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The way of exchange in james dickey's poems : 1957- 1967 Hanson, Cherie Frances 1971

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THE  WAY OP EXCHANGE IN  JAMES DICKEY'S POEMS: 1957-1967  by Cherie Prances Hanson B.A., Western Washington S t a t e Gollege,  1965  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF l  MASTER OF ARTS .  i n the Department of English We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the required  standard  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h A p r i l , 1971  Columbia  In  presenting  an  advanced  the  Library  I  further  for  degree shall  agree  scholarly  by  his  of  this  written  this  thesis  in  at  University  the  make  that  it  purposes  for  freely  permission may  representatives. thesis  partial  be  It  financial  for  gain  of  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada  of  Columbia,  British  Columbia  for  extensive by  the  understood  permission.  Department  of  available  granted  is  fulfilment  shall  Head  be  requirements  reference copying  that  not  the  of  agree  and  of my  I  this  or  allowed  without  that  study. thesis  Department  copying  for  or  publication my  James Dickey's work as an a r t i s t grows out o f the way he f e e l s about l i f e ,  and about the world o f a r t . He b e l i e v e s  that a e s t h e t i c experience can r e v i t i l i z e it  the reader, t h a t  can g i v e him a new v i s i o n . And because of. the new  the a r t i s t  vision  and the reader are u n i t e d .  The poem , t h e r e f o r e , becomes a v e r y a l i v e , v i b r a n t medium. And d u r i n g h i s p o e t i c c a r e e r James Dickey e x p l o r e s the p o s s i b i l i t y o f p o e t r y as a statement.  He i s never  afraid  to push a poem to the l i m i t s o f e x p e r i e n c e . The r e s u l t i s sometimes a strange, and grotesque work o f a r t . However, i n h i s b e s t moment^ James Dickey i s capable o f l o a d i n g the poem w i t h i n t e n s e energy. And i t i s t h i s energy which he hopes to t r a n s f e r to the reader so t h a t the reader can see the world w i t h new  eyes.  TABLE OP CONTENTS  I . INTRODUCTION  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  I I . THE EARLY POEMS  1 2k  •III. HELMETS and BUCKDANCER'S CHOICE . . . lj.8 IV. THREE POEMS V.  CONCLUSION  V I . FOOTNOTES V I I . BIBLIOGRAPHY .  80 .108 i . . .i  CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION  U n l i k e many c o n t e m p o r a r y  American  began t o w r i t e r e l a t i v e l y l a t e f o u r when he poet.  first  i n his life.  d i s c o v e r e d t h a t he w i s h e d  It i s significant  publication of h i s f i r s t appeared  poets,  James D i c k e y He was  t o become a  that w i t h i n four years of collection  Into the Stone,  i n John H a l l Wheelock's s e r i e s P o e t s o f  D i c k e y had  f o r m u l a t e d a system  twenty-  the which  Today,  of a e s t h e t i c s which  remains  •i basically  t h e same t o d a t e .  impressed w i t h the importance artist's and to  Prom t h e b e g i n n i n g D i c k e y o f the  was  act o f p e r c e p t i o n , the  p e r c e p t i o n w h i c h h e l p s t o c r e a t e t h e work o f a r t  t h e r e a d e r ' s p e r c e p t i o n w h i c h b r i n g s t h e work o f a r t life.  W i t h i n t h e p o e m D i c k e y was r  i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n o f the persona*s poetry  and h i s c r i t i c a l  interested  perception.  i n the  \  Dickey's  works are i n t e r r e l a t e d  attempts  to  explore the nature o f p e r c e p t i o n . Perhaps  because  D i c k e y underwent a k i n d o f c o n v e r s i o n  f r o m b u s i n e s s m a n t o p o e t , he the p o e t ' s n a t u r e to  be  and  of secondary,  although v i t a l  world.  of  c o n s i d e r s the formal aspect o f v e r s e  and h i s p o e t r y i n d i c a t e a mytho-poetic  emphasizes the importance  concern.  His conversion  that Dickey i s interested  i n creating  H i s poems f r e q u e n t l y d e s c r i b e an  e x p e r i e n c e which E v e l y n U n d e r b i l l would term experience. she  says  I n answer t o t h e q u e s t i o n  What i s M y s t i c i s m ? "  t h a t , " Mysticism i s the a r t o f union w i t h  The m y s t i c  Reality,  i s a p e r s o n who h a s a t t a i n e d t h a t u n i o n i n  g r e a t e r ot l e s s  degree;  attainment.The but  ,?  a mystical  o r who  mystic  r a t h e r must w a i t  aims a t a n d b e l i e v e s i n s u c h  does n o t i n i t i a t e  the experience  patiently:  Some g r e a t e m o t i o n , some d e v a s t a t i n g v i s i t a t i o n o f b e a u t y , . l o v e , o r p a i n , l i f t s us t o another l e v e l o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s ; and we a r e aware f o r a moment o f t h e d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n t h e h e a t c o l l e c t i o n o f d i s c r e t e o b j e c t s and e x p e r i e n c e w h i c h we c a l l t h e w o r l d , and t h e h e i g h t , t h e depth, t h e b r e a d t h o f t h a t l i v i n g , growing, changing Pact, o f which thought, life and e n e r g y a r e p a r t s , and i n w h i c h we " l i v e and move and have o u r b e i n g j " (p.7). Intense in  emotion l i f t s  which a l l d i s c r e t e  what c o n s t i t u t e s which Dickey  to a sublimity o f vision  t h i n g s become c o n t i n u o u s .  the mystic  vision.  describes again  t h e same e x p e r i e n c e In  the i n i t i a t e  that brought  him i n t o  i s magical,  "There i s a p o e t —  b u r i e d i n e v e r y human b e i n g l i k e A r i e l  spirit  o f a i r , the creative . s p i r i t ,  must b e f r e e d .  Although  as b e i n g m a g i c a l , whom we  James D i c k e y  a  or kind of i n h i s tree...."  i s i m p r i s o n e d and describes the process  i t i s p o s s i b l e f o r a l l men,  are pleased to c a l l poets  essays,  describes the conversion.^  t r a n s i t i o n from businessman to poet  poet—  experience  the world o f a r t .  Howard Nemerov's c o l l e c t i o n o f c r i t i c a l  release o f the true s e l f .  The  Moreover, t h i s  and a g a i n i n h i s p o e t r y i s  Contemporary American P o e t r y , D i c k e y The  This i s  "The p e o p l e  a r e o n l y t h o s e who  have  felt  t h e n e e d a n d c o n t r i v e d t h e means t o r e l e a s e t h e s p i r i t  from  i t s p r i s o n . " ^ - E a c h man t h u s  contains the e n t i r e t y o f  the A r i e l myth.  He i s , i n a sense, h e l d c a p t i v e by h i s own  i n a b i l i t y to b e l i e v e i n the p o s s i b i l i t y o f magic. And he alone can a c t as Prospero to the imprisoned A r i e l . Once r e l e a s e d from h i s p r i s o n , the a r t i s t begins to prepare h i m s e l f f o r the a c t o f c r e a t i o n . Before he may even begin to w r i t e , however, the a r t i s t must be capable o f emotional honesty.  "The touch upon words o f a humanly  p e r c e i v e d beauty, t e r r o r , o r mystery a fundamental in  i s r a r e indeed, f o r  k i n d o f u n l i t e r a r y innocence i s n e c e s s a r y  a w r i t e r b e f o r e he can undergo these f e e l i n g s .  The poet must be innocent and open to the most mundane o f human emotions b e f o r e he can f i n d t r u t h because  the t r u e  poem, f o r Dickey, i s one which h o n e s t l y r e f l e c t s l i f e .  If  the poet becomes too l i t e r a r y , or too concerned w i t h c r e a t i n g a f i n i s h e d work o f a r t , the c u r r e n t o f p e r c e p t i o n between the world and the a r t i s t ,  the a r t i s t and the poem, the poem  and the r e a d e r , and f i n a l l y  (to complete  the c y c l e ) from  the reader back to an awareness o f the world, i s s h o r t ~ circuited. poem:  A merely t e c h n i c a l l y good poem i s a suspect  one that can never possess the spark o f l i f e .  Here, as i n h i s d i s c u s s i o n o f the awakening poet, Dickey bases h i s c r i t i c a l  t h e o r i e s on paradox.  everyman and an o r p h i c f i g u r e .  The poet i s b o t h  P o e t r y i s capable o f c r e a t i n g  " t r u e " v i s i o n or o f d e s t r o y i n g that v i s i o n . i s both a u n i v e r s a l and a r e l a t i v e term. collection of c r i t i c a l  F o r Dickey t r u t h  In h i s l a r g e s t  essays Babel to Byzantium:  Poets and  Poetry Now Dickey e x p l a i n s t h a t h i s admiration f o r A.E. Robinson  stems from Robinson's  understanding t h a t t r u t h  k "takes d i f f e r e n t  forms f o r d i f f e r e n t people and  different  situations. However, there i s a s u b j e c t i v e t e s t f o r the v e r a c i t y of a poem. certain; a new,  D i c k e y s t a t e s e m p h a t i c a l l y that,"One t h i n g i s  i f the r e a d e r does not, through the w r i t i n g , g a i n  i n t i m a t e , and v i t a l p e r s p e c t i v e on h i s own  life  as  a human b e i n g , there i s no poem at a l l , or o n l y a poem w r i t t e n by a c o l l e c t i v e e n t i t y c a l l e d 19I4.5-1960 • T h e 1  "Modern p o e t r y , P e r i o d  a r t i f a c t must c o n t a i n enough v i t a l  to s t i r the r e a d e r to a new  energy  awareness, not o n l y o f the  a e s t h e t i c experience i t s e l f but more i m p o r t a n t l y , to a awareness o f the v e r y f i b e r o f h i s own  life.  heightened awareness should s t a y w i t h him down the poem.  new  The sense o f  a f t e r he has  put  There must be, D i c k e y b e l i e v e s , a p e r s o n a l  k i n d o f communication between the poet and h i s audience. I f each r e a d e r i s to g a i n a v i t a l p e r s p e c t i v e on h i s own  l i f e , how  then can a poem "speak" to a v a r i e d  audience?  The  answer to t h i s q u e s t i o n l i e s i n h i s d i s c u s s i o n o f the ;  nature o f r e a l i t y i n The Suspect i n P o e t r y : The poet must evoke a world t h a t i s r e a l l e r than r e a l : h i s work must r e s u l t i n an i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n o f q u a l i t i e s , you might say, t h a t we have a l l observed and l i v e d , but the poet has observed and l i v e d most deeply o f a l l , This world i s so r e a l that the experienced world i s t r a n s f i g u r e d and i n t e n s i f i e d , through the poem, i n t o i t s e l f , a deeper i t s e l f , a more c h a r a c t e r i s t i c i t s e l f . I f a man can make words do t h i s , he i s a poet, ( p . 7 6 ) . The a r t i f a c t becomes not o n l y t r u e to l i f e but a l s o b i g g e r  than l i f e . life  When the experience becomes b i g g e r than  i t then a l s o becomes c h a r a c t e r i s t i c .  James D i c k e y would say t h a t Constable was  because-^someone experiences, f o r the f i r s t  Perhaps a great p a i n t e r  time, the  feeling(pjn_ a_jtr^geXy_..o,vercast day\that he i s seeing a "Constable sky."  With that r e a l i z a t i o n he can v i s u a l i z e  the p a i n t i n g and see t h a t i t i s a c c u r a t e .  He begins to  l o o k at nature as s e a r c h i n g l y and w i t h as s e n s i t i v e an as he would a f i n e work o f a r t .  eye  The p e r c e p t i o n o f a r t and  the p e r c e p t i o n o f nature f u s e and b o t h are i n t e n s i f i e d . The sky i s t r u l y seen f o r the f i r s t  time.  A particular  mixture o f sun and shadow i s , i n a sense, c r e a t e d by C o n s t a b l e : He b r i n g s them to l i f e . to  Thus the p a i n t e r i s able Q  " t r a n s f i g u r e " and to " i n t e n s i f y " the world o f n a t u r e . That i s not to say t h a t Dickey, e i t h e r i n h i s c r i t i c i s m  or  i n h i s p o e t r y , i s concerned w i t h r e p r e s e n t i n g l i f e  e x a c t l y as i t i s .  To say t h a t p o e t r y must adhere to a  k i n d o f mirrc_=-like r e f l e c t i o n o f the world would be to make an a r b i t r a r y and r e s t r i c t i v e demand on the poet's gift.  H i s t a s k i s to c r e a t e a g r e a t e r awareness o f r e a l i t y  and, Dickey b e l i e v e s , t h i s can sometimes b e s t be done by not demanding the merely probable o f the work o f a r t . In  h i s own p o e t r y animals are g i v e n v o i c e ( as i n "The  K i n g " ) , the dead r e v i v e and speak w i t h the l i v i n g "In  the Tree House at N i g h t " ) and man  Owl  (as i n  experiences a second  birth  (as i n " R e i n c a r n a t i o n ( I ) " ) ,  which are, i n the s t r i c t e s t utilizes and  the interchange  the worlds  present The  activate  unreal.  o f the animal  causes  experience,  the r e l e a s e o f energy  that  o f the s u b j e c t i v e nature  Without the presence  formal aspects  are unimportant  The l o g i c a l  truth i s possible, are u n i v e r s a l . universal  for  come t o l i f e .  The  the i n f u s i o n o f  relative  to u n i v e r s a l  i n s i s t s , b e c a u s e man's  And t h e p o e t ' s  experiences  e x p e r i e n c e s become more into  Dickey's  theories. Dickey's  critical  e x c l u s i v e l y on t h e r o l e  Dickey  that the poet The p o e t  synthesize a vision.  life,  are t o l d  T h i s p a r a d o x f o r m s t h e b a s i s o f James  effectively. to  leap from  Dickey  Because o f t h i s , almost  without  we  t h e more he i s a b l e t o s u b j e c t i v e l y l i v e  poem.  poetic  o f the a r t i s t ' s  Thus t h e s u b j e c t i v e p e r c e p t i o n becomes a u n i v e r s a l  perception.  his  necessary to  o f t h e work o f a r t  o f the a r t i s t  t h e p a r t i c u l a r work o f a r t c a n n o t  spirit.  experience.  the reader's perception.  the r e s u l t  vision.  i n order to  a mystic  Dickey b e l i e v e s that the v i t a l i t y is  And y e t D i c k e y  and human i ^ o r l d s  o f t h e d e a d and t h e l i v i n g  an i n t e n s i f i e d  experience  sense,  These a r e a l l e v e n t s  by c u l t i v a t i n g  the poet  live  essays  o f the poet.  concentrate  I t i s important  d e e p l y b e f o r e he c a n w r i t e  i s an o r p h i c b e i n g who must He does t h i s b y o p e n i n g  awareness.  h i m s e l f to  Through the c r e a t i v e a c t  o n c e a g a i n becomes a P r o s p e r o  figure;  he r e l e a s e s  t h e r e a d e r f r o m b o n d a g e and a l l o w s h i s l i b e r a t e d new f r e e d o m o f p e r c e p t i o n .  learn  The c i r c l e  spirit  i s complete.  The  a  poet The  experiences  life  i n o r d e r to c r e a t e the  reader experiences  the  artifact  artifact.  i n order to perceive  life. Even though D i c k e y ' s elements, by  he  i s f a r from being  C a r o l y n K i z e r he  but  some words on  life  says,  p o e t r y were n o t and  would n o t have The Ariel. ion.  Again,  In the  and  of giving any  eternal battle  case,  subjective  And i f  intensifying  i s c r e a t e d by  The  consistently valid  test  to i t I  nature the  imprisoned of creat-  personal  i t i s important  true.  for  S i n c e r i t y i s the  i n e v a l u a t i n g a work o f a r t .  and v i t a l i t y  qualities.  are a l l extremely  problem of d e r i v i n g f o r great  D i c k e y p r e f e r s i t t h a t way.  some e l e m e n t o f t h e  life.  act which f r e e s the  t h i s reason  used  sincerity  between  i n i t whatever."9  t h a t the poet's v o i c e r i n g  Truth,  of  emphasizes the c y c l i c  For  t o be  take  anything  a kind of personal value  interest  Dickey  I n an i n t e r v i e w  a poem i s n o t  art, I ' l l  p o e t r y c r e a t e s and  major c r i t e r i a  And  God,  a means, i n my  v i s i o n o f the p o e t .  or  auesthete.  a c t o f c r e a t i o n i s the  The  Dickey  "My  a page.  and p o e t r y o r l i f e  experience  t h e o r i e s about a r t c o n t a i n mystic,  a  a r t remains  A l l poems may  universally, unsolved.  contain  suspect:  What makes t h e w h o l e t h i n g d i f f i c u l t , o f c o u r s e , i s t h a t what may be s u s p e c t t o me may w e l l be g e n u i n e t o you, and c o n s e q u e n t l y we e n t e r i n t o a t h o r o u g h c r i t i c a l c h a o s . T h i s i s , I s u s p e c t , where we s h o u l d be anyway. What m a t t e r s i s t h a t t h e r e be some r e a l r e s p o n s e t o poems... t h a t f o r c e r t a i n p e o p l e t h e r e be c e r t a i n poems t h a t s p e a k d i r e c t l y t o them as t h e y b e l i e v e God w o u l d . 1 0  L i k e Emerson, James D i c k e y s h r u g s o f f mere and  a t t e m p t s , i n a more e m o t i o n a l l y  d i s c o v e r the a religious not  feel  voice of and  "God."  The  highly personal  a rigidly  as  a result  intellectualized  activity.  o f the p a r t i c u l a r l y  c r i t i c i s m i s , at times,  the  a c t o f c r i t i c i s m becomes  system.  D i c k e y chooses i n h i s attempt  in  d i r e c t manner, t o  best  essay e n t i t l e d  both l i k e s  "Randall  and  work.  Speaker"!?" t h e  poetry  dull  and  u n i n s p i r i n g and  subjective c r i t e r i a  which  and s e l f - c o n t r a d i c t o r y .  