I don't think there's another poet who uses the commodities of popular culture to evoke conditions of the soul as successfully as Hicok. That same balance of the very serious with the frivolous also enables him to persuasively engage issues of social concern, like child abuse or homelessness, making these themes part of his poetry without sounding as though he's engaged in any easy moralizing or trying to beat some political drum.
Above all, Hicok's poetry is carried forward by the sound and play of words. As he says in another poem, "If you don't pay attention to the tune / something mystical happens and there's music / despite your best intentions."
[Originally published in November, 2002.]