'Sudden Movements' by Bob Hicok
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The Georgia Review2002My father's head has become a mystery to him.
We finally have something in common.
When he moves his head his eyesget big as roses filledwith the commotion of spring.Not long ago he was a manwho had tomato soup for lunchand dusted with the earnestnessof a gun fight. Now he's a manwho sits at the table trying to breathein tiny bites. When they told himhis spinal column is closing, I thoughtof all the branches he's cutwith loppers and piled and burnedin the fall, the pinch of the bladeson the green and vital pulp. Surgeonscan fuse vertebrae, a welders art,and scrape the ring through whichthe soul-wires flow as a dentistwould clean your teeth.And still it could happen, one turnof his head toward a hummingbird,wings keeping that brittle lifeafloat, working hard against the fall,and he might freeze in that poseof astonishment, a man estrangedfrom the neck down, who can only sharewith his body the silencehe's pawned on his children as love.Anonymous submission.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Poetry, Sudden Movements: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Bob Hicok's Poetry, Sudden Movements is a collection of poems that captures the essence of human emotions and experiences with vivid and evocative imagery. The collection is a masterpiece of contemporary poetry that explores the depths of human nature with a touch of humor and wit. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve deeper into the themes and elements that make this collection a timeless work of art.
Overview of the Collection
Poetry, Sudden Movements is a collection of 53 poems that covers a wide range of themes, including love, loss, identity, and self-discovery. Hicok's unique voice and style are evident in each poem, as he uses humor and irony to explore the complexities of human relationships and emotions. The collection is divided into four parts, each with its own distinct themes and motifs.
Part I: Love and Loss
The first part of the collection explores the themes of love and loss, as Hicok reflects on the highs and lows of romantic relationships. In "Romeo and Juliet" and "I Dreamed About You Last Night," Hicok uses humor and irony to subvert the traditional tropes of romance and highlight the absurdity of our expectations of love.
In "The Rain Falls Equally on All Things," Hicok explores the pain of loss and the inevitability of death. The poem's simple yet powerful imagery of rain falling on a gravestone captures the universal nature of grief and the way it touches us all.
Part II: Identity and Self-Discovery
The second part of the collection focuses on the themes of identity and self-discovery. In "Living in the Past," Hicok reflects on the way our past experiences shape who we are and how we see the world. The poem's use of repetition and parallel structure emphasizes the cyclical nature of time and the way our memories can both haunt and comfort us.
In "This is What It Means to Be from a Place," Hicok explores the concept of home and how it shapes our identities. The poem's vivid imagery of a small town and its inhabitants captures the sense of nostalgia and longing that comes with leaving a place behind.
Part III: Reflection and Observation
The third part of the collection is a series of observational poems that capture the beauty and absurdity of everyday life. In "Mowing," Hicok uses the act of mowing the lawn as a metaphor for the complexities of human relationships and the way we try to control and manipulate our environments. The poem's use of personification and vivid imagery creates a sense of empathy for the speaker and their struggle to understand the world around them.
In "The World Is Only the World," Hicok reflects on the limitations of language and our ability to truly understand each other. The poem's use of paradox and irony highlights the gap between our perceptions of reality and the reality itself.
Part IV: Hope and Empathy
The final part of the collection is a series of poems that offer hope and empathy in the face of tragedy and loss. In "Hymn to the Combustion Engine," Hicok celebrates the beauty and power of the machines that drive our world, and in doing so, acknowledges the human ingenuity and creativity behind them.
In "The Train," Hicok reflects on the fleeting nature of life and the way time seems to slip away from us. The poem's use of imagery and metaphor captures the sense of urgency and longing that comes with the realization that our time is limited.
Bob Hicok's Poetry, Sudden Movements is a collection of poems that captures the essence of human nature with humor, wit, and empathy. Through his use of vivid imagery and powerful language, Hicok explores the complex themes of love, loss, identity, and self-discovery in a way that is both relatable and profound. The collection is a timeless work of art that speaks to the human experience in a way that is both universal and deeply personal.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry is a form of art that has the power to move people in ways that are beyond words. It can evoke emotions, stir up memories, and inspire us to see the world in a new light. Bob Hicok's "Sudden Movements" is a classic example of how poetry can capture the essence of life's fleeting moments and turn them into something beautiful.
At first glance, "Sudden Movements" may seem like a simple poem about a man watching a bird fly away. However, upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that the poem is about much more than that. It is a meditation on the transience of life and the beauty that can be found in even the most fleeting moments.
The poem begins with the speaker watching a bird take flight. He describes the bird's sudden movements as it "flaps its wings and disappears into the sky." This image is a powerful one, as it captures the essence of life's fleeting moments. Just as the bird disappears into the sky, so too do our own lives pass us by in the blink of an eye.
However, the poem does not dwell on the sadness of this fact. Instead, it celebrates the beauty that can be found in these fleeting moments. The speaker describes the bird's flight as "a dance of grace and power," highlighting the beauty that can be found in even the most mundane of actions.
As the poem progresses, the speaker reflects on his own life and the moments that have passed him by. He describes how he has "missed so much" and how "time has slipped away." This is a poignant moment in the poem, as it highlights the regret that we all feel at times for the moments that we have missed.
However, the poem does not leave us in a state of despair. Instead, it offers us hope. The speaker describes how he has "learned to watch for sudden movements," suggesting that he has learned to appreciate the beauty that can be found in even the most fleeting of moments.
This is a powerful message, as it reminds us that even though life may be fleeting, there is still beauty to be found in every moment. We just need to learn to appreciate it.
The poem ends with the speaker watching the bird disappear into the sky. He describes how the bird's flight has left him "breathless," suggesting that he has been moved by the beauty of the moment. This is a powerful image, as it captures the essence of what poetry is all about – the ability to move us in ways that are beyond words.
Overall, "Sudden Movements" is a beautiful poem that celebrates the transience of life and the beauty that can be found in even the most fleeting of moments. It is a reminder that even though life may be short, there is still beauty to be found in every moment if we are willing to look for it.
In terms of form, the poem is relatively simple. It consists of three stanzas, each with four lines. The rhyme scheme is also simple, with the first and third lines of each stanza rhyming with each other. This simplicity is part of what makes the poem so powerful, as it allows the beauty of the words to shine through without any distractions.
In conclusion, "Sudden Movements" is a classic example of how poetry can capture the essence of life's fleeting moments and turn them into something beautiful. It is a reminder that even though life may be short, there is still beauty to be found in every moment if we are willing to look for it. So, the next time you see a bird take flight, remember to watch for the sudden movements and appreciate the beauty that can be found in even the most fleeting of moments.
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