cure for the common cold -- Cutting edge -- Truth about love -- Shopping at the ocean.
Subject Term:
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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3558.I28 I37 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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His fourth collection, Hicok's poetry is edgy, irreverent, witty, humorous--and filled with unexpected turns.

Author Notes

Bob Hicok teaches creative writing at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, and his poetry has appeared in numerous publications, including Poetry, Paris Review, and the New Yorker. He is the author of The Legend of Light, which won the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, and Animal Soul, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

"It's late and I've stayed up to miss you," Hicok writes, in his customary plain speech. "A man on TV's playing lute with dirty fingernails." In his fourth collection, Hicok writes with a newfound maturity and an appealing lack of obsession with self, examining the joys and pains (mostly pains) of ordinary others. As in earlier books, he chronicles a blue-collar life, a life in which "no matter what happens you have to punch in." The collection commences with a poem about a mentally ill roommate ("At least once you should live with someone/ more medicated than yourself"), and is also populated by a father, an uncle, a wife, a guy holding up a gas station and a little girl obsessed by the size of her hips. Two of the most moving poems concern a laid-off worker, told from the perspective of the boss: "When I told him/ I saw he was looking for a place/ in his brain to hide." Whimsical, even surreal, self-deprecation is one of the recurring gestures of the book; Hicok details the familiar encroachments of age on his hairline and rear end and accuses himself of being a voyeur as the urge for actually doing things ebbs. Although desire is not absent from these poems, the love that Hicok writes about is nearer agape than eros, present despite its frequently class-based trappings: "[W]ho's to say/ love isn't a power suit, Power/ book, coffee/ for breakfast." People drink a lot in these poems; they smoke dope, they smoke cigarettes, they try to escape themselves-and Hicok does not indict them, or himself, for it. "I'm a better poet than man," Hicok writes, but one suspects it really isn't true. (Mar. 28) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Bottom of the oceanp. 1
Small purchasep. 3
The semantics of flowers on Memorial Dayp. 5
Dropping the euphemismp. 7
Calling him back from layoffp. 10
My life with a gardenerp. 12
Meeting Billp. 13
An old storyp. 15
The documentary artp. 16
Becoming birdp. 18
Another awkward stage of convalescencep. 20
The bald truthp. 22
After working sixty hours again for what reasonp. 23
Oath to my former lifep. 25
Spirit ditty of no fax-line dial tonep. 27
Insomnia diaryp. 29
Go Greyhoundp. 32
Finally opening the anthology to Kunitzp. 35
Free-floating anxiety sounds like a pretty balloonp. 36
Tuesday's walkp. 38
1935p. 40
American Studiesp. 42
Sur Coast diaryp. 44
Capital crimep. 46
Now and then I am directp. 51
Growing at the speed of fashionp. 53
Bars poeticap. 56
Translator's notep. 57
Echop. 60
Mortal showerp. 62
Meteor showerp. 65
Building a painting a homep. 66
Commission by attritionp. 68
Goodbye in the shape of a knotp. 71
The edgep. 73
Radical neckp. 74
It's not so much the heat as the stupidityp. 77
Cure for the common coldp. 78
Cutting edgep. 80
Truth about lovep. 81
Shopping at the oceanp. 83
Acknowledgmentsp. 85