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James Dickey: The Selected Poems (Wesleyan Poetry) Paperback – 30 Sep 1998


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About the Author

JAMES DICKEY, born in Atlanta in 1923, is most widely known as the author of the novel and screenplay Deliverance. He is also the author of several other novels and fifteen books of poetry. His many honors include the National Book Award and a Melville Cane Award for Buckdancer's Choice (1965). He was invited to read at President Carter's inauguration in 1977, and most recently served as Judge of the prestigious Yale Younger Poets series. He died in 1997 in South Carolina. ROBERT KIRSCHTEN is the author of James Dickey and the Gentle Ecstasy of the Earth: A Reading of the Poems (1988) and "Approaching Prayer": Ritual and the Shape of Myth in A.R. Ammons and James Dickey (1998) and the editor of Struggling for Wings: The Art of James Dickey (1997) and Critical Essays on James Dickey (1994). He teaches English at Ohio State University.

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The author of Deliverance was a poet? 28 Feb. 2009
By doc peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
James Dickey came to my attention through his poem "The Bee" (still a favorite) - only later did I learn he was also the author of _Deliverance_, which surprised me, although in the opposite manner for those more familar with the film than his poetry. That he is able to do both - write narratives and poetry - so well is testament to his literary prowess.

Dickey is a masculine poet. That is to say, many of his poems will undoubtedly appeal more to men than women, and many of his subjects are masculine-oriented. "Drinking From a Helmet" and "The Firebombing" tell of his experiences in World War II (no machismo here - rather the simple, sad reflections on the pointlessness of destruction, but still a clearly masculine voice), "False Youth" gives us a glimpse at Dickey in late-middle age, a little slower, clothes a little tighter. "The Bee", though, remains with me. A few lines to give you a sense of his style:

"Old wingback, come
To life. If your knee action is high
Enough, the fat may fall in time G - D
You, Dickey *dig* this is your last time to cut
And run, but you must give it everything you have
Left, for screaming near your screaming child is the sheer
Murder of California traffic: some bee hangs driving

Your child
Blindly onto the highway. Get there however
Is still possible. ..."

The frantic, heart-racing panic a parent feels for a child is communicated with an immeadiacy and clarity that forces you to relive the moment - it is a powerful poem. Would Dickey appeal to female readers? Certainly - but there is no escaping the gender in his voice.

I realize that for some "poetry" and "masculinity" may appear to be an oxymoron. I disagree. Certainly Dickey will not be to everyone's taste, and some of his poems are a bit heavy on the testosterone and too flavored of the south ("Buckdancer's Choice" is an example of this); to be honest, I don't like *every* poem in the collection. On the balance, though, there are more good poems - honest poems - than bad.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than just Deliverance. 6 Mar. 2013
By Rudie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
It's a shame that most people know James Dickey only for his novel Deliverance, if they know him at all. Dickey had already established his literary rep in the 1960's with his poetry, and this volume gives us a well-rounded selection of his best loved poems and some of his more daring experiments in his later career.
Dickey hs a talent for startling, vibrant explorations of nature in all its beauty and especially its monstrosity, with the latter earning Dickey about as many detractors as fans. Though he is often considered a quintessentially "male" poet in terms of subject matter, his work also has a strong feminine current in it.
Dickey is not as widely published as he should be, so I recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity to know more about Dickey than what you saw in the movie (many more people know the movie than have read the book Deliverance).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars beyond all else, The Heaven of Animals 8 Jun. 2014
By David McCann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
yes, this is the same James Dickey who authored the gripping Deliverance.
most of Dickey's poetry is difficult reading,
some is at or beyond the limit of my comprehension.
but on pages 31-32 is a simple, eloquent
poetic masterpiece, The Heaven of Animals;
for me this one creation justifies this purchase.
Please, please, take this poem to heart.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dickey Delight! 9 Oct. 2013
By City of Roses - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
EXCELLENT BOOK - A WINNER FOR POEM READERS!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 22 April 2016
By Ran Diego Russell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
His poetry is the equal of his novels.
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