Bob Hicok, nationally acclaimed poet and an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, is reading at the Folger Shakespeare Library on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Hicok’s work has been decorated with a variety of prestigious awards. Most recently, he was selected for The Best American Poetry 2009, an esteemed annual anthology. Judges who typically have won the Pulitzer Prize select poems for inclusion. The odds of being selected for Best American Poetry even once in a career are small. This was Hicok's fifth appearance.

He will also appear in the 2009 Pushcart anthology, his third appearance in this collection representing small presses. Hicok also just received his second National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

In 2008, Hicok was awarded the Guggenheim for poetry and also garnered the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry for his most recent collection of poems, This Clumsy Living. Awarded through the Library of Congress, this unique prize recognizes the most distinguished book of poetry written by an American and published during the preceding two years.

Hicok’s poems, according to the Folger’s press release, are “soulful, reflective, and humanistic gems.” His books of poetry include Insomnia Diary, Animal Soul (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award), Plus Shipping, and The Legend of Light (winner of the 1995 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry and an American Library Association Booklist Notable Book of the Year).

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." As Elizabeth Gaffney wrote for 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."

Find more information on Hicok, including links to poems published in the New Yorker.

Tickets for the reading may be obtained through the Folger website. A wine reception with a book sale and signing will follow the reading. Hicok is presenting with poet Marie Howe in the Elizabethan Theatre, two blocks from the U.S. Capitol.

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