found w i t h i n Jarrell."  inhuman.  given  "Reality." poetry  is  experience death,  Jarrell's  images f l a t ,  the  language  inhabitanfce o f the p o e t i c world  s p e e c h and  the  last  word; t h a t w o r l  portrays  What t h e  a time " i n which e v e r y t h i n g r e a s o n s f o r any  responds  others,  is  Jarrell's  "humanity i n  critic  to empathize w i t h  and none o f t h e  vague  alter-ego, i s  believes that Randall  century,"(p.83), ability  aspects  dominant p e r s o n a l i t y , f i n d s the  dislikes  the to  to  t o p i t y i s c l e a r as of i t , "  Poetry  particular  Jarrell's  S p e a k e r "A"  Jarrell's  In t h i s  in  i s e f f e c t i v e b e c a u s e he  twentieth  Suspect i n  t o d i s c o v e r what i t  However, S p e a k e r " A , " t h e  the l o n g e s t  The  a d e b a t e b e t w e e n two  simultaneously-  lifeless, the  the  adhere hand,  arbitrary  created  On  does  other  of h i s c r i t i c a l p e r s o n a l i t y i n order  and  critic  t o d e f i n e good p o e t r y j: h i s  example i s t o be  i n s t a n c e D i c k e y has  i s he  The  o b l i g e d t o make h i s a e s t h e t i c judgments  to  The  consistency  (p.83).  It poet  i s i m p o s s i b l e to separate the c r i t i c  i n most o f D i c k e y ' s  finds  Jarrell's  view  critical  work.  o f the p r e s e n t day  he p e r c e i v e s a s i m i l a r k i n d o f w o r l d  relevant  i n h i s own  Scarred G i r l , "  and  and  W e d d i n g , " a l l d e s c r i b e p e o p l e who  v i s i t e d by  d e a t h o r by  wounding.  In each case the v i c t i m s  life  either physical  j u s t h a p p e n s t o them.  p o e t r y because The  he  "The  or  are  Dickey responds  Penn W a r r e n ,  similar  attitudes  o l d e r poets  t o h i s own  about  r e l e v a n t view  of l i f e .  L i k e him,  a markedly  individual  D i c k e y admires is  able to p r o j e c t .  gentle, mystical, dreaming jp.  112).  Stafford  to  about  and  are  Theodore those  Roethke. artists  reflect  a l l three of  c o n s i d e r s t o be  the  a  t h e y h a v e worked  within  yet each  has  voice.  the calm presence which W i l l i a m S t a f f o r d " H i s n a t u r a l mode o f s p e e c h  half-mocking  is a  and h i g h l y p e r s o n a l d a y -  the landscape o f the Western U n i t e d S t a t e s ^ "  However, t h i s i n The  Jarrell's  mankind.  t h e more c o n v e n t i o n a l s c h o o l s o f p o e t r y and created  either  o r whose poems  t h e w o r l d . And  o f f e r D i c k e y what he  poetry.  psychological  Like h i s fellow p o e t - c r i t i c s , Dickey praises whose work i s s i m i l a r  because  are d e s c r i b e d p a s s i v e l y ,  too i s a b l e to p i t y  Robert  he  Lifeguard,"  t h r e e p o e t s whom D i c k e y most a d m i r e s  William Stafford,  the  Critically,  "Fathers "The  S o n s , " "The  from  Suspect  statement  from Dickey's  essay  on  i s o n l y a p a r t i a l means o f  d i s c o v e r i n g what i t i s i n t h e West C o a s t p o e t ' s work  that  attracts t  o  James D i c k e y .  Robin Skelton, i n h i s " I n t r o d u c t i o n "  F^y® P o e t s o f t h e P a c i f i c  Stafford's mystical p o e t r y almost  tone.  Northwest,  more c l o s e l y  He d i s c o v e r s t h a t  t h e a l m o s t numinous u n k n o w n . " H  and  "Stafford's  a l w a y s moved f r o m a n a p p a r e n t l y d i r e c t  p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e c o n c r e t e and p a r t i c u l a r of  analyzes  experiences of l i f e  toward  The mundane  a sense  objects  become c h a r g e d w i t h a s t r a n g e  intensity.  What S k e l t o n t e r m s  (p.  c a n b e f o u n d f r e q u e n t l y i n James D i e k e y i p o e t r y  as  xxxiii^  t h e "movement t o w a r d  mystery,"  well. In  and  "Fog E n v e l o p s  "Deer Among  the Animals,"  "The D u s k o f H o r s e s , "  C a t t l e , " Dickey shares w i t h S t a f f o r d  a  f e e l i n g f o r open l a n d s c a p e , p o p u l a t e d by a n i m a l s , i n which a quiet  communion t a k e s p l a c e . I n some poems t h e two p o e t s  resemble of  imagery.  the in  one a n o t h e r even more c l o s e l y i n t o n e D i c k e y acknoxirledges t h i s  and i n u s e  d e b t when he  includes  f o l l o w i n g q u o t a t i o n f r o m S t a f f o r d ' s b o o k West o f Y o u r  City  The S u s p e c t ;  The m a n g l e d h a n d made t h e w a t e r r e d . T h a t was something t h e o c e a n w o u l d remember: I saw me i n t h e c u r r e n t f l o w i n g t h r o u g h t h e l a n d , r o l l i n g , touching r o o t s , the world i n c a r n a d i n e d , And t h e r i v e r r i c h e r b y a k i n d o f m a r r i a g e , (p. 1 1 3 ) • Pour  years l a t e r  volume  Helmets:  "The P o i s o n e d Man"was p u b l i s h e d i n D i c k e y ' s  The  freezing  r i v e r poured  on  And, as i t t o o k h o l d o f my b l o o d , L e a p t up r o u n d t h e r o c k s and b o i l e d o v e r . I f e l t t h a t my h e a r t ' s b l o o d c o u l d f l o w Unendingly out o f the mountain, S p l i t t i n g b e d r o c k a p a r t upon r e d n e s s , And t h e c u r r e n t o f l i f e a t my i n s t e p  12 Give  d e a t h l e s s l y as  a spring.  I n b o t h poems t h e i n j u r e d into  a stream.  both  cases  the stream  blood flows to sea.  N a t u r e has  and  wounded and  becomes an  out o f h i m s e l f i n t o  W i t h the r i t u a l  "wedded" t o n a t u r e . mystic  washes h i s b l o o d soothed  him.  In  e x t e n s i o n o f t h e man. the water  o f f e r i n g up  and  His  is  carried  o f b l o o d he  becomes  Thus t h e f l o w i n g o f b l o o d b r i n g s  r e l e a s e , a k i n d o f exchange between the  a  speaker  nature. A n o t h e r p o e t whom D i c k e y  f e l l o w Southerner, Warren's work, l i k e transforming  plunging into  break a f t e r  Robert  the  consistently  Penn W a r r e n .  Stafford's,  the r e a d e r .  Penn W a r r e n i s l i k e like  speaker  Dickey  i s capable  of  believes that actually  " O p e n i n g a b o o k o f poems b y  p u t t i n g out  the l i g h t  t h e l a b y r i n t h and  first  admires i s a  o f the  feeling  corner i s passed.  One  the will  sun,  Robert or  thread never  1 "3 come o u t The  i n the  same S e l f  as  t h a t i n w h i c h one  entered."  b l a c k i n t e n s i t y o f the p o e t r y f o r c e s the r e a d e r i n t o  crisis  situation.  unforseen,  One  feels  pursued  i n e v i t a b l e . . .fjwhich w i l l  d e a d , d r i v e us  into  crime  by  the  a  "Secret-terrible,  either....  inexplicable  J  strike  t o any b u t  us  ourselves,  "or  y i e l d up  i n transfiguring  and r e l e a s i n g p a i n  D e f i n i t i o n . " ^ - The p r o c e s s o f c r e a t i n g 1  t e n s i o n i s one  Dickey, too, f i n d s '  technique requires poems as  and t h e n  our releasing  effective,,  This  time,, and when D i c k e y employs i t i n s u c h  "Palling,"  "The  P i r e b o n b i n g , " and  "Sermon" t h e  poems become l e n g t h y . B o t h D i c k e y and Penn W a r r e n a r e a b l e Kafkaesque The  u n i v e r s e i n w h i c h one  to create  i s continually  speaker i n " P u r s u i t from Under" f e e l s  of  life  It  under-  I n h i s poem  the grotesque  quality  i a inescapable.  However, i t i s i n "The creates  pursued.  the dark,  w o r l d l y presence c o n s t a n t l y under h i s h e e l s . " P u r s u i t " Penn W a r r e n d e s p a i r s b e c a u s e  a  B e i n g " t h a t D i c k e y most  t h e k i n d o f Vague O t h e r t h a t i s there,  inexplicably  effectively  terrifies:  above h i m , b e y o n d , b e h i n d ,  D i s t a n t , and n e a r where he l i e s i n h i s s l e e p Bound down as f o r w a r r a n t e d t o r t u r e . T h r o u g h h i s e y e l i d s he s e e s i t Drop o f f i t s w i n g s o r i t s c l o t h e s , The  visitation  himself In  i s inevitable  and  ( p . 15>li).  the speaker cannot  t o awaken i n o r d e r t o r i d h i m s e l f o f i t s p r e s e n c e .  Penn W a r r e n ' s " O r i g i n a l S i n : A S h o r t S t o r y " t h e  also  attempts  constant  force  to escape  the t o r t u r e brought  companion, o r i g i n a l s i n :  speaker  on by h i s  Nodding, i t ' s g r e a t head r a t t l i n g l i k e a gourd, And l o c k s l i k e seaweed s t r u n g on t h e s t i n k i n g s t o n e , The n i g h t m a r e s t u m b l e s p a s t , a n d y o u h a v e h e a r d I t f u m b l e y o u r d o o r b e f o r e i t whimpers and i s g o n e : I t a c t s l i k e t h e o l d hound t h a t u s e d t o s n u f f l e y o u r d o o r and moan. 15  Both poets u t i l i z e an atmosphere because  i s "warranted."  i s a necessary part  poems t e n s i o n that In  o f tense semi-darkness.  i t i s a necessary part  inflicts alive  grotesque imagery  i s created  of l i f e  which  comes f r o m b e i n g  as w e l l .  i s brought  Being i s able  appears  The t o r t u e w h i c h i t  and t h e n r e l e a s e d .  sense o f p u r g a t i o n which  t h e same w a y , D i c k e y ' s  The P r e s e n c e  of l i f e .  The g u i l t  i n order to create  I n both o f these Warren  on b y  seeks  distress.  t o bestow a m y s t i c  a w a r e n e s s on t h e s l e e p e r  as a r e s u l t  undergone.  He e x c h a n g e s  i d e n t i t i e s w i t h the Being during  and r e t a i n s  from the experience the a b i l i t y  plants  o f t h e t o r t u e he h a s sleep  t o " r a i s e / Dead  and h a l f - d e a d b e a s t s . "  Perhaps  because  o f h i s great  and Perm W a r r e n D i c k e y 3  asserts  admiration f o r Stafford  that  Theodore  Roethke  i s the  16 greatest  contemporary  Stafford's loving  American  poet.  of  explores  to depict  o f the subconscious mind.  domestic  terror  combines  sympathy f o r t h e w o r l d o f r o o t  w i t h R o b e r t Penn W a r r e n ' s a b i l i t y workings  Roethke  and n a t u r a l  joy.  and r o c k  the ever present  The r e s u l t  i s a poetry  Ted R o e t h k e  frequently  t h e d a r k u n d e r s i d e o f n a t u r e , t h e damp and m o l d  of  root  c e l l a r s becomes synonymous w i t h t h e d a r k  of  t h e p r i m e v a l s u b c o n s c i o u s o f man.  workings  The e n c o u n t e r b e t w e e n  poet  and  Other, whether the Other i s s i m p l y another  person  o r another m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f the poet h i m s e l f , r e s u l t s i n the r e l e a s e o f energy. either  terrifying  I t i s because  or joyous v i t a l i t y  o f the r e l e a s e  of  t h a t D i c k e y most  admires  R o e t h k e ' s work. Both poets use  the m o t i f o f the encounter  the major thematic d e v i c e s i n t h e i r p o e t r y . between the p o e t ,  the speaker,  as one  The  t h e human v o i c e  s u b j e c t whose c o n s c i o u s n e s s may  be  encounter c_n.d  psychic  o f the encounter;  the  that o f the human^ttie  a n i m a l o r t h e v e g e t a b l e w o r l d i s so i n t e n s e t h a t becoDB s a p a r t  of  He  the  }<_~  reader  )c  i s i n c l u d e d i n the  (*3  exchange.  The  e n c o u n t e r may  be  one  W  ^?^  L  c r e a t e s sympathy i n t h e  s p e a k e r . ^ I f L t h e e x p e r i e n c e i s i m o r e ^ n t e i i s - ^ ^ ^ p o e t becomes i n v o l v e ' d : Jfe  u n d e r g o e s an i n t e l l e c t u a l  the s u b j e c t .  But  identification with  the h i g h e s t i n t e n s i t y o f emotion  within  t h e poem.  the emotions,  and  the l i f e  These a r e , i n a s e n s e ,  a r e open t o t h e a r t i s t  as he  approaches  o f the  ~V""  is  c a p a b l e o f c a u s i n g t h e p o e t t o l o s e h i m s e l f and t o t a k e the p e r s o n a l i t y ,  ^A-^Xi  on  Other  the o p t i o n s  that  h i a work.  A l t h o u g h R o e t h k e and D i c k e y s h a r e w i t h W i l l i a m S t a f f o r d a c o n c e r n f o r the n a t u r a l world^ t h e y i n v o l v e more c o m p l e t e l y i n i t .  Stafford  themselves  /^\  can d e s c r i b e a " k i n d o f  t 0 it"'* marriage" 7 1  and  y e t f . w i t h t h e s e words he p l a c e s a d i s t a n c e  between the speaker  and  the n a t u r a l w o r l d .  The w e d d i n g i s  c^-^~^'^l  c o m p l e t e i n T h e o d o r e R o e t h k e ' s poem The  Far Field.  "Her L o n g i n g , "  The t u m u l t u o u s e m o t i o n s t h a t t h e p o e t  experiences  i n l o v e sweep h i m i n t o  "A p h e o n i x ,  s u r e o f my b o d y , / P e r p e t u a l l y r i s i n g  myself,/  My w i n g s h o v e r i n g o v e r  James D i c k e y ' s experience.  In this  for  t h e a i r and he becomes  c a s e , however, t h e s e a - b i r d i s t h e who h a s f i r s t  had to  Only  then  i s he f r e e ,  "He h u r t l e s  as i f m o t i o n l e s s / A l l t h e a i r i n t h e u p p e r w o r l d / a p a r t on h i s l i p s ^ "  (p.  two o t h e r poems " W i n t e r i s more l i k e  and  perceptions exist  the animal  poem t h e p o e t  Splitting  ).  the e x p e r i e n c e  first  a similar  d e a t h b e f o r e he c o u l d e x c h a n g e h i s p e r c e p t i o n s  t h a t o f another.  In  out o f  the s h o r e b i r d s . " ^  "Reincarnation ( I I ) " presents  r e i n c a r n a t e d form o f the speaker experience  from  T r o u t " and "The Owl K i n g "  R o e t h k e ' s b e c a u s e t h e human simultaneously.  comes t o s e e t h e w o r l d  In the  i n a new  light,  w i t h g r e a t e r c l a r i t y , b e c a u s e he h a s b e e n c a p a b l e o f envisioning  the n a t u r a l world  B e f o r e h i s e y e s as h e  through  the eyes o f a f i s h :  lifts  I n t o s p r i n g , w i t h t h e wood u p s i d e down Balanced p e r f e c t l y i n a l l i t s leaves And r o o t s as he d e e p l y h a s A l l w i n t e r made p r o v i s i o n f o r , The s u r f a c e f u l l o f g o l d f l a k e s Of t h e raw u n d e r s i d e s o f l e a v e s , And t h e t h i n g s e e n r i g h t , F o r once, t h a t w i n t e r bought, ( p . 129), The is  vision  from beneath, from  the truer v i s i o n .  Things  the underside a r e "seen  o f consciousness.  r i g h t " i n t h e same way  that is  t h e Owl  King i s capable of seeing c l e a r l y  the monarch o f the b l i n d .  comes c l o s e r him.  In both cases  considers  t h a t he,  the p o s s i b i l i t y  a g a i n , / As  a snake o r a raucous  lion,"  26).  (p.  poem t o The  bring  the poet,  bird,/  comparison  the p o e t i c p r o c e s s .  " I n ways James D i c k e y r e s e m b l e s time  and  experience. inhuman.  again Dickey The  I can  Or, w i t h l u c k , as  1  The  one  Sheep-Child,'  and h a l f - h u m a n . "  a b l e t o c r e a t e an e n t i r e l y new this  e l s e who  Simpson's said; '  I n Poems;  1957-  enlarges  m i n d i n t h e s e poems i s o r i g i n a l  as D i c k e y d o e s i n t o be h a l f - s h p e p  Roethke.  and  c o u l d have  and  our  even imagined,  what i t m i g h t be He  a  Simpson's  Simpson h a s  c r e a t e s a poem t h a t  t h i n k o f no  He  "might r e t u r n  o f h i s work w i t h R o e t h k e ' s b e c a u s e o f  c o n c e n t r a t i o n on  who  Far F i e l d .  James D i c k e y w o u l d be p l e a s e d w i t h L o u i s  and  can  Roethe e x p l o r e s t h e c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f a c r e a t u r e title  he  the p e r c e i v e r  t o t r u t h t h a n man's r a t i o n a l v i s i o n  dwells under water i n the  1967  although  like  Ted R o e t h k e a r e  e x p e r i e n c e f o r the  experience, because o f i t s i n t e n s i t y ,  1  reader  is a  "true"  one. It who  i s t h e o f t e n t h e p o e t s who  p l e a s e him  Warren's u s e on  the most.  because they  Stafford's  o f the grotesque  an e x c h a n g e b e t w e e n two  a r e most l i k e  and  worlds  c o n s t i t u t e h i s own  quiet  Dickey  understatement,  Roethke's c o n c e n t r a t i o n are  a l l "real"  particular poetic  f o r Dickey vision.  Simpson's e v a l u a t i o n w o u l d p l e a s e D i c k e y b e c a u s e o f  this,  and b e c a u s e S i m p s o n u n d e r s t a n d s  wholly  original  and  yet unmistakably  "Sheep-Child"  attributable.  