Happy 2010! Here at Fourteen Hills, we’re continuing to update our online archives. As part of that process, I just read a poem that took me back to my childhood. It takes a very special and honest poem like Bob Hicok’s “Trying to Stay in Shape” to unify my experience with his storytelling.
Here’s my favorite section:
…When I was a kid
I lied and said chlorine hurt my penis
so they’d leave me to land, where I understood
breath. I hadn’t thought of that in years,
I’m cringing, hoping I’ve become
a better swimmer, better liar…
This poem has such a wonderful voice. Every line breaks and sifts down. I'm most taken with his ability to combine a surreal and witty narrative inside such concrete diction. Hicok talks of values without sounding preachy. And his confession sounds like he is simply being himself. Every time I read it, I feel as though he's talking to me.
If you want to see how Bob Hicok succeeds in the rest of the piece then check out the full poem which appeared in the Fall of ’07 in Issue 14.1. While you’re at it, look for more established and emerging writers in upcoming issues of our literary magazine!
R.R. Reese, Fourteen Hills staff