His poetry collections, most of which were published by Thistledown Press, include Now Is a Far Country (1978), Winter Your Sleep (1980), Silence Like the Sun (1983), Rootless Tree (1985), Fives and Sixes (1987), Sticks and Strings (1988), Month’s Mind (1992), Overheard by Conifers (1996), and Renovated Rhymes (1997). His poetry was also widely published in anthologies and in North America’s most distinguished literary publications.
In 1987, his short essays on the craft of writing were published in book form as Side Glances: Notes on the Writer’s Craft (co-published by Thistledown and the Saskatchewan Writers Guild). Hicks was also a fine children’s writer whose stories have been published in school reader anthologies and the Canadian Children’s Annual. As well, his work in both poetry and prose has been aired on CBC Radio.
Honorary writer in residence for the city of Prince Albert since 1978, he was installed as Honorary Fellow of the University of Emmanuel College, Saskatoon, in 1979; was awarded an honorary D.Litt. from the University of Saskatchewan in 1987; received a Lifetime Award for Excellence in the Arts from the Saskatchewan Arts Board in 1990; and received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, the highest honour accorded by the Province of Saskatchewan, in 1992.
John Hicks was also known and admired in Prince Albert for his love of music and the arts. He was organist at St Alban's Cathedral from the 1920s until 1997 and was active there as a singer and choirmaster.
Born in 1907 in London, England, Hicks came to Canada as a child and grew up in various parts of Canada before settling in Prince Albert, where until his retirement he worked as an accountant with the Saskatchewan civil service. Hicks died June 16, 1999, at the age of 92. He was predeceased by his wife, Marjorie.