t o be  Dickey discusses  t h i s p o i n t more f u l l y  i n the  article  d o o r N e i g h b o r ' s poems" i n w h i c h he most a d m i r e s  about the p o e t r y  entitled  "Your N e x t -  d e s c r i b e s what i t i s  of Robinson  he  Jeffers:  D e s p i t e h i s m u c h - c i t e d i m p u r i t y and h i s e x c e s s e s , Jeffers d o e s h a v e s o m e t h i n g t h a t a l l p o e t s p r o b a b l y n e e d and few h a v e : a l i f e - v i e w , a h a r d c o r e o f u t t e r b e l i e f , a p e r s p e c t i v e a g a i n s t w h i c h t h i n g s are measured, a p l a c d t o s t a n d f r o m w h i c h t h e p o e t c a n n o t be d i s l o d g e d , a temper o f m i n d and w i l l t h a t e n t e r s i n t o e v e r y t h i n g t h e poet w r i t e s , c o n d i t i o n i n g i t , accounting f o r i t s u n i q u e w e a t h e r -- i n a word, c r e a t i n e i t as a c o h e r e n t and i m m e d i a t e l y r e c o g n i s a b l e w o r l d « ,  And  here^ f i n a l l y ,  of Dickey's the  critic  i s the  term " R e a l i t y . " i s , i n part,  able  last The  step  i n the  definition  poem w h i c h seems r e a l  t o communicate t o h i m  because  t h e p o e t u s e s s i m i l a r i m a g e s , employs much t h e  same  matter,  as  ean to  be  one  overly  of  similar intensity  found i n the p o e t - c r i t i c ' s  qualify  organic is  or creates poetry  as  a g r e a t poet, the  w o r l d , one way  s u b j e c t i v e view o f  Thus D i c k e y ' s on  artist  the  same t i m e , be  intensity  artist  attempts  criticism  to r e t a i n  that w i l l  But,  which  order  an  vision.  the  artist,  on  the  This an  finding  innocence  Style i s  " a place  and,at  a kind  of  important  to stand"  H i s v o i c e must be  cycle of  the n e c e s s i t y f o r  to p o r t r a y h i s v i s i o n w i t h  p o e t becomes e f f e c t i v e .  in  to escape from  concentrates  give i t l i f e .  because i t i s o n l y by  that  must c r e a t e  a kind of unliterary  able  subject  poetry.  the f r e e i n g o f  the  work.  w h i c h i s t r u e t o i t s own  i n which Dickey  perception,  own  to  that  distinctive.  the  It  w o u l d seem t h a t b e c a u s e  o f h i s e m p h a s i s on  s u b j e c t i v e nature o f the poet's v i s i o n the poet in  the t e c h n i c a l freedom  h i s own  Paul C a r r o l l ' s their  And  a n t h o l o g y he p r a i s e s  works he  vision  t h e new  to  poets f o r  most o f t h e  H e r e as i n h i s o t h e r  2  allow  i n his introduction  " p e r s o n a l e x p l o r a t i o n s , f o r which,  t h e r e i s no p r e c e d e n t . " *  of  Dickey would  t o c r e a t e h i s own  p a r t i c u l a r manner.  the  time,  critical  a t t a c k s t h e t e c h n i c a l l y p e r f e c t poem f o r i t s l a c k  poetic  sincerity.  C a r o l s W i l l i a m s an on c o n t e m p o r a r y  James D i c k e y s h a r e s w i t h W i l l i a m  abhorrence  of Eliot's  formalistic  influence  poetry:  I'm a w f u l l y t i r e d o f t h e E n g l i s h p o e t i c t r a d i t i o n and o f the awful k i n d o f dead hand t h a t E l i o t i n s i s t s has t o be c l a m p e d on t h e i n d i v i d u a l t a l e n t by t h e p o e t i c t r a d i t i o n . . . . You c a n u s e s o m e t h i n g f r o m i t e v e r y now and t h e n f o r y o u r own p u r p o s e s b u t t h e m a i n e m p h a s i s t o me i s n o t b a d i t i o n and t h e i n d i v i d u a l t a l e n t , b u t t r a d i t i o n ( s m a l l l e t t e r s ) and t h e i n d i v i d u a l t a l e n t ( l a r g e l e t t e r s ) . *2<  If of  overly  technical verse i s a r t i f i c i a l ,  the c y c l e o f p e r c e p t i o n , t h e n the rough,  q u a l i t y o f t h e poems i n C a r r o l l ' s of  the p r o c e s s whereby the p o e t  creative  energy  does n o t  fall  his  own  and u t i l i z e  b a c k on  stance because  a p a r l o r game. diversion  and  experimental  a n t h o l o g y i s an attempts  destructive  indication  to harness h i s  i t to i t s f u l l e s t .  The  poe§  e s t a b l i s h e d patterns but t r i e s  organic world.  critical  and  Finally,  Dickey d i s l i k e s  he  that i t turns poetry  feels  T e c h n i c a l achievements irreparably  to c r e a t e  Eliot's into  become mere q u a i n t  separate poetry from  life.  On t h e o t h e r h a n d , i n t h e two c r i t i c a l w i t h a n t h o l o g i e s i n The S u s p e c t ' ( N e w P o e t s America  I  o f England  (1957) and The G r o v e P r e s s New A m e r i c a n  (I960) ) D i c k e y  He f e e l s  that,  a r e c o n s i d e r a b l y more i n t e r e s t i n g are]...  and  Poets  c l e a r l y f a v o r s t h e more c o n s e r v a t i v e E n g l i s h  poets' c o l l e c t i o n .  they  essays d e a l i n g  " 'The Movement' p o e t s than ours  " n o t o f g r e a t moment."  ... [ a l t h o u g h  ( p . l|2).  In h i s d i s c u s s i o n o f American poets Dickey p i n p o i n t s another p o s s i b l e the American integrity  failure  artist  o f a poem.  o f a u t h e n t i c i t y . He b e l i e v e s t h a t  has a tendency He i n s i s t s  to v i o l a t e  on an o r g a n i c f o r m w i t h i n  t h e poem. The t e c h n i q u e must grow f r o m artist's vision.  the organic  the nature o f the  On t h e one h a n d ^ D i c k e y o b j e c t s t o t h e  confessional poets,  c h a r g i n g them w i t h a r t i f i c i a l i t y  a t t h e moment when t h e y a r e a t t e m p t i n g  t o speak  p e r s o n a l l y . He b e l i e v e s them t o b e t o o f u l l y m a n i p u l a t i n g t h e poem, and D i c k e y  feels  this  that  t h e d e s p a i r and t h e i n s a n i t y  naturally,  c o n s c i o u s of  that because o f they p o r t r a y i s un-  convincing.  They f i n a l l y become mere c a r i c a t u r e s o f  themselves.  On t h e o t h e r h a n d , D i c k e y  the San F r a n c i s c o Renascence p o e t s can o n l y "moan o r h o w l , "  even  d i s m i s s e s many o f  as m i n d l e s s men who  (p. 119). In e i t h e r  c a s e , when  t h e p o e t ' s p e r c e p t i o n and h i s means o f e x p r e s s i o n a r e incongruous,  Dickey b e l i e v e s that  t h e poem c a n n o t work  effectively. Dickey  terms t h i s breakdown i n t h e c r e a t i v e p r o c e s s a  failure He  o f t h e " c e n s o r , " a c o n c e p t he  d e f i n e s i t as  determines  create  s a y aa  ( p._>0).  a dry, s t e r i l e  inoperative; vision  and what s h a l l n o t come i n t o  the f i n a l  s h a l l be u s e d , "  The  verse.  i n b o t h cases  t o how  On  The  material  c r e a t e s an .  c r i t e r i a c a n n o t be  technical  p o e t r y i s i m p o s s i b l e to r e s o l v e , to r e s o l v e  it.  cycle of perception.  freedom  said  producing  to  be  and "mindless"  and D i c k e y does n o t  This reluctance i s part As  be  insincere  c o n t r a d i c t i o n between u t t e r freedom  the p o s s i b i l i t y o f t h i s  attempt  the admitted  the o t h e r hand, i t can  the poet  Once a g a i n , t h e c r i t i c a l  a poem,  c e n s o r c a n be o v e r a c t i v e and  and f o r t h i s D i c k e y damns h i m  systematic.  t a k e n f r o m Auden.  "the f a c u l t y or i n d w e l l i n g b e i n g which  what s h a l l  and w h i c h h a s  has  the c r i t i c  c h a n g e , and w i t h t h i s h i s r e a c t i o n s  of  the  grows so do h i s t o t h e poem  concepts  itself  change. The attempt In  I96I4.  c o n t r a d i c t o r y responses to f i n d The  a v o i c e are, i n part,  Suspect  1968,  to  e x p r e s s i o n by  expanded h i s v i e w s .  a l t e r h i s r e a c t i o n i s evident from  C a r o l y n K i z e r which appeared  i n 1966.  t h e g r e a t p o e t o f t h e f u t u r e must f i n d that  i s u t t e r l y h i s own.  the E n g l i s h language  to Paul  the  English  Carroll's  T h a t he h a d  begun  the i n t e r v i e w by Dickey states  that  a "place to stand"  H i s p o e t r y , " w i l l have n o t h i n g  w h a t e v e r t o do w i t h t r a d i t i o n uses  time.  a g r e a t e r response  w i t h the i n t r o d u c t i o n  a n t h o l o g y D i c k e y has }  technical  poet's  a factor of  i n Poetry indicates  t o t h e more t r a d i t i o n a l l y poets; but by  to the American  except i n s o f a r  " (p. 12).  as t h e  E v e n h e r e he  poet calls  for  a new v i s i o n ,  carries  the poet  boundaries to  a vision  so i n t e n s e a n d p e r s o n a l t h a t i t  and t h e r e a d e r w i t h h i m b e y o n d t h e c u s t o m a r y  of "traditional poetry,"it  b r i n g s h i m once  again  life. In  h i s d i s c u s s i o n o f technique. Dickey concentrates  most o n t h e p o e t ' s u s e o f i m a g e r y . t h e s t r e a m o f images i s r i c h best." offers  And t h i s  2 3  and f u l l  Dembo,  that  "when  the censor i s a t h i s  i s one o f t h e f e w s p e c i f i c  o f the censor's a c t i v e  L.S,  He b e l i e v e s  tests  t h a t he  presence.  author o f Conceptions  o f R e a l i t y i n Modern  A m e r i c a n p o e t r y , d i s c u s s e s t h e c o n c e r n w i t h t h e image as a particularly typical and  t w e n t i e t h cenjsury i n t e r e s t .  o f o t h e r American p o e t s .  their various disciples  a Bergsonian  concept  implication i s that transcribing itself--  s h a r e what Dembo  i t i s an i d e a l i z e d  re-creation of a  a 'new v i s i o n , ' w h i c h h a s come t o b e a t h i n g the Bergsonian  a e s t h e t i c has been  and a p p l i e d d i f f e r e n t l y b y e a c h o f h i s f e l l o w  d e r i v e d from H e n r i Bergson that  r e c o g n i z e s as  t h e image i s n o t s i m p l y a v e h i c l e f o r  contemporary p o e t s , Dickey's  is  Pound, W i l l i a m s , S t e v e n s ,  o f t h e c r e a t i v e u s e o f l a n g u a g e . "The  i n - i t s e l f . " 2 4 Although emphasized  Dickey i s  a sensation but represents part o f the sensation  or, better,  sensation,  In this  of a revealing  system as w e l l .  agent.  of aesthetics i s The r o l e  The i n s i s t e n c e  o f the a r t i s t on b o t h t h e  s u b j e c t i v e p e r c e p t i o n and t h e c o m m u n i c a b i l i t y o f t h e artist's and  vision  are both Bergsonian.  the poet b e l i e v e  Both  that past precedent  force i n the evolution of s t y l e ,  the philosopher  i s not the motivating  but rather  that  intuition  is  t h e means o f  " f i n d i n g the  implication f i n a l l y possibilitiesj For  the  v i o l e n t image.  of h i s p e r s o n a l i t y to knows b e s t  Therefore,  of  The  h i s own  involved calls  the p o e t r y .  b e c a u s e he  In t h i s  more f u l l y  poet faces  He  can  i n t e n s i t y of  f o r the  the American e p i c .  dramatic,  subject  the  i n the  poet's  c o u l d be  epic  that  truly.  Harvey Pearce's  Pearce explains  force  about  t h e n s p e a k more  their  examine Roy  fulll  must w r i t e  sense D i c k e y ' s p o e t r y  i f we  infinite  "reality."  p o e t must b r i n g t h e  D i c k e y ' s poems f i n d  experiences. stood  "reality"  The  2  e a c h new  a kind of i n t e n s i t y that  w h i c h he  duration." ^  i s f r e e to d i s c o v e r  James D i c k e y  vision, or  he  i s that  true  under-  discussion  i n terms  of i t s audience:  Ours i s n o t t h e h e r o i c s e n s i b i l i t y . We c a n n o t r e a l l y b e l i e v e i n h e r o e s ; y e t t h e y must be c r e a t e d f o r us. I t f o l l o w s t h a t t h e a u t h o r o f t h e A m e r i c a n e p i c must be h i s own h e r o , as h i s e p i c i s t h e r e c o r d o f h i s s t r u g g l e t o make s o m e t h i n g o f h i m s e l f and o f t h e w o r l d w h i c h constitutes his central subject; 2 6  And  this  i s c e r t a i n l y the  case i n Dickey's p o e t i c  w h i c h c o n s i s t s o f memories o f h i s p a s t , very  personal One  t o be  s t r u g g l e w i t h b o t h named and  function of poetry  Crystal Ball: w h i c h was  unnamed  the guilt.  d e l i v e r e d as  April  Carlos  i s found i n "Spinning  believes the  Some G u e s s e s a t t h e F u t u r e o f A m e r i c a n  first  C o n g r e s s on  ( he  dreams, and  o f D i c k e y ' s c l e a r e s t s t a t e m e n t s o f what he  the  William  universe  21}., 1967.  Williams'  f e e l s that Williams  sound s u r p r i s i n g l y l i k e  a l e c t u r e at the Although Dickey  p r o s a i c ) , he  Williams:  Poetry,"  Library  of  dislikes  i n f l u e n c e upon contemporary i s too  Cry  begins  poetry to  I t h i n k t h e new p o e t r y w i l l b e a p o e t r y o f t h e d a z z l i n g l y s i m p l e s t a t e m e n t , t h e s t a t e m e n t t h a £ i s c l a i r v o y a n t l y and s t u n n i n g l y s i m p l e . . . w h i c h h a s a ... warm s i m p l i c i t y ot vision: The s i m p l i c i t y t h a t o p e n s o u t d e e p e r i n t o t h e w o r l d a n d c a r r i e s u s w i t h i t . . . ( p . 16) We s h a l l h a v e a t r u l y t r i b a l p o e t r y , something n a i v e and u t t e r l y c o n v i n c i n g . (p. 17) At on  one t i m e D i c k e y  described  t h e poem a s m e r e l y  a p a g e , " a n d y e t he o b v i o u s l y b e l i e v e s t h a t t h e poem  c a n b e much more.  The poem i s t h e a g e n t c a p a b l e  inducing a mystical experience.  As A r i e l  from the dark p r i s o n , h i s l i b e r a t i n g reading the  "words  audience from a s i m i l a r  only  test. itself.  test  f o r the excellence  releases  himself  act releases h i s  emprisonment.  Finally,  o f a poem i s a p e r c e p t u a l  I n a good poem t h e c y c l e o f p e r c e p t i o n The poem comes t o l i f e .  of  completes  A C h r o n o l o g i c a l E x a m i n a t i o n o f James D i c k e y ' s P o e t r y : The E a r l y Poems The p r e c e d i n g b r i e f aesthetics it  a n a l y s i s o f James D i c k e y ' s  and h i s c r i t i c a l  l e a d s back  to the p o e t .  work i s i m p o r t a n t i n s o f a r  I n h i s f o u r volumes o f p o e t r y  ( I n t o t h e S t o n e , 1960$ D r o w n i n g w i t h O t h e r s , 1962; 196k*  and. B u c k d a n c e r s f  C h o i c e , 1965)  e n t i r e l y i n h i s l a t e s t book attempted  which  appear  t o p r e s e n t an o r g a n i c u n i v e r s e .  Distortion,  center.  The p o i n t o f v i e w i s n e a r l y The  half-light, he  almost  Falling  time i n  t h e i r way  always  i s p l a c e d . He  falls  w i t h the eyes o f the dead, b e s t i a l being.  The new  t h e mad,  his  eccentric, o f f -  the s t r a n g e environment  through a i r , f l o a t s  (whether  into  s p e a k e r ' s v i s i o n i s sometimes l i m i t e d sometimes b y  by  i n which  i n water,  sees  the m u t i l a t e d , or the  v i s i o n i s a c l a i r v o y a n t one.  It  r e s u l t s f r o m an exchange o f e n t i t i e s , whether t h e p o e t to  live  into  as i n "The  t h e l i f e o f someone v e r y d i f f e r e n t  Scarred G i r l , "  o r "The  has  i s the  d a r k n e s s , madness and v i o l e n c e  a c t u a l o r suggested), c o n t i n u a l l y f i n d work.  Helmets  ( Poems: 1957-1967) D i c k e y  f i f t h volume w h i c h i s c o l l e c t e d f o r t h e f i r s t Poems.  as  from  F i e n d , " o r Wtether  attempts himself  the  e x c h a n g e o f p e r c e p t i o n o c c u r s b e t w e e n t h e s p e a k e r i n t h e poem and t h e d e a d the  as i n "The  S t r i n g , " o r between the s p e a k e r  a n i m a l w o r l d as i n "A Bog  S l e e p i n g on My  Feet," or  and  11  The Sheep-Child .' 1  C r i t i c s more r e a d i l y u n d e r s t a n d what i t i s t h a t is  a t t e m p t i n g t o do i n poems  s u c h as " S l e d B u r i a l ,  Ceremony" and "The B i r t h d a y Dream" b e c a u s e acceptance  o f F r e u d i a n dream p s y c h o l o g y  Most a r e r e l u c t a n t c l o s e d system:  t o attempt  is  essentially  varies.  This i s  i n his article  attributes  as a l i t e r a r y d e v i c e .  g o a l s and t h e view o f t h e volumes o f h i s  t h e same t h r o u g h o u t ,  i n v o l v e d i n t h e attempt  Davidson  o f the widespread  a primordal world.  u n i v e r s e w h i c h he p r e s e n t s i n t h e f i v e  treatment  Dream  t o u n d e r s t a n d h i s p o e t r y as a  Although Dickey's l i t e r a r y  p o e t r y remain  Dickey  i n part  the t e c h n i c a l  t r u e because  to discover a voice,  "The D i f f i c u l t i e s  the poet Peter  o f Being  Major,"  t h e changes i n s t y l e t o l a c k o f e x p e r i e n c e :  U n l i k e L o w e l l , whose w o r k h a d m a t u r e d i n t e c h n i q u e b e f o r e he was t h i r t y , D i c k e y , s t a r t i n g f r o m s c r a t c h a t t h i r t y f o u r , b r o u g h t a f u l l y i n h a b i t e d i m a g i n a t i o n t o h i s work, b u t he h a d t o f i n d h i s own t e c h n i q u e , a r h e t o r i c t h a t w o u l d e n a b l e h i s i d e a s a n d s e n s a t i o n s t o move f r e e l y i n  verse.2^  H i s p o e t r y c h a n g e s f r o m a more t i g h t l y c o n s t r u c t e d f o r m a l work i n w h i c h t h e v i s i o n i s h i g h l y s u b j e c t i v e  to a  l o o s e r v e r s e f o r m i n w h i c h t h e p o e t works c o n t i n u a l l y toward  the n a r r a t i v e ,  moves f r o m  and d r a m a t i c i m p a c t .  Finally,  Dickey  t h e n a r r a t i v e poem t o t h e n o v e l y & t f V i h i s p u b l i c a t i o n o £  Deliverance.2§ Although  the t e c h n i c a l  approach v a r i e s , the  cosmology remains  t h e same t h r o u g h o u t  of stone, darkness, water,  h i s work.  The i m a g e s  b i r d , moon, and s u n d o m i n a t e t h e  poems. There and  i s wide c r i t i c a l  v a r i a n c e as t o t h e i m p o r t a n c e  success o f the t e c h n i c a l  Peter Davidson,  W.D.  