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Poet Bob Hicok Visits Writers House, but do Merrimack Students?

Aleksa Thomas ’20

Staff Writer

Renowned American poet Bob Hicok read from his new book “Hold” on April 2 in the Writers House. Hicok is the author of 10 books and has published in Poetry magazine, which celebrates the best poetry and works to raise poetry to a more visual and influential position in our culture. Hicok read 6 of his favorite poems before answering questions from the audience. Hicok is known for his unique poetry style, which has a meditative feel. His stories range from personal to funny or sad. The audience’s reaction ranged from people intently listening to being a bit surprised.

One of the poems Hicok read was called “There it is.” This poem was about his parents getting older and how to cope with this, and it includes the line, “The soul is missing you when you’re gone.”

Hicok’s poems really relate to the audience in one way or another. One poem is going to be so much different than the next, and people are excited about that.

Andrea Cohen, who  is a staff member for the Writers House and admires Hicok, explained that while she does not know where Hicok is going in his poems, she “trusts the direction of it.”

The main issue the Writers House faces is that students at Merrimack are unaware of the events that take place. The majority of students that go are usually there because they have to be, not because they want to be. The amount of people that show up, tends to be very few. The plus side to this is that it’s a great way for the audience to get to know the speaker.

The Writers House is not the same thing as the Writers Center here on campus. The Writers House is located in the Academic Innovation Center on campus. According to their website,“The Writers House is a place where poets, fiction writers, scholars, journalists, graphic novelists, and filmmakers can connect with and inspire students, faculty, staff and the wider community.”

The Writers House began on September 23, 2013, and it was the first of its kind in New England with a multidisciplinary initiative. It promises to enliven the curriculum of all four schools at Merrimack. The director of the Writers House is Andrea Cohen and she has been the director since it opened. Cohen brings a load of knowledge and experience and also attends all events that take place.

One of the most famous people that ever came to Merrimack was William C. Campbell. Campbell received the Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine in 2015. Campbell spoke at the Writers House March 6, 2019 about “A Life in Science with One Foot in the Arts.”  

The Writer’s House also sponsors its very own magazine called “The Merrimack Review.” You can find the magazine online by going to the Writers House home page and clicking on “The Merrimack Review” link. The Merrimack Review is a magazine dedicated to graduate and undergraduate creative work. The magazine was founded in October 2013. This is student-run and publishes biannually. Students interested in writing for The Merrimack Review can submit their work on the website.

The solution for students showing up to the Writers House is getting the students to become active members of this community. The Writers House has a mailing list that keeps you up to date with events that are coming up. If you have questions you can contact Andrea Cohen or Danielle Jones Pruett. All are welcome and encouraged to attend upcoming events.

Editor Note (6-24-19): Some details in the online version of this piece have been updated for accuracy.