James Dickey (1923-1997)

James DickeyJoyce Carol Oates described James Dickey’s perspective as a desire to “to take on ‘his’ own personal history as an analogue to or a microscopic exploration of 20th-century American history.” Dickey described his style as “country surrealism.” He flew more than 100 combat missions during World War II. “I came to poetry with no particular qualifications,” he recounted in Howard Nemerov’s Poets on Poetry. “I had begun to suspect, however, that there is a poet—or a kind of poet—buried in every human being like Ariel in his tree, and that the people whom we are pleased to call poets are only those who have felt the need and contrived the means to release this spirit from its prison.” Dickey is the author of Deliverance and more than two dozen volumes of poetry. The Complete Poems of James Dickey was published in 2013.