Strange, Laurence  Kaye and Norman F r i e d m a n Dickey's  evolution  an i m p r o v e m e n t . Ralph  J. Mills  changes i n D i c k e y ' s  would  toward  Lieberman,  a l l generally  a more o b j e c t i v e  On t h e o t h e r h a n d , D o n a l d j r . , L o u i s Simpson, R o b e r t  M.L. R o s e n t h a l w o u l d t e n _ t o d i s a g r e e . however, f e e l  i t important  calls  this  and R o b e r t able  that  treatment i s W.  Baker,  A l l critics,  to discuss the strange Ralph  q u a l i t y Metempsychosis, *  quality  J. Mills  H.L. W e a t h e r b y  c  terms t h e movement  agree  Howard  Duncan, and  that gives Dickey's poetry i t s v i t a l i t y . jr.  style.  i n D i c k e y ' s p o e t r y t h e "way o f exchange,"^  Bly prefers  to d e s c r i b e the t e n s i o n Dickey i s  t o c r e a t e i n terms o f a s p i r i t u a l  struggle.^  I n o r d e r t o u n d e r s t a n d b o t h t h e n a t u r e o f and t h e reason f o r the c r i t i c a l changes have a r o u s e d these  controvery which Dickey's  and t h e p o e t ' s  same e x p e r i m e n t ,  Into in  that  This chapter w i l l  deal primarily  two b o o k s o f h i s p o e t r y .  t h e Stone  i s unusual  the poet u t i l i z e s  metrical foot.  justification of  i t w o u l d be b e s t t o examine t h e  poetry chronologically. with the f i r s t  own  technical  He c h o o s e s  f o r contemporary  poetry  t h e a n a p e s t i c and t h e d a c t y l i c this  "strongly  cadenced  language"  because he b e l i e v e s i t t o have a " v e r y an u n u s u a l s o u n d o f u r g e n c y of  inevitability...." The  best  title  3 2  and p a s s i o n  first  Res:  and g r a v e c o n v i c t i o n ,  volume i s one o f t h e  examples o f t h e m a n i f e s t a t i o n the emotional  theme and i m a g e r y .  He b e g i n s  o f the d r i v i n g  intensity "Into  the Stone" i n Medius  i n t o m o o n l i g h t . " 3 ^ The t o n e i s m y s t i c a l . rowing to a l i a s o n ,  o n l y b y t h e moon. between t h e p a s t  i s suspended on a d a r k l a k e l i t  He i s s u s p e n d e d b e t w e e n two s h o r e s  and  and f u t u r e m e e t i n g s w i t h h i s l o v e d o n e .  l o v e he l o s e s h i m s e l f .  who p a r t a k e s  a l l t h e way  The s p e a k e r ,  Because o f h i s a l i e n a t i o n from t h e d e f i n i t i v e and  rhythm  established by  "On t h e way t o a woman, I g i v e / My h e a r t  while  sound:  "  poem o f t h i s  which underlines  compelling  shore,  He becomes a n e g a t i v e  o f a l l around him.  sunlight,  being  He c a n , f o r i n s t a n c e ,  become t h e moon. The first At  e x c h a n g e b e t w e e n t h e s p e a k e r and t h e moon  i n t h e poem when h e g i v e s h i s h e a r t  occurs  "into moonlight."  t h e same t i m e t h e m o o n l i g h t becomes synonymous w i t h t h e  l o v e r ' s l o n g i n g f o r h i s woman.  His passion  i s externalized:  "Now down f r o m a l l s i d e s i t i s b e a t i n g . " The  speaker's i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with  fused with  a second i d e n t i f i c a t i o n :  " L i k e t h e dead, I  h a v e n e w l y a r i s e n , / Amazed b y t h e l i g h t Darkness, dead.  quietude,  t h e moon becomes  I c a n throw."  a n d a l i e n a t i o n make h i m t h i n k o f t h e  The c y c l e o f s u n a n d moon l e a d h i m t o t h i n k o f t h e  corresponding  cycle of l i f e  and d e a t h .  And he, l f k e t h e  moon, w h i c h j o u r n e y s i n t h e s p a c e b e t w e e n t h e p l a n e t s , journeys i n the dark the l a k e .  space  T h i s space,  o f water between t h e shores o f  this  d a r k n e s s becomes, b y v i r t u e  of i t s negative existence, a p o s i t i v e place. is  in itself  a "land  The d a r k n e s s  between."  H oward Nemerov i s c a p a b l e o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g admiring  this  q u a l i f y ! i n D D i c k e y s work. 1  continuousness this  "The p a r a d o x i c a l  o f a l l d i s p a r a t e f o r m s on w i t h a n o t h e r , i n  generated world,  i s what Mr. D i c k e y ' s poems c o n c e n t r a t e  on r e p r e s e n t i n g , o f t e n b y t h e t r a d i t i o n a l l o r e f o u r e l e m e n t s . ' - ^ E a r t h , a i r , w a t e r and f i r e  o f the  continually  1  reflect  and o f  o r p a r t a k e o f one a n o t h e r i n D i c k e y ' s p o e t r y .  The  e x c h a n g e and t h e u s e o f p a r a d o x i c a l i m a g e r y a r e  devices found  throughout  "Into the Stone."  The l i n e ,  "My  t h i n f l e s h i s s h e d b y my shadow" u t i l i z e s b o t h o f t h e s e techniques. line.  There  The f i r s t  are p o s s i b l y  i s that  there i s a s h e l l o f f l e s h  t h e shadow s u b s t a n c e  o f man.  reveals  darkness,  the i n t e r i o r  through the dark water.  two r e a d i n g s f o r t h i s over  The s h e d d i n g o f f o f t h e f l e s h t h e n e g a t i v e b e i n g who  A second  body i s c a s t by t h e shadow^rather  possibility  glides  i s that the  than v i c e v e r s a . I t i s  a k i n d o f l o o k i n g - g l a s s w o r l d i n w h i c h t h e moon, t h e d e a d , and  t h e l a n d made o f w a t e r a r e t h e p o s i t i v e  speaker  can "see by t h e dark  side of l i g h t . "  features.  The  He i s n o t  d e p r i v e d o f h i s v i s i o n b u t r a t h e r g i v e n a new p e r s p e c t i v e . He a t t h i s moment h a s r e a c h e d h i s f u l l he who I s h o u l d h a v e become."  potentials  " I am  This mystic experience i s the  E a c h t i m e , t h e moon h a s b u r n e d b a c k w a r d . E a c h t i m e , my h e a r t h a s gone f r o m me And s h a k e n t h e s u n f r o m t h e m o o n l i g h t . E a c h t i m e , a woman h a s c a l l e d , And my b r e a t h came t o l i f e i n h e r s i n g i n g ,  By p a r t i c i p a t i n g utterly  i n the r i t u a l ,  ( p . I4.7)  by l o s i n g h i m s e l f  t o t h e moon and t h e dead^he i s r e c r e a t e d .  deliverance  from n e c e s s a r y a l i e n a t i o n i s f a c i l i t a t e d by  h i s l o v e d one.  She p a r t i c i p a t e s  g i v e up my f a t h e r my l i m b s . "  The  i n the r e b i r t h . " I  a n d m o t h e r ; / My own l o v e h a s r a i s e d up  A n d as h e l i v e s  so do a l l o f t h o s e whom h e  h a s met i n t h e n e g a t i v e u n i v e r s e , t h e l a n d o f t h e d e a d . I n t h i s poem t h e s u n and moon a r e p l a y e d a g a i n s t one  a n o t h e r ; however, t h e y a r e n o t m u t u a l l y  exclusive  spheres.  I n James D i c k e y ' s  cosmology they a r e p p p o s i t e d  only that  t h e y may b e c o n s i d e r e d as c o n t i n u o u s  o f t h e b a s i c harmony o f n a t u r e . true  i n h i s e a r l i e r poems.  act o f l i v i n g , At t h i s  This i s p a r t i c u l a r l y  The l i v i n g  and t h e d e a d , t h e  and t h e a c t o f d y i n g p a r t a k e o f e a c h o t h e r .  time i n t h e p o e t ' s  several formal structuring length,  qualities  d e v e l o p m e n t he u s e d  d e v i c e s s u c h as r e g u l a r  t r a d i t i o n a l p u n c t u a t i o n , and a p r o n o u n c e d  stanza pre-  d o m i n a t e rhythm,, However, t h e s t r u c t u r i n g p l a y s a g a i n s t the e s o t e r i c create  vision  another  intensity  s o u r c e o f t e n s i o n i n t h e work.  The  that Dickey considers necessary i s generated by  h i s use o f sound. intent  and t h e r o m a n t i c u s e o f l a n g u a g e t o  on c a s t i n g  The p o e t r y becomes a p r i m i t i v e a spell  on i t s a u d i e n c e .  It i s  chant  in  the use  o f the r e f r a i n l i n e  that the  i n c a n t a t i o n becomes most e f f e c t i v e "Sleepftiag Out Lighthouse first  " a r e two  the t w i l i g h t  passing light  a t E a s t e r " and  and  "On  the H i l l  poems s e t i n h a l f - l i g h t .  vision  i s resultant  from  change i n t o  trees."  As  eye  which  coming o f  the world  merges out  o p e n s s l o w l y w i t h o u t me."  the  and b e g i n s  t h e s p e a k e r becomes i d e n t i f i e d w i t h the  o f c h a o s so d o e s t h e s p e a k e r  to  "All  i s recreated  sun; And  the  the n i g h t ' s  W i t h the  emerges o u t o f d a r k n e s s  Below In  t a k e shape: the itforld i s c r e a t e d o u t o f c h a o s . Presences  ritual  i n t h e s e e a r l y poems.  t h e emergence o f d a y .  the world  chant o f  the  as t h e  "One world  emerge f r o m  the  subconscious xrorld o f s l e e p w h i c h he d e s c r i b e s as a k i n d of w o r l d o f human." It  animal c o n s c i o u s n e s s .  The  light  i s the l i g h t  creates  speaker  birds  source o f l i f e  has  at  sun  With t h i s  and r o o t .  he h a s  He  now  can  and  that that  As  identify  s l e e p i n g on h i s  and now  w i t h g r a s p i n g / The  h i s hand  s o u r c e o f a l l song  t w o - f o l d e x c h a n g e he becomes  w i t h the process o f c r e a t i o n sun  so does he While  cut o f f the c i r c u l a t i o n  the r o o t . "  camper,  agent.  i s the v e g e t a b l e w o r l d .  i d e n t i f i e s w i t h the  "hoveringly tingles,  liberating  mind.  h i m s e l f w i t h the vegetable w o r l d . h a n d he  eyes become  t h e i r song,  surrounds the  camper's c o n s c i o u s  Another the  that  animal  as an a c t i v e ,  t h a t g i v e s the  the f o r e s t  awakens the  i s seen  "My  and  t a k e s on  " p u t down t h o s e  d i s c o v e r e d i n h i s deadened hand.  one  t h e power o f seeds" o f  life  The man's b o d y  recreates life.  t h e w o r l d and f u l f i l l s  the p o t e n t i a l  A t t h e same t i m e t h e w o r l d i s c r e a t e d ao  have a w o r l d t o p e r c e i v e .  Both  When D i c k e y s a y s t h a t l i g h t , " he  "the King's  grave  i s s p e a k i n g o f t h e camper who,  a reawakening. the s p i r i t  And  the k i n g i s a l s o  o f n a t u r e who  day o n l y b y  finds l i f e  the presence  of  by  that  stanza.  the r e s t  celebrate  and  sleeping  the Vegetable  last  The  t h e most o r a c u l a r l i n e s  to f a c i l i t a t e and new  d a r k i s now  King,  death,  line  of  taken  selecting  from,  principle  are c o l l e c t e d f o r  i n c a n t a t i o n necessary to the c r e a t i o n o f l i g h t  both  seems  to the reader:  no  more.  In y o u r p a l m i s the s e c r e t o f waking. P u t down t h o s e s e e d s i n y o u r h a n d ; A l l P r e s e n c e s change i n t o t r e e s . A f e a t h e r s h a l l d r i f t from the p i n e - t o p . The s u n s h a l l h a v e t o l d y o u t h i s s o n g , For t h i s i s the grave o f the k i n g ; For the K i n g ' s grave t u r n s you to l i g h t , (p, The  or  at E a s t e r "  stanza consists of l i n e s  The  to  darkness.  l i n e which r e p e a t s the f i r s t  stanzaic unit.  both familar  All  that  t u r n s him  only through  o f t h e poem and r e o r d e r e d .  seems t o b e the l a s t  The  t e n s i o n thus c r e a t e d between a p e r s o n a l  17)• statement  ( the d e s c r i p t i o n o f waking i n the morning a f t e r  having  spent  ritual  of  in  the n i g h t outOof-doors)  Easter(which consists  life  may  actually insures  F o u r o f t h e s i x s t a n z a s i n " S l e e p i n g Out end w i t h a r e f r a i n  t h a t he  are s i m u l t a n e o u s l y n e c e s s a r y .  s u r r e n d e r i n g h i m s e l f t o a comatose s t a t e ,  and  of  cycle) i s resolved.  the imperative v o i c e .  and  the impersonal  o f the e n a c t i n g o f the death The  reader  Although  is  finally  and  addressed  the o c c a s i o n i s E a s t e r  Dickey returns the reader to a p r e - C h r i s t i a n  primitive  celebration of spring. "On t h e H i l l speaker  Below t h e L i g h t h o u s e "  as a man b e t w e e n w o r l d s .  c o n s c i o u s o f t h e room a r o u n d the speaker  lies  sleeping  solitude  another,  him.  A f t e r h a v i n g made l o v e  A s i n " S l e e p i n g Out a t E a s t e r " t h e i s emphasized by t h e presence  l o v e d one.  bird-like  He i s h a l f - a s l e e p , y e t  w i t h h i s woman b e s i d e h i m and r e s t s o n  t h e edge o f s l e e p . speaker's  again presents the  sleep.  The camper f i n d s  comfort  But w h i l e t h e i r bodies  t h e i r minds e x i s t  of a  i n h i s son's  are next  o n two d i f f e r e n t  t o one  levels of  consciousness. Deep s l e e p , h a l f - s l e e p , a g a i n s t one a n o t h e r darkness, artificial  i n "The L i g h t h o u s e "  the moonlight, light  form  they sleep i n .  the f i g u r e  "The  The shadows, c a s t b y h i s l o v e ' s a chair,  seem t o t h e s p e a k e r  o f an a n g e l w i t h s p r e a d w i n g s . i s s t r o n g e r than  The  t h e moon's  a n d t h e n a t u r a l w o r l d becomes c o n f u s e d w i t h t h e  unnatural. round  that  t h e moon" and t r a n s f o r m s t h e  l i g h t h o u s e ' s beam o f l i g h t light  i n t h e same way  and t h e l i g h t h o u s e ' s beam o f  c l o t h i n g which i s spread over to  are played  a r e c o n t r a s t e d w i t h one a n o t h e r .  b r i g h t arm sweeps t h r o u g h room t h a t  and wakefulness  like  "The s u n i s d e a d , t h i n k i n g o f n i g h t / Swung a t h i n g on a c h a i n . "  The s u n i t s e l f  exchanges  e n t i t i e s w i t h t h e l i g h t h o u s e lamp and i s d e s c r i b e d as i f it  were a m e c h a n i c a l Thus t h e s p e a k e r  r a t h e r than  a n a t u r a l body o f l i g h t .  i s a g a i n p l a c e d i n a suspended  state.  He  e x i s t s i n a world  i n which r e a l i t y  are  indistinguishable^  and  the u n c o n s c i o u s dream-vision  The  light  within For is  i s s u e s from b o t h the  the  sleeper.  thought, the  of r a t i o n a l  sleep  t h a t the  peace o f l o v e , over the  first  and  may  and  the  paradoxical  be).  And  deep/  And  i t  dark p a r t o f  the  perception  the v a r i o u s  i t i s within  contentment o f s l e e p  (  the The  slowly  and  u s e s e i g h t s t a n z a i c u n i t s and  seven stanzas  ends w i t h  i s a compilation  allows  rest  results  from the p l a y o f the stimuli  steal  to the r e a d e r  as he  lines  level  refrain of  intensity  atmosphere o f  eighth stanza  and  s l e e p i n g man  h i s love  tension  of  s i n k s i n t o s l e e p he  discovers  the  now  last  familiar stanza  more s p e c i f i c a l l y on  l e s s on  tenderness here.  The  the  outside  Finally,  of  sleep.  are by  i n tone.  concentrates and  into  of  The  speaker's p e r c e p t i o n  is a shift  i s more p e r s o n a l  There i s g r e a t e r  The  gradually sinks  i n the  there  and  line.  o f the p r e v i o u s  o f t h e poem.  each  against h i s subconscious perceptions  same s t i m u l i  A l t h o u g h the  a refrain  f o r a r e d u c t i o n of the  i n the  and  i n the mind too  c e s s a t i o n o f the r a t i o n a l  created  that  arcffrom  image o f t h e moon i s u n a d u l t e r a t e d .  Dickey  eighth stanza  external  outside world  fused.  speaker.  Again,  lines  light  perception  inextricably  depths, from the  the  fantasy  rational  a wind i s b e g i n n i n g . "  (however r e l a t i v e  kinds  the  like  from the  mind, which B r i n g s  are  "From a p l a c e  a light  light  of l i g h t  -where c o n s c i o u s  and  as t h e  the  world. speaker  t r u e v i s i o n o f b o t h the  o f h i s l o v e r : "A woman comes t r u e when I  think  mo  R i c h a r d Howard p a r t i c u l a r l y admires Dickey's use o f t h i s technique: We have a k i n d o f morphology o f the r e f r a i n as Dickey uses it so t h a t ... we can p u t the i t a l i c l i n e s t o g e t h e r at the end o f the poem and have y e t another poem, a k i n d o f mythographic g l o s s on the experience presented, a m a r g i n a l i a which aaccounts f o r and perhaps j u s t i f i e s the separate poem i n t h i s r i t u a l u n i v e r s e . 3 5 He goes on t o p o i n t out t h a t "the d e v i c e i s one taken over from Yeats, ... and the tone, caught from Roethke."36  in  a d d i t i o n , a l l t h r e e poets share an i n t e r e s t i n f o l k mythology and rhythms. "The S t r i n g " and "The Jewel" are two more poems from Into the Stone which u t i l i z e the r e f r a i n . In b o t h o f these poems a l i n e i s r e p e a t e d a t the end o f each s t a n z a .  "The  Jewel" i s a work i n which the grotesque d e p e r s o n a l i z e d images o f war are contrasted-wifHthe poet's a t t r a c t i o n to these same i n s t r u m e n t s . an a l i e n a t e d v i s i o n .  And the c o n t r a d i c t i o n r e s u l t s i n  The r e f r a i n "Along, i n l a t e n i g h t "  emphasizes the p i l o t ' s a l i e n a t i o n from h i s own s p e c i f i c and h i g h l y p e r s o n a l humanity, and h i s a l i e n a t i o n human s o c i e t y i n g e n e r a l .  