James Dickey Poetry: American Poets Analysis
In his poetry and novels, James Dickey often explored what extreme, and sometimes violent, situations reveal about the human condition. Dickey’s poetry and fiction of the late 1950’s to the 1970’s are characterized by startlingly original images and a strong narrative thrust, through which he expressed, and assessed, the belief that volatile qualities are an inherent and necessary, yet potentially destructive, part of the human animal. In the late 1970’s, Dickey turned to a reflective, language-oriented approach, less immediately accessible and more self-conscious, but he continued to explore his previous themes. Though his themes remained fairly constant, it should be noted that stylistically Dickey was a relentless experimenter, always looking to cover new ground in the terrain of poetic possibilities.
Into the Stone, and Other Poems and Drowning with Others
The poems of Dickey’s first two collections, Into the Stone, and Other Poems and Drowning with Others, are generally short, tightly structured, and highly rhythmic. Although these poems are often anecdotal, they do not so much unfold in time as focus on a specific psychological experience. In essence, these poems are short dramatic parables, describing a moment in which the first-person narrator experiences an epiphany resulting in a more unified and aware self. Through the brief situation presented, Dickey attempted to make a visceral impact on the...
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