James Dickey

American writer

James Lafayette Dickey (2 February 192319 January 1997) was a popular American poet and novelist. He was appointed the eighteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1966.

James Dickey
James Dickey



The Whole Motion; Collected Poems, 1945-1992 (1992)

  • Drunk on the wind in my mouth,
    Wringing the handlebar for speed,
    Wild to be wreckage forever.
    • Cherrylog Road (l. 106–108).
  • Dust fanned in scraped puffs from the earth
    Between his arms, and blood turned his face inside out,
    To demonstrate its suppleness
    Of veins, as he perfected his role.
    • The Performance (l. 13–16).
  • It was something like love
    From another world that seized her
    From behind, and she gave, not lifting her head
    Out of dew, without ever looking, her best
    Self to that great need.
    • The Sheep Child (l. 31–35).
  • I saw for a blazing moment
    The great grassy world from both sides,
    Man and beast in the round of their need.
    • The Sheep Child (l. 41–43).
  • I have just come down from my father.
    Higher and higher he lies
    Above me in a blue light
    Shed by a tinted window.
    • The Hospital Window (l. 1–4).
  • With the plane nowhere and her body taking by the throat
    The undying cry of the void falling living beginning to be something
    That no one has ever been and lived through screaming without enough air.
    • Falling (l. 9–11).
  • She is watching her country lose its evoked master shape watching it lose
    And gain get back its houses and peoples watching it bring up
    Its local lights single homes lamps on barn roofs.
    • Falling (l. 66–68).
  • Here they are. The soft eyes open.
    If they have lived in a wood
    It is a wood.
    If they have lived on plains
    It is grass rolling
    Under their feet forever.
    • The Heaven of Animals (l. 1–6).
  • These hunt, as they have done
    But with claws and teeth grown perfect,
    More deadly than they can believe.
    • The Heaven of Animals (l. 20–22).
  • Those that are hunted
    Know this as their life,
    Their reward: to walk
    Under such trees in full knowledge
    Of what is in glory above them,
    And to feel no fear.
    • The Heaven of Animals (l. 29–34).

Quotes about James Dickey

  • When I went to college (from 1959 to 1963), there were no women's studies courses, no anthologies that stressed a female heritage, no public women's movement. Poetry meant Yeats, Lowell, James Dickey. Without even realizing it, I assumed that the voice of the poet had to be male.
    • Erica Jong "Blood and Guts: The Tricky Problem of Being a Woman Writer in the Late Twentieth Century" in The Writer on Her Work edited by Janet Sternburg (2000)
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