from  In a l l o f h i s e a r l i e r poems  Dickey uses the r e f r a i n l i n e to c r e a t e atmosphere and to f u r t h e r d e l i n e a t e a r i t u a l u n i v e r s e .  Now, however, the  p i l o t ' s g u i l t , which i s the s u b j e c t o f the r e f r a i n , separates him from the r i t u a l u n i v e r s e .  I t i s i m p o r t a n t t o note t h a t James Dickey was to the more t r a d i t i o n a l p o e t i c forms h i s work.  Into the Stone  drawn  at the b e g i n n i n g o f  c o n s i s t s o f poems which c o n t a i n  from f i v e to e i g h t s t a n z a s .  These poems are composed o f  t i g h t l i n e s which end on a r i s i n g n o t e .  This creates a  choppy rhythm and emphasizes the dramatic q u a l i t y which i n t e r e s t s Dickey consistently.  D i c k e y s b e l i e f t h a t the  p r o c e s s o f c r e a t i o n i s an o r g a n i c one has l e d s e v e r a l techniques i n an attempt  him to t r y  to get the v o i c e r i g h t :  I began to w r i t e poems by ... ^ s t a r t i n g w i t h a s u b j e c t - o f t e n v e r y v a g u e l y d e f i n e d — and l e t t i n g rhythms develop out o f i t , aided, no doubt by years o f g u i t a r p l a y i n g , and then s u p p l y i n g what I thought were the r i g h t words to i n j e c t the s u b j e c t i n t o the cadences that now seemed to be running i n my mind e n d l e s s l y , not s t o p p i n g even w h i l e I was a s l e e p . 3 7 So the more ^ t r a d i t i o n a l b a l l a d and n a r r a t i v e appealed to D i c k e y b o t h because mythology and because poems came to him as when he was of theme was  forms  they grew from f o l k -  o f t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p to music.  The  at times o f semi-consciousness, as w e l l  fully alert.  The i n t e l l e c t u a l  selection  f o l l o w e d by a p t f i ^ - i i n which the poem was  allowed to grow by i t s e l f without the i m p o s i t i o n o f the purely i n t e l l e c t u a l f a c u l t i e s .  In a sense, he  carried  the poem at the back o f h i s mind and allowed i t to develop by i t s e l f .  At t h i s stage Dickey i s now  able to hear the  poem much l i k e one hears a poem t h a t one remembers from the p a s t , although the s p e c i f i c words o r images are not immediately  recalled.  I t i s because  o f h i s a t t i t u d e toward the c r e a t i o n o f  poetry that each of Dickey's collection the  books o f p o e t r y i s not  o f u n r e l a t e d works.  cosmology which D i c k e y  h i s poems.  Although  predominately  he  The  rhythms, the  utilizes  a  themes,  c r e a t e a u n i t y among  begins h i s poetic career  anapestic or d a c t y l i c  f e e t , he  with  works g r a d u a l l y  towards a g r e a t e r freedom o f rhythm. The is  stanza form  eventually disappears  g r a d u a l l y r e p l a c e d by 1967  In the  words: the  split-line  technique  are not  remains i n t e r e s t e d  alienation,  continue  explored.  And  certainly  c o n c e n t r a t i o n on speaker He  himself,  and  Twentieth  and  ritual  figure,  King"  and  life  by  the  serve  the  and  a prototype.  the  poet  comes t o calls  the  same f u n c t i o n .  c r e a t i o n o f t h e poem  The  unnamable  " S l e e p i n g Out  K i n g , " he  J.G-. F r a z e r sometimes c a l l s  However, b o t h  Dickey's  speaks f o r the  i d e n t i f i e d w i t h what J e s s i e L . Weston  The  love a l l  reveal  In  the  Familial  of creation.  centure  Vegetable  and  of  between  another.  an i n d i v i d u a l  a t t h e same t i m e , he  i n "The  spaces However,  hunting  i n h a b i t a n t s o f the m y s t i c u n i v e r s e . Easter"  technique.  same s u b j e c t s .  death,  i n h i s poetry i s both  speaks f o r the  i s used.  t h e poems t h e m s e l v e s  the mystic  punctuation  poem i s f r e e  e x c l u s i v e o f one  i n the  relationships, t o be  the t i t l e  and p a u s e s a r e i n d i c a t e d b y  volumes o f p o e t r y poet  a more c o n t e m p o r a r y  collection Falling  stanzafication  and  i n the  be  the"Fisher  "May  The  at  King."  poet  same way  creates that  the  Vegetable harvest  King  i s responsible f o r the r e t u r n o f the  season.  The t i t l e  folk-mythology, Dickey  itself  to sympathetic  speaks  suggests  a return to  magic.  o f h i s f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h r i t u a l and  f o l k - m y t h o l o g y when C a r o l y n K i z e r i n t e r v i e w s h i m : I h a v e r e a d f o r y e a r s a l l t h e s e , w e l l , t r a n s l a t i o n s when I d i d n ' t know t h e l a n g u a g e ... b u t I ' v e t r i e d t o come i n t o c o n j u n c t i o n i n one way o r a n o t h e r w i t h Eskimo dance r i t u a l s and B a n t u h u n t i n g s o n g s and t h a t s o r t o f thing. 38 The  thing  has  g i v e n h i m i s an e v o c a t i v e s e n s e  in part,  t h a t he f e e l s  exist  cultures  and h a s , cosmology.  f o rh i s constant use o f paradoxical  i n terms o f f o l k - c u l t u r e .  The p e o p l e who  c l o s e to n a t u r e , " are saying something  c o n d i t i o n w i t h which they and  o f imagery,  a i d e d him i n h i s development o f a p o e t i c  He e x p l a i n s t h e r e a s o n imagery  the study o f v a r i o u s f o l k  still  out o f a  a r e i n p r e c a r i o u s and d a n g e r o u s  sometimes d e s p e r a t e harmony, b u t a l w a y s a harmony o f some  k i n d w h i c h , e v e n when t h e e n v i r o n m e n t  d e s t r o y s them i s  some k i n d o f harmony w i t h t h e e n v i r o n m e n t . " 3 9 The d e s t r u c t i o n itself  i s an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f c r e a t i o n .  P e r h a p s an e x a m i n a t i o n and  the use o f the stone  some o f D i c k e y ' s  o f Prazer's r e f e r e n c e to stones  as a r i t u a l  intentions  d e v i c e wo"gld  i n t h e poem " I n t o t h e S t o n e . "  The moon-stone i n D i c k e y ' s poem t u r n s t h e s p e a k e r shadow-figure, points out that casting  spells.  clarify  and t u r n s h i s h a i r  a ghostly white.  some p e o p l e s b e l i e v e One s t o n e o f t h i s  stones  into  a  Prazer  capable o f  type i s c a l l e d ",'eating  ghosts,  1  because c e r t a i n powerful  are b e l i e v e d on one  to lodge  of these  f r o m him,  i n them.  t h e y may in  the  falls  draw h i s s o u l  traditional  barriers.  I t i s o n l y by  A l l worlds  that  and own  Dickey  partake of  the f u s i o n o f c o n t r a r y worlds  e x i s t s as . s e p a r a t e e n t i t i e s .  creation of l i f e  out  techniques  In the m y t h o l o g i c a l world  t h e r e a r e no  another.  I f a man's shadow  i n o r d e r t o i n c o r p o r a t e them i n t o h i s  universe.  portrays  ghosts  die."4?  will  However, D i c k e y u t i l i z e s  ritual  dangerous  stones, the ghost w i l l  so t h a t he  folk-patterns  and  and  of  The  fusion  one that  results  light:  The l i g h t seems t o come f r o m some r a t h e r m y s t e r i o u s p r o c e s s o f e x c h a n g e b e t w e e n a man and h i s o p p o s i t e s . . . i t may o c c u r ... b e t w e e n men who a r e o p p o s i t e d t o e a c h o t h e r b y n a t i o n a l i t y , between t h e l i v i n g and ghe dead, between men and t r e e s and e v e n between men and wrecked machinery.  And by H  i t i s this  .L. W e a t h e r b y .  a mysterious  imaginings  that One  effect  distinguishing  and  fusion  i s termed  i s , as we  speaker  of  Exchange"  o f t h e ways i n w h i c h D i c k e y have seen, by  the e x t e r n a l events  o f the  " t h e Way  who  from  inhabits  the  achieves  carefully  not  subjective  t h e poem.  Mind  a c t i o n become c o n f u s e d much as i n a dream t h e  elements  o f r e a l i t y become f u s e d w i t h f a n t a s y . In h i s second  volume o f p o e t r y , Drowning w i t h  t h e poems t e n d t o be  longer.  Most o f them a r e composed  ten stanzaic u n i t s  except  "The  "Dover: B e l i e v i n g  Owl  K i n g " and  Others,  f o r t h e l o n g e r n a r r a t i v e poems i n Kings."  The  of  relationship family,  o f man t o woman, o f man t o members o f h i s  the experiences  experiences  as a h u n t e r  Although of  the poet  o f wab-time, and t h e p o e t ' s continue  t o be e x p l o r e d .  continues  to u t i l i z e  t h e same g r o u p  s u b j e c t s e a c h v o l u m e o f poems c o n c e n t r a t e s w i t h g r e a t e s t  e m p h a s i s o n one p a r t i c u l a r  s u b j e c t . Thus I n t o  i n c l u d e s poems w h i c h a r e s e t i n " d a r k n e s s light."^-  Although  2  t h e Stone  and a s p e c i a l i z e d  Drowning i n c l u d e s former  p o e t i c themes,  most o f t h e poems a r e e x p l o r a t i o n s o f f a m i l i a l  relationships.  "The  "Pacing  Owl K i n g , "  "To H i s C h i l d r e n i n D a r k n e s s , "  Africa,"  and "The Magus" a r e poems w h i c h e x p r e s s  feelings  f o r h i s son.  " I n t h e T r e e House a t N i g h t " i s an  exploration o f the r e l a t i o n s h i p living  and h i s dead b r o t h e r s .  longer l i v e s ,  we a r e t o l d  bound t o t h e two l i v i n g the Stone i s s i m i l a r l y The  poet's  point  relationship  the poet's  between t h e p o e t Although  one b r o t h e r no  t h a t he i s s t i l l  brothers.  and h i s  intricately  "The S t r i n g " i n I n t o  a poem a b o u t t h e e v e r - p r e s e n t w i t h h i s own p a r e n t s  dead.  i s the f o c a l  o f "The H o s p i t a l Window" and "A B i t t h . " The  half-light  w h i c h c r e a t e s a new v i s i o n  volume o f p o e t r y i s s t i l l suspension  present  and t h e a l t e r e d v i s i o n  i n the f i r s t  i n Drowning b u t the t h a t can be c r e a t e d by  w a t e r becomes a m a j o r c o n c e n t r a t i o n . "The L i f e g u a r d , " "Drowning w i t h in  the world  Dickey's  Others"  o f water.  former  t h r o u g h no f a u l t  and " I n s i d e t h e R i v e r " a r e a l l s e t " L i f e g u a r d " combines s e v e r a l o f  attitudes.  I t i s a poem o f g u i l t , i n c u r r e d  o f the speaker,  from h i s u n i n t e n t i o n a l f a i l u r e  a guilt  Ttfhich r e s u l t s  as a f a t h e r - f i g u r e .  The  c h i l d o f water  i s lost  him i n t h e dark l a k e . and p h y s i c a l l y  because  t h e o l d e r man c a n n o t  Again, the speaker f e e l s  c o n n e c t e d t o t h e moon w h i c h  find  intimately  s h i n e s on the  water. In  t h i s poem,as i n " W a l k i n g o n W a t e r , " f r o m I n t o t h e  Stone, D i c k e y p l a y s w i t h the C h r i s t to  perform miracles.  However, t h e C h r i s t  L i f e g u a r d " o n l y f u r t h e r emphasizes He w a l k s is the  on w a t e r  described water  body.  failure to  guilt.  The d e a t h  t h e u s e o f d i s c o n n e c t e d images.  as i t r e f l e c t s  "skin o f the sky." A l l that  Even dead  t h e m o o n l i g h t , becomes t h e  the l i f e g u a r d  v i c t i m was h i s h a i r :  go u n d e r . "  the speaker's  becomes synonomous w i t h t h e b o y ' s  The w a t e r ,  drowning  image i n " _ h e  " i n quest o f the m i r a c l e . "  though  itself  image and t h e power  saw o f t h e  " I saw h i s c r o p p e d  haircut  W a t e r becomes a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t h e l i f e - g u a r d ' s  t o save t h e boy.  The c h i l d r e n who a r e e n t r u s t e d  him have w i t n e s s e d h i s f a i l u r e .  and a s t h e l i f e g u a r d  i s left  But as darkness  a l o n e he d i v e s  again i n the  s p o t where t h e b o y drowned.  And i t i s a t t h i s  the  that  return o f the l i f e g u a r d ,  falls  time, w i t h  the mystic r i t u u l  begins:  As I move t o w a r d t h e c e n t e r o f t h e l a k e , W h i c h i s a l s o t h e c e n t e r o f t h e moon, I am t h i n k i n g o f how I may be t h e s a v i o r o f one Who h a s a l r e a d y d i e d  —  •..  i n my  care.  I c a l l s o f t l y o u t , and t h e c h i l d ' s V o i c e answers t h r o u g h b l i n d i n g w a t e r ,  The w a t e r  i s b l i n d i n g b o t h because  ( p . $2).  i t has c u t o f f  the boy's v i s i o n through death, and because i t i s b r i g h t w i t h the r e f l e c t e d r i p p l e s o f moon-light.  In order to  m a g i c a l l y r e v i v e the boy i t i s n e c e s s a r y f o r the  life-  guard to be w i t h i n the moon's and the l a k e ' s h e a r t .  And i t  i s when the magical r e v i v a l has bean performed t h a t the l i f e - g u a r d can "wash the b l a c k mud  from" h i s hands.  g u i l t t h a t had e a r l i e r completely p a r a l y z e d him has  The abated  somewhat• However, the c h i l d who  he now  a c h i l d o f "water, water, water."  h o l d s i n h i s arms i s He i s both from the water,  and, because o f t h a t , from the l a n d o f the dead. l i f e g u a r d stoops from h i s boat he l i f t s  As the  nothing but water  i n h i s arms. The d i f f e r e n c e bBtween t h i s poem- and e a r l i e r poems o f darkness, moonlight and magic i s that the a c t i o n tends to f o l l o w a c h r o n o l o g i c a l r a t h e r than a c y c l i c  pattern.  The death o f the boy i s c l e a r l y a s i n g l e event which i s f o l l o w e d by a p e r i o d o f g u i l t so i n t e n s e the speaker from h i s own  kind.  that i t alienates  However, the l i f e - g u a r d  re-emerges from the comatose s t a t e o f shock i n order t o act out h i s g u i l t .  F i n a l l y , the denouement a r r i v e s  l e a v i n g the l i f e g u a r d more c o n s c i o u s l y and aware o f the l o s s he has  fcerrifyingly  suffered.  This poem i s one o f the f i r s t i n which Dickey roateuse o f the persona who u s u a l speaker.  i s u t t e r l y d i f f e r e n t fr>_>#n the  The poet f r e q u e n t l y uses h i m s e l f  as the  persona but i n c r e a s i n g l y , i n the l a t e r volumes, he  attempts  the exchange between h i s own  p e r c e p t i o n s and those  of a h i g h l y d i f f e r e n t i n d i v i d u a l i n o r d e r to preseifct the reader w i t h y e t another k i n d of a l t e r e d v i s i o n .  We  see more of t h i s i n the d i s c u s s i o n o f Helmets and  will Buckdancer's  Choice, The poem "Drowning w i t h Others" i s s i m i l a r to Being" which appears i n Helmets,  "The  i n t h a t the o r i g i n a l  strangeness o f the tone and the complex mystic v i s i o n  that  dominate the work i n Dickey's f i r s t volume i s found again i n these poems.  In "Drowning" p a r t o f the tone o f mystery  i s a r e s u l t o f Dickey's conscious r e f u s a l to d e s i g n a t e the boundaries o f s u b j e c t i v e and o b j e c t i v e o b s e r v a t i o n s .  One  p o s s i b l e r e a d i n g o f the poem i s that the speaker again stands i n a boat on water, f r i e n d who  and t h i s time he watches a  i s swimming underwater.  envies the man  While the speaker  h i s g r e a t freedom, he i s unable to a r r i v e  at the same degree o£ f r e e a c t i o n .  The act of going i n t o  the water transforms h i s f r i e n d ; h i s s h o u l d e r - b l a d e s which are the l a s t p a r t s o f h i s body to completely submerge l o o k l i k e "human, everyday wings." from h i s head l i k e  His h a i r stands out  "a k i n g f i s h e r ' s c r e s t . "  the elements partake o f one  another.  Once again  The water world i s  d e s c r i b e d l i k e the world o f a i r . The d i v e r ' s l i b e r a t i n g f l i g h t underwater r e s u l t o f k i n e s t h e t i c freedom.  i s the  His body i s r e l e a s e d  from  the p u l l o f g r a v i t y much as a b i r d i n f l i g h t would be.  E v e n h i s h a i r has  been set f r e e .  The  " r e l e a s i n g h i s h a i r from h i s b r a i n . " h a i r becomes a s e n t i e n t case the  diver's  extension  thoughts  are  b o u n d a r i e s b e t w e e n a i r and flux,  o r between l i f e  water f u n c t i o n s the  dead.  as  and  the  Thus i n t h e  water i s capable In Dickey's  o f the  universe  brain.  u n r e s t r i c t e d by  In  the  this  usual  water, or between m a t t e r death because,  dwelling  place  as we  of  the  of  and  have  seen,  spirits the  of  poem " I n s i d e  the  River"  swimmers  freedom i s o n l y p o s s i b l e because o f  the  exchange w i t h  1  the  dead:  Your f r e e d h a i r f l o a t i n g Out o f y o u r b r a i n , W a i t f o r a coming And swimming i d e a . L i v e l i k e the dead (p.  I n b o t h " D r o w M n g " and floats perfect if  i n a kind  "Inside  can  the  "heart  w a t e r , one  w i t h the  understanding of i n nature i s to  d i e on  yourself."^3  is  the  of  the  insists  the  the  "The  behalf  comes q u i t e goes on of  However, t h e  to  living  and  Difficulties  close  to say  to  that  with an  "to  drown  i t , to e n r i c h n a t u r e literal  sense o f  Dickey extracts  into nature  by  drowning  from the and  e n l i v e n one's p e r c e p t i o n s .  