These finely wrought lyrics are focused on the family - in Ireland, Canada, the United States, and in-transit- to reveal origins, maps, anxieties, and coincidences. Hicks recovers from time desires, loves, and the moist mother tongues of the dispersed. Hicks searches through literary history for those he seeks to follow - W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, and Brian Moore in particular. This is a singularly impressive first collection - allusive, engaging, exciting.
Eamonn Wall, author of The Crosses, Refuge at DeSoto Bend, and
From the Sin-é Café to the Black Hills
The poems of Patrick Hicks brim with the confluence of Irish, American, and personal history.
Daniel Tobin, author of Second Things, The Narrows,
and Passage to the Center
These poems come out of real, actual, lived experiences, a rare thing these days. Hicks seems to have absorbed the work of some of the best poets in that same vein in the past half century: Theodore Roethke, Robinson Jeffers, James Dickey, Seamus Heaney, to name a few. What I find remarkable about Hicks' poems in this collection is that they can simultaneously accommodate not only personal but national, international, and even evolutionary phenomena. ... Hicks is the kind of poet I go for: straight-forward, clear, tough-minded, knowledgeable, accessible, memorable. He has experienced much in his young life; he has taken the time to inform himself on the facts of history and science; and he writes with insight, power, and passion.
David Allan Evans, poet laureate of South Dakota
Patrick Hicks takes us to many places, among them Barcelona, Berlin, and Belfast, as he reflects upon the mystery of existence, of what it means to be alive where the 'poisonous ghosts of history' challenge and haunt us. I admire the variety of subjects that the poems reflect - regret and wonder, concern and disdain, compassion and hope. The voice in these poems is honest and recognizable. It wants what most of us want - to find meaningful identification with the past no less than the present. Carrying history on his back like a knapsack, and aware of the vagaries of chance, Hicks looks to what, for him, finally matters: one person loving another.
William Kloefkorn, poet laureate of Nebraska
Patrick Hicks writes poems of personal history, social history, world history. It is, I think, his way of redrawing the map of our human hearts.
Richard Jones, editor of Poetry East, author of Country of Air, A Perfect Time, and The Blessing
His words, these fragile draglines, make sense of past and present chaos. Tenderly, inexorably, he reveals the world through his eyes and words... I like the delicate touch evident in Hicks' poems. Regardless of topic, Hicks demonstrates the innate compassion present in the human spirit. He addresses human concerns and sorrows, but leaves the reader oddly comforted in the process.
Midwest Book Review