James Dickey, 1923–97, American poet and novelist, b. Atlanta. After serving in the air force during World War II, he attended Vanderbilt Univ., graduating in 1946. He was an English teacher and an advertising executive. Dickey's poetry has great energy. He made use of the ordinary in his verse, joining the natural and mechanical on such topics as war, nature, and machinery. His volumes of poetry include Into the Stone and Other Poems (1960), Buckdancer's Choice (1965), The Zodiac (1976), Falling, May Day, Sermon, and Other Poems (1981), and The Complete Poems of James Dickey (2013). He is probably best known for his novel Deliverance (1969), in which a group of businessmen on a hunting trip are forced to fight for their lives. He also wrote the screenplay for the film version (1972). His nonfiction includes Self-Interviews (1970) and several works of criticism.
See H. Hart, ed., The James Dickey Reader (1999), M. J. Bruccoli and J. S. Baughman, ed., Crux: The Letters of James Dickey (1999); biography by H. Hart (2000); studies by R. Baughman (1985) and N. Bowers (1985).