image r e t a i n ^.the  dead,  current."  article  submerge o n e s e l f  dead, i n o r d e r the  He  sense t h a t  drown, o r  that  swimmer  " t o drown i s t o become one  d e a d , " he  Dickey.  losing  only  of  Davidson, i n h i s  o f B e i n g Major," s a y s t h a t  can  River"  o f w a t e r y cosmos o f h u m a n i t y i n w h i c h  find  When P e t e r  One  the  communion i s p o s s i b l e w i t h a l l men  o n l y he  not  105).  word. the  land  Dickey  force of both of i t s  kk paradoxical implications. In "Things, V o i c e s , Minds" a review o f Drowning byThorn Gunn, the E n g l i s h p o e t - c r i t i c demonstrates a deeper comprehension o f Dickey's  world-view." Dickey's  e f f o r t to make f a n t a s y meaningful, And  i s an  to t u r n i t i n t o  vision....  the b a s i c v i s i o n i s maybe a p a r t i c i p a t i o n which i n v o l v e s  a simultaneous  l o s s o f i d e n t i t y and  tofafel p r o c e s s . results  from the  a keen awareness o f the  In f a c t , Dickey i m p l i e s t h a t the awareness loss."^-  The e a r t h i s another means o f a c h i e v i n g p s y c h i c communication i n Dickey's p o e t r y . R e l i c s at N i m b l e w i l l Creek" two  In "Hunting C i v i l  b r o t h e r s s e t out  War  together  to u n e a r t h the scraps o f metal t h a t l i e b u r i e d i n an o l d Southern b a t t l e f i e l d .  The  speaker,  again, i s the  observer.  As the b r o t h e r holds the metal d e t e c t o r the speaker watches his face.  The b r o t h e r serves as the i n t e r m e d i a r y between  the dead who  have been b u r i e d at N i m b l e w i l l and  When the d e t e c t o r emits  a sound i t i s not  the  j u s t the  living. result  of r a d i o waves s t r i k i n g metal but r a t h e r i t i s the sound of the dead  speaking:  ... but he the b r o t h e r Must be h e a r i n g the grave, In p i e c e s , a l l s i n g i n g To h i s clamped head, For he smiles as i f He rose from the dead w i t h i n Green N i m b l e w i l l And  stood i n h i s grandson's shape, (p. 99).  As the medium's body becomes i n h a b i t e d by the v o i c e o f the  the dead, so does the b r o t h e r ' s body become i n f u s e d w i t h the s p i r i t o f the dead. Ancestor worship becomes p a r t o f t h e experience  as the  b r o t h e r o f f e r s up "a metal d i s h , / A f l o a t i n the trembling weess."  The speaker h i m s e l f then kneels to the dead, as  ha d i g s f o r r e l i c s .  By the a c t o f worship a communion i s  e s t a b l i s h e d and the b r o t h e r s are then underground"  allowed  "to go  They are allowed to t u r n back the e a r t h and  d i s c o v e r the instruments  o f war.  And the ancestor i s not  merely the g r a n d f a t h e r who fought a t Himblewill* become  a more g e n e r a l i z e d f i g u r e .  overcome by the mystic  he has  The speaker k n e e l s ,  experience. He i s l i k e one:  ... who s h a l l l i f t up the p a s t , Not b r e a t h i n g "Father," At N i m b l e w i l l , But s a y i n g , " F a t h e r s ! F a t h e r s ! " (p. 99) In t h i s way James Dickey  combines two s u b j e c t s . He  s t i l l u t i l i z e s the f o l k - r i t u a l but a l concentrates  the same time he  on h i s own p a s t , on h i s f e e l i n g toward h i s  Southern f o r e b e a r e r s . I t i s because o f t h i s poem and others l i k e i t t h a t John W i l l i a m C o r r i n g t o n b e l i e v e s t h a t " Dickey grasps  the s p e c i a l and permanent r e l a t i o n s h i p between a  people  and i t s own p a s t .  at  The r i t u a l o f d i s c o v e r y f i g u r e d  ''Nimblewill* p l a c e s the Southern past beside t h a t o f  the Hebrews and C h r i s t i a n s , s e t t i n g the confederate * F a t h e r s ! , Fathers!', i n t o the a r c h e t y p a l p a t t e r n o f Ecclesiasticus.  dead,  In  t h i s poem, as i n o t h e r s , the m y s t i c a l and  sense o f time e x i s t simulafeanously. narrative plot,  and at the same time  n a r r a t i v e i s toward nature, supercede  There i s a k i n d o f :  the impetus o f the  an experience which must, by i t s v e r y  time.  At a l l times Dickey has been  i n t e r e s t e d i n c r e a t i n g t e n s i o n between the two of  chronological  dimensions  time. However, there I s a n o t i c e a b l e change i n the treatment  of  the encounter i n Drowning w i t h Others.  poet s t i l l  Although the  d e a l s w i t h the theme of the, u n i t i n g o f c o n t r a r y  q u a l i t i e s o r persons and s t i l l world, the myths now  attempts to c r e a t e a mythic  b e g i n to f i n d themselves more f i r m l y  r o o t e d i n the domestic l i f e o f the poet, o r of the persona which he e x p l o r e s i n h i s poems o f empathy. now  It i s easier  f o r the reader to e x a c t l y comprehend the nature of the  exchange i n poems l i k e  "A Dog S l e e p i n g on My F e e t . "  In  t h i s poem, as i n " S l e e p i n g Out at E a s t e r , " a deadened limb becomes the n e c e s s a r y instrument o f the exchange.  The poet  s i t s alone i n h i s l i v i n g room w r i t i n g . Because h i s dog l a y s s l e e p i n g over h i s feet, h i s c i r c u l a t i o n i s cut o f f and h i s l e g s become deadened. However, because  of t h i s discomfort  the poet i s allowed to share the s l e e p i n g dog's  sensibilities.  The poet becomes a dog i n v o l v e d i n the excitement of chasing a f o x , and the dog i n t u r n becomes the poet. In t h i s  way  the dog i s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the c r e a t i o n o f the poem. I t is  h i s v i s i o n t h a t the poet uses i n the poem. In  James Dickey's r i t u a l u n i v e r s e images become magic  hi symbols c a p a b l e the i n i t i a t e .  o f bestowing The  the e a r t h .  terms t h i s the  A l l exists  journey into  journey  to the  the  to  c l a i r v o y a n c e upon the  together  as one.  "His  a heart of  sense  Tension, which a r i s e s  paradox also g i v e s Dickey's  heart  tension.  The  At  the  magic,stone,  from  poetry  encounters,  of experience.  for  night.  And  the  from  the  cosmology.  i t s presence and  generates of  quality.  o r j o u r n e y s must be  Water b o t h l i b e r a t e s ' ,  the l i v i n g  o n l y so  and  f o r new  i t i s , also,  life  t h a t t h e r e may  Dickey's Mewed  which  c o n t i n u a l use  an i n t e n s e  which at times  but  incurred.risk,  to  the  the r e s o l u t i o n represents  of  the  and more u n l i k e a l l The  moon i t s e l f  i s responsible  emprisons  the  swimmer.  e a r t h i t s e l f i s a b a r r i e r which cuts the dead o f f  potential  poet.  i n darkness,  of  center exists  the o t h e r elements i n Dickey's a light  experience—  of guilt  moon, i s a t t h i s moment b o t h more a l i k e ' ,  is  toward  dangerous.  always a t t r i b u t a b l e  Each o f the r i t u a l  initiate  Dickey's  changes, moving  O f t e n i n h i s p o e t r y t h e r e i s a sense  tension.  sun,  M i c h a e l Goibdman  "heart of experience."  center, usually  of a not  of  a p o s i t i o n w h i c h empowers t h e  a h e a r t which i s not h i s h e a r t but  or  center  c e n t e r o f t h e moon, t h e  images a r e b o d i e s w i t h i n w h i c h he  an a n i m a l  vital  l i f e g u a r d must row  the l a k e because i t i s a l s o and  a new  dwells. be  the  A l l contradictions exist  harmony.  images a r e d e f i n e d so  as c o n t i n u o u s .  the p l a c e i n which  L i k e t h e Y i n and  t h a t t h e y may  I n t h i s way  finally  James D i c k e y  Yang, be  i s a mystic  CHAPTER THREE Helmets and Buckdanoer s Choice 1  I t i s e v i d e n t from o n l y one r e a d i n g o f Poemst 1967  1957-  t h a t t h i s work stands whole and u n i f i e d even though  there are d e f i n i t e e v o l u t i o n a r y stages i n each volume. However much a c r i t i c may of  o b j e c t to the p a r t i c u l a r m a n i f e s t a t i o n  Dickey's cosmology, o r h i s p o e t i c v o i c e , each o f Dickey's  poems are immediately  a t t r i b u t a b l e to him.  Dickey's a r t f u l f i l l s  the most important c r i t e r i a  own  c r i t i c a l canon.  In t h i s  sense  of h i s .  He has found "a p l a c e to stand."  Moreover, he s a t i s f i e s h i s own  criteria  on a second  point.  The poet i s c o n s t a n t l y t r y i n g to i n f u s e the poem, and the poem the r e a d e r , w i t h an i n t e n s e v i t a l i t y .  The  through  vitality,  the energy and the t e n s i o n which he c r e a t e s i n h i s a r t are  difficult  f o r b o t h the poet and the reader to s u s t a i n  u n l e s s the b r i d g e between the two i s capable o f b e a r i n g the n e c e s s a r y emotional s t r a i n . sometimes, caught  short.  In t h i s way  Dickey i s ,  At times the c y c l e o f p e r c e p t i o n  f a i l s because the poem i s i n c a p a b l e o f g e n e r a t i n g the amount and q u a l i t y o f i n t e n s i t y n e c e s s a r y to g i v e the poem life. The c r i t i c a l opion d i f f e r s  about which o f Dickey's  poems are the most and which the l e a s t s u c c e s s f u l . . Some f e e l t h a t the e a r l i e r p o e t r y i s flawed and o t h e r s t h a t i t  was o n l y i n the l a s t few volumes t h a t Dickey, began t o fail  the r e a d e r .  the e v o l u t i o n .  A few have remained w i t h him throughout Most c r i t i c s  agree t h a t the t r a n s i t i o n  begins most c l e a r l y to m a n i f e s t i t s e l f i n Dickey's  third  book, Helmets. The poems i n Helmet3 are g e n e r a l l y l e s s rhythmic,  and t h e r e i s g r e a t e r v a r i a t i o n i n the kinds o f  s t a n z a i c u n i t s t h a t the poet uses.  F o r i n s t a n c e , "At  Darien B r i d g e " c o n s i s t s o f two l i n e stanzas, w h i l e " S p r i n g e r Mountain" and " D r i n k i n g from a Helmet" c o n s i s t of a type o f verse paragraph.  The form o f  "Approaching  P r a y e r " i s determined toy the nature o f the poem and, here again, the poet u t i l i z e s the i t a l i c i z e d l i n e i n o r d e r to designate  a change i n v o i c e .  Dickey i t a l i c i z e s and i n d e n t s  the l i n e s t h a t are spoken by the w i l d boar. An examination  o f companion poems ("Near D a r i e n "  from  Into the Stone and "At D a r i e n B r i d g e " from Helmetd) i s , perhaps, the b e s t way to determine the exact nature o f t h i s ' transition.  In the e a r l i e r poem the poet  such as the boat  creates enclosures  t h a t the l o v e r i s i n , o r the e n c l o s u r e o f  the l a n d around the water, i n o r d e r t h a t these may be c o n t r a s t e d to the boundless  consciousness he i s e x p e r i e n c i n g .  The l o v e r draws an " i n f i n i t e b r e a t h . " p a s s i o n a t e mate and an e t h e r e a l b e i n g .  H i s w i f e i s both a He can f l o a t i n h e r  mind both because she t h i n k s o f him and because she s u s t a i n s him.  He w i l l  " l i e i n *jhe quick o f her'image." Thus she  p a r t a k e s o f t h e w a t e r and b o t h o f them. moonlight," The  and,  second  poet's return less  She  and  concerned  i n the poet's h e a r t .  poem, "Near D a r i e n B r i d g e , " d e s c r i b e s t h e  He  He  i s now  What was  i s a c h a n g e d man,  death.  The p o e t  space,  once,  The  s e a w h i c h was  "As  space which t u r n s  i f many c o n v i c t s h a d  the d i a l l i n g  h e a d / And  c u t s my  a flat "As  o f the  sun."  is  The  g r a y s e a comes t o  feet.  able to  shed  childhood. It i s a  As  f»*tf>n a  convict's  t h e b r i d g e was  so t h e p o e t ' s l o v e i s now  built  in  " s c r a t c h e d / Wedding b a n d " on h i s f i n g e r  r e m i n i s c e n t o f the chains that  their  world,/  and'imprisonment.  reflection  hammer t h a t r e t u r n s t o t h e p o e t .  captivity.  the  However, i n t h e l a t e r poem t h e  c h i l d h o o d memory o f t h e sun's  those i n c a p t i v i t y ,  gray  the gray climbs  The  sterility  image o f t h e sun i s a memory f r o m  by  built i t . "  impinging  "Near D a r i e n " t h e l o v e r ' s b r e a t h was  "the l i g h t  Heaven,"  b r a i n o f f from the  I w a l k and w i s h m a i n l y f o r b i r d s . " i d e n t i f i e d w i t h death,  inward  p l a c e o f t h e moon, a "huge,  body w h i c h t h r e a t e n s the p o e t .  In  becomes  i n t h e e a r l i e r poem, a s e a o f  s t o n e i n t h e s k y , " i s now  s i d e o f my  and  particular  i n w h i c h " a l l w a t e r s h i n e s down o u t o f  seems t o t h e p o e t  be  older  more aware o f h i s own  w i t h an e n c l o s i n g  now  ruined  of this,  of approachirg  upon i t s e l f . mystery  because  with  a " v a s t , s h i n i n g p l a c e i n the  to Darien.  romantic.  frailty  holds  t h e moon and becomes one  t h e c o n v i c t s wore  on  The  poet  ends "At D a r i e n B r i d g e " w i t h  the  lines:  I s t a n d and l o o k o u t o v e r g r a s s e s A t t h e b r i d g e t h e y b u i l t , l o n g abandoned, B r e a k i n g down i n t o w a t e r a t l a s t , And l o n g , l i k e them, f o r f r e e d o m Or d e a t h , o r t o b e l i e v e a g a i n T h a t t h e y w o r k e d on t h e o c e a n t o g i v e i t The Out We  see,  The  unchanging, hopeless look of which a l l m i r a c l e s l e a p . again, that death  bridge,  and  the poet's  and  (p.  117)  d e c a y l e a d t o a new  life  seem t o be  life.  the most  p e r m a n e n t e l e m e n t s i n t h e poem; however, e v e n t h e y slowly being  encroached  reclaimed.  Although  alternative  the  a l t e r n a t i v e ^ and vision the  speaker  and  are  prefers, i t i s s t i l l  i n t h i s we  see  a narrowing  one  the  i t o f f e r s more c o n c r e t e  l a t e r poem t o be details,  and  speaker  mystic's in  better in  sees  Darien.  Howard b e l i e v e s t h a t i t i s o n l y w i t h  i n h i s m i n d as he v i e w s t h e  Helmets t h a t D i c k e y reward, r a t h e r than  charm.  three  vision  a more  that arise  accurate  of  of the  thoughts  own  the  poem.  demarkation between t h a t which the  of  being  t o a more r a t i o n a l i z i n g  R i c h a r d Howard f i n d s that  nature  the m i r a c l e i s o b v i o u s l y  i n "Near D a r i e n "  later  upon by  are  i s "now as  content  a magical  with  and area  the  the around  publication  t h e poem as i t s  c h a r m . . . . " 4 7 He  i n h i s o b s e r v a t i o n t h a t t h e poem i s no Incantation i s slowly being  specific  r e p l a c e d by  is  longer the  a  n a r r a t i v e poem w h i l e  a growing  emphasis i s b e i n g p l a c e d  upon t h e u n f o l d i n g o f n a r r a t i v e  action.  " C h e e r y l o g Road," "The S c a r r e d G i r l , " Polk Singer o f the T h i r t i e s " Helmets which f o l l o w middle  "Kudzu," and "A  a r e some o f t h e poems i n  a narrative  plot.  I n some o f D i c k e y '  and l a t e r poems t h e a c t i o n i t s e l f  of r i t u a l .  i s t h e enactment  ^  Frequently,  the r i t u a l  poetry i n v o l v e s animals. which can r e s u l t is  "On t h e C o o s a w a t t e ,  from  that Dickey  describes i n h i s  And t h e e n l i g h t e n e d v i s i o n  t h e exchange w i t h animal  the subject o f both  consciousness  "A Dog S l e e p i n g on My F e e t , "  ( D r o w n i n g ) and " A p p r o a c h i n g  Prayer,"  l a t e r poem " t h e r e i s an a c t u a l as H..L. W e a t h e r b y n o t e s . ^  (Helmets). In the  ' p u t t i n g on' o f t h e b e a s t , "  The e x c h a n g e i s d e s c r i b e d i n  a manner w h i c h p l a c e s most o f t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r t h e encounter  on t h e s p e a k e r .  He i s no l o n g e r t a k e n  over  w h i l e he i s i n a d e m i - c o n s c i o u s  state,  poems and some l a t e r poems l i k e  "The B e i n g . " Now he must  put t h e boar's initiate  h e a d o v e r h i s own i n o r d e r t h a t he may  t h e e x c h a n g e and c o n s e q u e n t l y  With t h i s  a c t he i s _ r e l e a s e d  and g r i e f  t h a t he f i n d s  p r a y e r he o f f e r s  from  o f f e r up a p r a y e r .  the paralyzing  i n h i s father's  loneliness , 1  empty h o u s e . The  i s a p r a y e r o f t h e x ^ a r r i o r who t h r o u g h t h e  enactment o f t h e hunt and w i t h t h i s  as i n t h e e a r l i e r  c a n guarantee-,  the discovery o f food,  d i s c o v e r h i s own m a s c u l i n i t y .  I n t h i s poem we c a n s e e t h e d i r e c t i o n  that Dickey  will  take and  later. the  The  s p e a k e r becomes more and  natural world. Furthermore, use  exchange i s i n i t i a t e d  With t h i s ,  t h e p o e t has  of voices,  as  Other, the b e i n g , becomes more "The are  two  aggressor  poems come t o be  Scarred  i n the  reader  in  "Owl  King."  the p a r t n e r  In t h i s  i n the  more a c t i v e . the  sense  act of  the  the  exchange  objectified. Girl,"  and  empathetic  i s introduced  them become p a s s i v e girl  more an  speaker  "A  Folk  Singer  o f the  o f t h e poems f r o m H e l m e t s w h i c h e x p r e s s  interest the  the  begun to experiment w i t h  i n the or  the  by  looses her  exchange.  to  and  Dickey's  and  poems  then watches  They a r e b o t h m u t i l a t e d .  beauty i n a car  singer i s c r u i c i f i e d  James  In b o t h o f these  the personae  victims.  Thirties"  finally  accident,  and  s u f f e r s the  the  The  folk-  l o s s of h i s  integrity. There i s a k i n d o f i r o n y suggested i f these are  considered  m u t i l a t e d by  together.  her  accident.  c a r b r o k e on h e r stitched victims piece'  out  together  The  who  her  and  own.  "put  utilizes  She  upon  by  learns  alive.  the Is  two She  can  accepting i t s that  "a newborn  everything."  s u f f e r s and  what he  of  f o r her beauty/  However, o f t h e  shattered world  f o l k - s i n g e r , who  vision  lost."  war  poems  is irreparably  Because the w i n d s h i e l d  r e m a i n s more w h o l l y  her be  scarred g i r l  the"small  o f s i g h t and  c o u n t e n a n c e " may  new  face  i t i s she  imperfections  The  two  has  i n turn i s given  learned  i n a negative  a way.  He becomes a p r o p h e t  for a sick  conversion, i n this  society  rich.  The  figure  t o a mass-medium demagog.  "Drinking from effect  "The  that i t takes  the  a Helmet" i s a f r e q u e n t l y a n t h o l o g i z e d  P r i s o n e r s " from Drowning w i t h Others 1  C h o i c e , which  e x p e r i e n c e s o f war. head-gear  that  A helmet  t a k e s as i t s s u b j e c t  dead."  symbol i n D i c k e y ' s m y t h o s . the f u n c t i o n o f t h i s  armor" t h e r e i s no way  Again the poet At  one  l o o s e s h i m s e l f t o t h e dead,  symbol.  creates opposition and  and r e c o v e r s h i s  exchange, i n t h i s  free  the speaker, has  p u t on o t h e r e n t i t i e s :  Finally, lost  that speaker  identity. armor:  the  removal  to completely experience  c a s e w i t h h i s dead  him w i t h a l l o f the dead.  so  t h e same t i m e t h e  body o f m e t a l . " ( p . 8 l ) . With i s now  When  of standing/  body becomes i d e n t i f i e d w i t h t h e  o f b o u n d a r i e s he  In  o f b e i n g / More w i t h t h e b o u n d ,  continuum.  " I t o o k o f f my  the  On t h e o t h e r  a l o n e / More, o r no way  His p h y s i c a l  Firebombing"  s o l d i e r ' s wear d u r i n g b a t t l e .  t h e s p e a k e r p u t s on  be  "The  the necessary  "Armor" D i c k e y e x p l a i n s  t h e r e may  and  "Between  i s , o f bourse,  h a n d , i t becomes a n o t h e r  when he,  possible  Performance-'f f r o m I n t o t h e S t o n e ,  from Buckdancer s  may  I n b o t h poems, as i n  out of h i m s e l f .  poem l i k e  shining  a Christ  a Helmet," c l a i r a v o y a n c e i s the  "Drinking from  Two  case, i s from  o f an e x p e r i e n c e so o v e r - w h e l m i n g  initiate  and makes h i m s e l f  b r o t h e r and  the  through  the poet i s s a y i n g that  h i s armor o r h i s b o d y  "I l o n g to d r e s s d e e p l y at  he last/  " I n t h e g o l d o f my w a i t i n g b r o t h e r / Who s h i n e on my In  limbs."  " D r i n k i n g f r o m A H e l m e t " t h e h e l m e t becomes an  e x t e n s i o n o f armo"*V-  The image f u n c t i o n s i n much t h e  same way i n b o t h poems. the  s h a l l wake a n d  The h e l m e t i s p r o t e c t i v e  of both  s o l d i e r ' s p h y s i c a l w e l l - b e i n g and o f h i s i n d i v i d u a l i t y .  He does n o t ;Gare t o remove h i s h e l m e t w h i l e on t h e b a t t l e f i e l d , particularly Loose from  at a spot  the s t e e l  "where somebody e l s e may h a v e  o f h i s h e a d . " I n t h i s manner t h e s t e e l  of the helmet i s envisaged s o l d i e r ' s head.  come/  as an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f t h e  A t t h e same t i m e  Dickey  introduces the  reader  t o t h e poem b y i m p l y i n g t h a t t h e s o l d i e r h a s n o t  ceased  t o e x i s t y b u t r a t h e r t h a t he h a s j u s t  e n c a s i n g b o d y w h i c h was much l i k e As  Dickey  "Drinking from reader with is  a helmet  escaped to him.  e s t a b l i s h e s t h e theme o f t h e e x c h a n g e i n A H e l m e t " he a l s o  a more p h y s i c a l  goes on to. p r e s e n t t h e  a m b i e n c e . The b a t t l e f i e l d  d e s c r i b e d and many o f t h e more c o n c r e t e d e t a i l s  scene others  are presented from  to the reader.  I n t h i s poem,  the l a t e r books, the r e a d e r  p r e c i s e nature  o f the encounter  e x c h a n g e becomes a f a c t o r .  time  r a t h e r than  Perhaps,  as i n  because o f t h i s the  time.  occuring  And  descriptions,  t o now c o n c e n t r a t e  preparation f o r the mystic  o f the  i s more aware o f t h e  experience  superceding  a l s o b e c a u s e o f t h e more s p e c i f i c wishes h i s audience  itself  and t h e d u r a t i o n o f t h e  r e a d e r i s more aware o f t h e m y s t i c within  from the  perhaps, Dickey  on t h e r i t u a l  e x p e r i e n c e . As we  can see, i t i s  b u t one more s t e p t o "The F i r e b o m b i n g , "  a poem i n w h i c h  the p o e t p r e p a r e s h i m s e l f f o r t h e exchange, submits h i m s e l f t o t h e r i t u a l , p r e p a r a t i o n and y e t n e v e r  achieves the m y s t i c  experience. The  s o l d i e r i n " D r i n k i n g from A Helmet" can s t i l l  achieve t h e exchange. helmet  to drink,  identity, thing  B e c a u s e he does n o t remove h i s own  and t h e r e b y r e t a i n s h i s i n t e g r i t y , h i s own  he must p i c k one up f r o m  t h a t he s e e s , a s he g a z e s  filled  w i t h water,  soldier  i s himself.  the ground.  into  The f i r s t  the helmet  h e h a s now  The d e a t h o f t h e o t h e r  thus g i v e s t h e speaker back to h i m s e l f .  The dead  man's b r a i n : ..1 k i l l e d e a r l y t h a t m o r n i n g , Most l i k e l y , and now I n i t s absence h o l d i n g My s e a l e d , s u n n y image f r o m harm ( p . The  ripples  i n the water  d i s t u r b h i s image and t h e e x p e r i e n c e  begins  t o change i n t o  a m y s t i c one.  As he d r i n k s  helmet  he becomes l i t e r a l l y p o s s e s s e d toy t h e dead  from the man.  " I swayed, as i f k i s s e d i n t h e b r a i n . " H i s c o n s c i o u s n e s s h a s been a l t e r e d .  "In the closed  a word i n t h e w a t e r /  To c a l l  d a z z l e o f my mouth/ I f o u g h t w i t h on t h e dead..."  t h i s moment t o u n d e r s t a n d what i t i s t h e d e a d "On  even  But  their  the f i r s t last  So  that,  of  t h e dead  d a y o f d e a t h / The d e a d  thought  hovers  understand*  cannot  r i s e up,/  somewhere/ F o r w h o e v e r f i n d s  i n t h i s way, t h e l i v i n g soldier.  He b e g i n s a t  soldier  inherits  it."  the thoughts  A t t h i s moment he i s overcome b y t h e  p r e s e n c e o f t h e d e a d and b y a h e i g h t e n e d own v i t a l i t y .  "My u n i n j u r e d f a c e f l o a t e d  the r i n g s o f a b o d i l e s s t r e e . " h i m s e l f because o f h i s union literally  awareness o f h i s  given himself  feeling  o f new l i f e  intense  that  stepped  up i n t o a i r . "  He seems s t r a n g e l y w h o l e t o  with  again;  strangely/ In  t h e wounded d e a d .  he i s r e b o r n .  he u n d e r g o e s  a feeling  a t t h i s moment he f e e l s  And w i t h t h e  o f e c s t a s y so  t h a t he " c o u l d h a v e  Because t h e s o l d i e r has chosen n o t to separate f r o m h i s armor, h i s s t e e l , encounter with  He i s  himself  h i s h e l m e t , he h a s u n d e r g o n e an  t h e d e a d and t h e i n i t i a t i o n now f r e e s h i m f o r  action: I t h r e w my o l d h e l m e t down And p u t t h e wet one o n . Warmed w a t e r r a n o v e r my f a c e . My l a s t t h o u g h t c h a n g e d , and I knew I i n h e r i t e d one o f t h e d e a d . ( p . 1 7 7 ) .  He h a s , i n a s e n s e , this point. by  it.  he  accepts  given go  earned t h e complete m y s t i c  He h a s p a r t a k e n  at  o f t h e t j a t e r and now i s b a p t i z e d  As he b a p t i z e s h i m s e l f w i t h w a t e r f r o m t h e h e l m e t the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y  a vision  there  t h a t he h a s i n c u r r e d a n d i s  o f t h e dead s o l d e r ' s h o m e l a n d .  and t e l l  t h e dead man's  ;..where I h a d s t o o d What p o u r e d , what s p i l l e d , And  tell  h i m I was t h e man.  He was t h e man who was a l l o w e d t h e dead l i f e  He must now  brother:  what  SIX  and  experience  swallowed:  ( p . 178)  to enter  o f the deceased  the l i v i n g  soldier  thoughts  a n d he w i l l  forever  c a r r y t h i s w i t h him.  Once more  t h e poem becomes f o r D i c k e y  the enactment o f a m y s t i c r i t u a l .  The i n i t i a t e  becomes  i n f u s e d w i t h t h e s p i r i t o f t h e d e a d a f t e r he h a s p r o v e d self  worthy. The  ritual  Howard K a y e . in  him-  n a t u r e o f James D i c k e y ' s p o e t r y o f f e n d s  I n h i s a r t i c l e " W h y Review P o e t r y ? " which  t h e J u n e 29,1968 e d i t i o n  o f t h e New  registers  h i s disappointment  a private  cosmology:  appears  R e p u b l i c , Kaye  with Dickey's  c o n t i n u i n g use o f  I h a d h o p e d t h a t some o f t h e e l e m e n t s o f h i s p o e t r y t h a t I d o n ' t l i k e , s u c h as h i s m e t e r s and h i s a n i m i s t i c m y s t i c i s m , h a d somehow s l i p p e d i n a c c i d e n t a l l y , l i k e b a d , h a b i t s ; i t t u r n s o u t t h a t he d i d e x a c t l y what h e i n t e n d e d . ^ "  Kaye p r e f e r s  t h e more d o m e s t i c  common e x p e r i e n c e s o f man, Road" and t h e d o m e s t i c  poem w h i c h d e s c r i b e s t h e more  like  nightmare  teen-age  lust  i n "Chesrylog  o f the never-ending  impinge-  Lieberman,  who  ment o f n a t u r e i n "Kudzu." On t h e o t h e r h a n d , L a u r e n c e frequently his  a critic  t a k e s James D i c k e y ' s p o e t r y as t h e s u b j e c t o f  c r i t i c a l w r i t i n g s , has a v e r y d i f f e r e n t  opinion. In h i s  e v a l u a t i o n o f " D r i n k i n g from A Helmet" Lieberman of  the poet's  poem t o be  own c r i t e r i a ,  and, on t h i s b a s i s ,  applies  some  f i n d s the  successful:  So f a r remove, t h e from f i g u r e s i n t o a more description  a r e t h e s e images f r o m c r e a t i n g t h e u s u a l a b s t r a c t i n g f r o m l i t e r a l e x p e r i e n c e , we e x p e c t o f s p e e c h , t h e s e f i g u r e s seem t o c a r r y u s i n t e n s e and i m m e d i a t e l i t e r a l - n e s s t h a n l i t e r a l c o u l d p o s s i b l y a f f o r d . 5°  Both Dickey  and L i e b e r m a n  would r e j e c t  a mere d e p i c t i o n o f  the everyday w o r l d o f r e a l i t y . quality He  that  of h i s a b i l i t y  "These  limits  to p e n e t r a t e to the h e a r t o f  through  i hallucination.  s o l d i e r undergoes the grotesque  suggest  c a n o n l y be The  the poet's  a mind s t r e t c h i n g i t s experience of  apprehended  accurately  i n t e n s i t y of emotion  c a n o n l y be p o r t r a y e d by  o r , as Kaye w o u l d have i t ,  However, t h e s y m b o l s  as t h e mark  notes p a r t i c u l a r l y  o f p e r c e p t i o n to a s s i m i l a t e  anguish that  image.  He  figures  p a i n and  the  Lieberman.  i s c o n s i d e r e d by L i e b e r m a n  as a p o e t .  o f images.  natural  mystical  That D i c k e y i s c a p a b l e o f g e n e r a t i n g a g r e a t  i n t e n s i t y o f emotion  use  v e r y s t r a n g e and  d i s p l e a s e s Kaye i s what a t t r a c t s  i s drawn b y D i c k e y ' s a b i l i t y  experience.  by  The  that  that  distortion,  the  "unreal"  the poet uses  i n t h i s poem,  created  as i n o t h e r s , a r e c o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h e p o e t ' s  ritual  universe. "The war.  Firebombing" i s another  However, i t i s . t h e  Helmet" because  antithesis  was  an e m p a t h e t i c  o f exchange.  The  empathy and  in  of " D r i n k i n g from  i n t h e e a r l i e r poem t h e s o l d i e r ' s  w i t h the dead  missing from  e q u a l l y i n t e n s e poem o f  "Firebombing,"  the f o r m e r p i l o t ' s  own  tennis It  shoes  exchange  the reason f o r t h i s  inabilities.  Road" t h e poem d e a l s - w i t h t h e p o e t ' s own images a r e d o m e s t i c ;  flashlights,  the former p i l o t  are lies  Like "Cherrylog past.-"  4.  a screwdriver,  and h e d g e - c l i p p e r s become m y t h i c  i s through these o b j e c t s ,  encounter  consummation o f fehe r i t u a l  the r e s u l t a n t  and  A  The spoons,  instruments.  as t h r o u g h t h e h e l m e t ,  c a n hope t o communicate w i t h t h o s e  that he  cannot  n o r m a l l y r e a c h : t h e dead.  Ironically he  the very d o m e s t i c i t y o f the pantry i n which  places himself, i n order to i s o l a t e himself i n preparation  for  the r i t u a l  The  images o f war a l t e r n a t e w i t h t h e images o f t h e h o u s e h o l d  in  a jumbled  o f exchange,  t o the exchange.  manner a t t h e o u t s e t o f t h e poem i n o r d e r t o  e s t a b l i s h the state  o f mind o f t h e former  caught  i n a k i n d o f limbo;  cannot  completely  present,, t h e p a s t  escape  pilot.  he remembers t h e p a s t  He i s and y e t  As he d w e l l s i n t h e  to it,.  ( w i t h i t s message o f d e a t h  constantly intrudes. be  a c t s as a b a r r i e r  and g u i l t )  The t r u e c o n t i n u o u s n e s s  o f time  cannot  e s t a b l i s h e d b e c a u s e t h e harmony w h i c h r e l i e v e s t e n s i o n  must b e c r e a t e d o u t o f two e q u a l l y v i t a l As  the former  pilot  sits  opposited  i n t h e p a h t r y , he l o o k s down  a t h i s hands and e x p e r i e n c e s a l i e n a t i o n . " t e c h n i c a l - minded s t r a n g e r "  yvftq  c a r r i e d n a p a l m and g a s o l i n e o v e r years  ago.  He remembers t h e  piloted  the plane which .  a J a p a n e s e town  twenty  As a l w a y s D i c k e y i s e n t r a n c e d b y r e f l e c t i o n o r  altered half-light. c o c k - p i t he s e e s darkness  forces.  into  When t h e p i l o t  looks foreward  the plane push forward  " t h e moon."  out o f  from the  complete  The b r i g h t n e s s o f t h e moon i s  r e f l e c t e d b y t h e " m o o n - m e t a l - s h i n e o f p r o p e l l e r s . " The plane  then  white-dark like  journeys i n t o the a i r c r a f t  a thought."  luminescence flight,  o f a cloud. "In the  s h r i n k s ; Japan/  Thus D i c k e y  Dilates  around i t  emphasizes the s t r a n g e  o f t h e c l o u d , the suddennbss o f time w h i l e i n  and t h e f a c t  occasion.  the solitude  that  The h a l f - l i g h t ,  t h e f i r e b o m b i n g i s a remembered the sleeping  town b e n e a t h h i m ,  and  t h e d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e f l i g h t w h i c h does n o t i n c l u d e  the  o t h e r members o f t h e crew, a l l s e r v e  pilot men  the  to i s o l a t e  f r o m t h e s u n , f r o m t h e town b e l o w h i m and f r o m t h e  around him. The  mysterious  shining half-light  which t h e p i l o t  s e e s makes t h e town a p p e a r t o b e d r e a m - l i k e , u n r e a l . B u t he  a c t u a l l y terminates  the d e s c r i p t i o n o f the  with the use o f the s p l i t  country-side  line:  The woods w i t h one s i l v e r s i d e , Rice-water calm at a l l l e v e l s Of t h e t e r r a c e d h i l l . Enemy r i v e r s and t r e e s a snakeskin ( p . 182)  S l i d i n g o f f me l i k e  He i m m e d i a t e l y r e m i n d s h i m s e l f the  c o u n t r y o f t h e enemy.  The  rivers,  trees,  he  i s obviously  is  a neutral  in part,  The l a n g u a g e i t s e l f  and f i e l d s  a h o s t i l e people dwell  and t h e r e a d e r t h a t  are the p i l o t ' s  i n that  country.  aware o f t h e f a c t  inhabitant  on n a t u r e  that  this i s  i s revealing. enemy b e c a u s e  A t t h e same t i m e , a river  or.a tree  o f n a t u r e ' s w o r l d . H i s attack,, i s ,  as w e l l  as on t h o s e who  dwell  i n that  country. The that is  pilot  looks  b e h i n d h i m and s e e s t h e t r a i l  the plane leaves.  the f i r s t  This  mark t h a t he l e a v e s  foreshadows the i r r e v e r s i b l e of f i r e ,  will  impermanent  inflict  artificial  o f vapor cloud  on t h e c o u n t r y - s i d e . I t  s c a r r i n g w h i c h he t h e b r i n g e r  on t h e e a r t h below. Watching t h e v a p o r  trail  settle  and  dissipate creates  and  separation  off  forehead."  are  enclosed  the  suburban p a n t r y .  himself. is  the  He  distance  p i l o t has  h i s i n t e l l e c t , and  i s trapped;  expansional  as  The  of  his  a  "glassed-  empathy  c o c k - p i t w h i c h becomes synonymous  t o become an  Finally, to  l a n d below.  His being,  i n the  The  altered  from the  a feeling  he  space i n the  enclosing  cannot escape  o f t h e poem q u i c k e n s .  The  from  e a r l i e r poems  space.  t h e p i l o t remembers t h e p l a n e ' s  town o f f i v e - t h o u s a n d  with  s l e e p i n g people,  repetition  of his  approach  t h e movement thoughts  suggests obsession.  He  seems t o s p e a k i n a s t u t t e r i n g  as one  to  articulate  who  i s trying  simultaneously it  guards  mad.  c o s t o f the  unreal  suppression  e x c h a n g e makes i t  o r i g i n a l moment, pilot.  He  a d a r k dream  and  I d i d not  that  After  t h i n k ' o f my  twenty y e a r s ,  himself e v e n now  an i n t e n s e  awareness t h a t he  can  "the  and moves  are  equally  now:  this  house (p.  183)  f o r m e r p i l o t must a v e n now  concentration  i t i s o n l y on  says that  someone's h e a d  h o u s e now. the  him  that i s  think of  t h i n k o f my  defense;  t h a t would d r i v e  t h e memory i t s e l f  moved t h e n ,  Think of t h i s  is  impossible."^  That i s l i k e f l y i n g i n s i d e  But  is a  W e a t h e r b y u n d e r s t a n d s t h i s when he  to the  In  The  the p i l o t from a r e a l i z a t i o n  H.L.  The  supressing.  s o m e t h i n g t h a t he  voice  i n order  demand  to empathize^  the most e a s i l y manageable l e v e l face the  realization  o f what he  of  And of  has  <ion*»  The  thought o f the instantaneous  fiery  destruction of his own  house o n l y b r i n g s h i s thoughts back t o h i m s e l f , t h e suburban b a n a l i t i e s  t w e n t y y e a r s toy d i e t i n g  lose but  o f h i s own e x i s t e n c e .  He t r i e s t o  and b y t h e w i l l e d  a c t o f memory  he c a n n o t :  The e n e m y - c o l o r e d s k i n o f f a m i l i e s Determines t o h o l d i t s c o l o r I n s l e e p , as my h a n d t u r n s w h i t e r Than e v e r . . . (p. As  he f l e w o v e r  the sleeping country-side,  o f t h e town d i d n o t awaken, t h e y fear.  The p i l o t ' s  failure  the people  d i d n o t grow w h i t e r  to experience  t h e exchange i s  e m p h a s i z e d b y t h e d i f f e r e n c e i n c o l o r o f t h e two The  f a c t o r o f "otherness"  the p i l o t tries  by s k i n - c o l o r .  to dismiss  this  And twenty years  later,  as he  d i f f e r e n c e , he.succeeds only i n  b e c o m i n g more i n t e n s l e y aware o f i t . a d i s t a n t tone t h a t t h e p i l o t  Finally,  i ti s with  describes the dying.  The  even f u r t h e r f r o m the s u f f e r i n g  which i s a c t u a l l y o c c u r r i n g by emphasizing view he has from t h e p l a n e ' s is  peoples.  i s e s t a b l i s h e d most c l e a r l y f o r  racial  speaker i s o l a t e s h i m s e l f  with  the panoramic-  great height.  The f i r e  itself  " a mote o f r e d d u s t / A t a h u n d r e d f e e t . . . h e s a i l s ...  artistically fire the  over"  t h e town a n d a d m i r e s t h e b e a u t y o f t h e  as h e e x u l t s i n t h e g o d - l i k e f e e l i n g r e l e a s e o f such v a s t  o f power w h i c h  energy g i v e s him:  I t i s t h i s detachment, The h o n o r e d a e s t h e t i c e v i l , The  g r e a t e s t s e n s e o f power i n o n e ' s l i f e .  Conc\>Yve.<vt\>y felt  t  h  Q  S  p  e a  __  e r  realizes  a t t h i s moment i s a g r e a t  ( p . 186)  t h a t what he s h o u l d rush o f g r i e f  have  and p e r s o n a l  Now,  twenty years l a t e r ,  memory o f  the  assume t h e  bombing w i t h h i m  the bombing.  curse.  He  guilt in  was  and,  the  failure  a dying  a c t i v a t e the  and  he  the  f r o m A H e l m e t " was  him  see  "the  Catch f i r e  intensified  the  cock-pit  that  by  the  plane  as  a blue  light.  the  plane,  and  strangely beautiful last  the  f e e l s so  raging  He  t o do.  Instead fire  His  can  transformed,  the  vision allowed  tables/ he  as  o n l y be r e f l e c t e d shaped  again,  into  to a  light.  and  failure  poem D i c k e y most of  cannot i n v i t e  empathy t h a t the  spirits  clearly the  of  pilot  the  The  the  living  being  that  soldier in  from A Helmet" i s able  to b r i n g  by  a more t e r r i f y i n g  the  pilot.  He  they  i s so i s o l a t e d  "pass t h i s u n f i r e d  and  He to  i n t o h i s house because they cannot explicit  of  i s caught  i t would have low  a  suffer  full  soldier in  I t i s cooled,  s e c t i o n o f the  guilt  must l i v e w i t h .  the  He  to  aware o f i t .  the  able  that  door mats."  by  In the  as  the  is in itself  have a l l o w e d him  i n s i d e o f houses, the  from the  body o f  now  to  at  e x c h a n g e and  is fully  v i l l a g e r ' s psyche,  h a v e b e e n so  expresses  carry  his failure  of g u i l t  c o n s e q u e n t l y , he  trap  should  tho  b e c a u s e o£  empathetic v i s i o n should  poem " D r i n k i n g  to  still  e x c h a n g e becomes i m p o s s i b l e .  a psychological  knows t h a t  The  unable to  dying  that  inhabit  must  n e c e s s a r y r e s p o n s i b i l i t y lor h i s a c t i o n s  time of  w i t h the  he  sees  to.life  c a n n o t be  ^  dead door."  "Drinking envisioned  figure, a kind  of  ghost-like  disembodiment o f t h e dead.  He c a n o n l y  imagine  ... n o t h i n g With i t s ears c r a c k l i n g o f f L i k e powdery l e a v e s , Nothing w i t h c h i l d r e n o f ashes, n o t h i n g n o t Amiable, g e n t l e , well-meaning . . . . For  This  ... n o t h i n g I h a v e n ' t l i v e d twenty y e a r s . . . ( p . 188)  s e c t i o n o f t h e poem e x p r e s s e s  with  t h e same k i n d o f i n t e n s e  d e s p a i r t h a t Hemingway c r e a t e s w i t h t h e Nada p r a y e r i n "A C l e a n - W e l l L i g h t e d P l a c e . " "Firebombing"  begins  all  homeowners c a n n o t  one  another,  and  inflict  is,  as a l w a y s ,  as A m e r i c a n  and ends w i t h a c l i c h e .  u n i t e i n a mutual understanding o f  although they t u r n painful  a g a i n s t one a n o t h e r i n war  d e a t h on one a n o t h e r ,  patriotism.  as I am,  Although  He s t i l l  and p r o u d  the j u s t i f i c a t i o n  sees  "nothing  o f i t , " ( p . 1 8 8 ) „ The  not line  c a n be r e a d i n two p o s s i b l e w a y s .  He i s u n a b l e  any homeowner who  he c a n s e e o n l y h i s own  kind.  i s n o t American;  And t h e second p o s s i b i l i t y  an A m e r i c a n  g o i n g t h e exchange a r e i n themselves  demonstrates from The  that  years l a t e r .  a very different  1  from n o t under-  t h e answers t o h i s  I n any c a s e , t h e p o e t awareness o f s e l f  i n "Firebombing"  i s expressed i n " D r i n k i n g from A Helmet."  c o n f i d e n c e and awe o f t h e l i n e  t h e mere e x p r e s s i o n o f a c u l t u r a l American  as I  am."  .  i s that h i s pride i n being  and t h e g u i l t w h i c h he i n c u r s .  q u e s t i o n s twenty  to envision  " I am t h e man" becomes s e l f when he s a y s  "As  James D i c k e y r e c e i v e d  the greatest ; c r i t i c a l praise f o r  t h e volume i n w h i c h "The F i r e b o m b ! n g " a p p e a r e d :  Buckdancer s 1  C h o i c e . He was awarded t h e N a t i o n a l Book Award i n P o e t r y in  1966 f o r t h i s p a r t i c u l a r b o o k . C e r t a i n l y B u c k d a n c e r  be  c o n s i d e r e d a t r a n s i t i o n volume,  t h i s p r i z e we h a v e s e e n  that Dickey's  the years preceding a r t has undergone  significant  changes.  war  and o f some o f t h e poems w h i c h t a k e  poetry  A summarial  can  d i s c u s s i o n o f some o f h i s as t h e i r  s u b j e c t man i n n a t u r e w i l l make t h e t r a n s i t i o n more  clearly  1  evident. In  "Armor" ( f r o m D r o w n i n g w i t h O t h e r s )  separate- . l i v i n g  man f r o m  represented by "the crab separate crossed.  the speaker  can i n h a b i t  the animal world wv„  and t h e i n s e c t , "  and t h e b o u n d a r i e s IMV\  f r o m h i s dead b r o t h e r a r e e a s i l y  i n a clearly  the psyche  established r i t u a l  " D r i n k i n g from A Helmet." a film  strips  b e f o r e he  o f the dead. D i c k e y emphasizes the  need f o r the r i t u a l by changing  particular  the form o f h i s p o e t r y i n  I t i s , as L i e b e r m a n  each frame  discovers,  ( o r s t a n z a ) f o c u s e s on a  event:  T h i s f o r m i s an e x t r e m e l y i m p o r t a n t d e v e l o p m e n t f o r Dickey, since i t r e a d i l y achieves e f f e d t s exactly opposite t o t h e u n b r o k e n ..flow and r h y t h m i c sweep o f most o f t h e p r e v i o u s works.- *5  The  -WV>icJh  I n t h e poem " D r i n k i n g f r o m A H e l m e t " t h e s p e a k e r  must p a r t i c i p a t e  like  the boundaries  e t h e r e a l o r f l o w i n g q u a l i t y o f t h e e a r l i e r poems i s  a l s o d i s t u r b e d by the b o u n d a r i e s  of objects,  and t h e  setting  itself  now o f f e r s  i n p a r t because weight  Dickey's  setting  This i s  images now seem t o g a i n a g r e a t e r  i s clearly  i s "Place i t s e l f , " a battlefield.  specific description  Firebombing." and  as a b o u n d a r y .  and s o l i d a r i t y i n t h e poems i n p e l m e t s . Whereas i n  "Armor" t h e s e t t i n g  and  itself  i n "Drinking" the  Finally,  delineates  e v e n t h e mundane  the s e t t i n g  i'n "The  I n t h i s poem t h e b o u n d a r i e s b e t w e e n t h e l i v i n g  the dead a r e i n s u r m o u n t a b l e . Most o f James D i c k e y ' s p o e t r y h a s p x p r e s s e d  feeling  of guilt.  work o f R o b e r t  of  As we h a v e s e e n , he was drawn t o t h e  Penh W a r r e n b e c a u s e  the o l d e r poet's  ability  of h i s admiration f o r  to d e s c r i b e the constant  t h e g u i l t w h i c h c a n o n l y come f r o m  Sin ," ;  All  a type o f  presence  "Original  o r as F r a n z . K a f k a d e s c r i b e s i t , " c o r p o r a t e s i n . "  men  life.  a lingering  share t h e g u i l t because  they  a l l have been g i v e n  As D i c k e y ' s poems h a v e u n d e r g o n e  a transistion,  so h a s t h e s p e c i e s o f g u i l t w h i c h t h e p o e t r y d e s c r i b e s . It begins  as a p a s s i v e k i n d o f awareness t h a t  the speaker  hasSSITTN-XYOJAJ w h i l e h i s b r o t h e r (whom he h a s n e v e r known) h a s had  to d i e .  suffers  from  Once a g a i n , i n t h e poem "Armor" t h e p o e t the g u i l t o f s u r v i v a l  o t h e r s have p e r i s h e d . the  s o l d i e r who  soldiers poet in  In a situation  I n t h e poem " D r i n k i n g f r o m A H e l m e t "  survives a battle  that has destroyed o t h e r  can e x p i a t e h i s g u i l t by s u f f e r i n g .  express_s  the s p e c i f i c  F i n a l l y , the  t h e most h a u n t i n g l y g u i l t - r i d d e n  "The F i r e b o m b i n g . "  i n which  The p i l o t must s u f f e r  statement  the pains o f  and i n e s c a p a b l e g u i l t o f k n o w i n g t h a t he h a s  w i l l i n g l y ' taken A  similar  the l i v e s  of others.  change c a n be f o u n d  n a t u r e i n h i s work.  The p o e t r y grows more  ,more t i e d  to t h e laws  heavier.  I n t h e poem " T r e e s  Chagall-like and  "about  of nature  landscape.  the trees  become u p r o o t e d  is  A tree  and f l o a t s  golden  all  spacial  1  are quite  Red c a t t l e ,  in  the sun,  images o f  the landscape  These are t h e rewards  different heat,  i n "Fog  and t h e s u n a r e  and C a t t l e , " w h e r e a s f o g ,  an o p t i c a l  experience.  t h r o u g h t h e a i r once a g a i n . Lieberman  o r by i t ' s  images i n t h e l a t e r  o f t h e f o g i s a major d i f f e r e n c e  i s creating  a purley mystical  they are  the exchange.  become t h e m a t i c  poem.' ^The p r e s e n c e now t h e p o e t  a new v i s i o n . from  He  head.  The r e d b u l l ,  are a l l continuous  images i n " T r e e s  and w h i t e n e s s  of gravity,  Perceived correctly  concepts  t h e Animals.'  thematic  mist  the speaker's  qualities.  and v i t a l i t y .  that the speaker reaps  Envelops  walk through him.  i s d e s c r i b e d as I f i t h a d  about  sight  capable o f c r e a t i n g  The  becomes  and C a t t l e " Q i c k e y c r e a t e s a  i s c o n s t r a i n e d b y t h e laws  the poet's  virility  and h i s i m a g e r y  The c a t t l e  own p a r t i c u l a r p h y s i c a l and  earth-bound,  a r e d e s c r i b e d as so w e i g h t l e s s t h a t  to get wings."  Nothing  i n the poet's use o f  illusion  I n t h i s poem  rather the poet  because than floats  But the d o u b l e - v i s i o n which  d i s c o v e r s i n o t h e r poems f r o m D r o w n i n g i s o p e r a t i v e  t h i s poem as w e l l . ^  The p o e t ' s b e i n g i s n o t u t t e r l y  merged w i t h t h e l a n d s c a p e ; he e x p e r i e n c e s a b i f u r c a t e d The  f o g i s both  vision.  t h e c r e a t o r o f t h e s t r a n g e l a n d s c a p e , and  a spirit ritual  of the mystic l a n d .  and y e t he r e m a i n s  o f h i s " l o n g sought he  invisibility"  s h i n e i n t h e dim l i g h t .  The d u p l i c i t y  The arrows  the c o u n t r y - s i d e i t s e l f ; earth.  as h i s w h i t e  comes t o t h e l a n d -  a bow and a s h e a f o f  are transformed into part o f  they  On t h e o t h e r h a n d  are white  the arrows  like  "Fog E n v e l o p s  the Animals"  ' the hunter's  himself i s constantly duplicitous. and  as a s p i r i t u a l  clothing Its  solid  suggests  entity.'  different hunter's  the energy  clothing  energy  of flame.  i s evoked  o f the  and d i s a p p e a r s  On t h e o t h e r h a n d , a v e r y  by the d e s c r i p t i o n o f the  i n t h e poem " S p r i n g e r M o u n t a i n "  The h u n t e r  i s t r a p p e d b y h i s own f l e s h .  difficult  f o r him t o walk swaddled  t h e o t h e r h a n d he c a n n o t  a flame."  and t h e f l i c k e r  o f t h e f o g as i t a p p e a l s  Helmets.  this  as a p h y s i c a l  Even t h e d e s c r i p t i o n o f h i s  shape s u g g e s t s p u r e  feeling  He e x i s t a  sense o f  this... . His. h o o d i s "peaked l i k e  hood i n t h e h a l f - l i g h t suggests  the fog-layered  separate him from  n a t u r e . He h a s come t o t a k e l i f e . In  teeth  i s o p e r a t i v e on y e t  I n t h i s poem t h e s p e a k e r  w i t h him.  He i s aware  and, a t t h e same t i m e ,  appearance  s c a p e p r e p a r e d t o hunfe; he c a r r i e s arrows  submits h i m s e l f to  self-conscious.  i s aware o f h i s p h y s i c a l  another l e v e l .  The p o e t  from It i s  w i t h warm c l o t h i n g .  f r e e h i m s e l f from  clothing.  On In  c a s e t h e h o o d he w e a r s i s no l o n g e r made o f f l a m e ^ _ns"e<____t  '•Vis a s i m p l e w o o l l e n VioctfL.  H i s arrows  are n o t snow-flakes  b u t r a t h e r n o i s y cumbersome weapons t h a t  rattle  as he  N  walks.  The  environment  around  t h e man  i n n a t u r e has  become  i n c r e a s i n g l y xri.lder.  The  meadow, o r f a r m l a n d ?  t h e next p l a c e s the h u n t e r i n a magic  forestj  and  e a r l y poem i s s e t i n a c u l t i ¥ a t e d  the t h i r d p l a c e s him  wood t h a t makes even w a l k i n g In the  "Trees  and C a t t l e "  views  t h e deev  " I may The  be  he  In  "Springer Mountain"  exchange by into  i n a way,  as  the hunter exchange.  bones  the buck's particular  mortality;  seen.  realizes  t h a t he  to  activate  o f h i s c l o t h i n g he makes h i m -  figure.  e v e n more f o r e i g n  uplifted."  presence  When t h e h u n t e r t r i e s  the removal  a ludicrous  because  o f h i s own  but f e e l s He  o f the red  t h e r e , a l s o , / Between them, i n h e a d  i s f o r t y - y e a r s o f age.  self  t h a t he i s _  can o n l y e x p e r i e n c e a tenuous  exchange f a i l s ,  the  states  He w e a r s t h e h o r n s  o n l y s e r v e s to remind him he  undergrown  difficult.  the poet  a n i m a l t h a t he v i e w s .  b u l l upon h i s h e a d .  in a heavily  He  does n o t merge w i t h n a t u r e  to the p e r f e c t i o n  t h a t he  i s "a m i d d l e - a g e d ,  has  softening  man." Wendell f l a w e d poem.  Berry finds  " S p r i n g e r Mountain"  I t i s an i n s u f f i c i e n t  than g e n e r a t i n g emotion The p o e t seems elsewhere, but mechanically. whatever i t i s  t o be  conductor  t h e poem becomes  and  rather  self-conscious:  t o be u s i n g c a p a b i l i t i e s d e v e l o p e d t o be u s i n g them d e l i b e r a t e l y and The h u n t e r ' s g e s t u r e , o r t r a n s p o r t o f , , seems t o h a v e b e e n made t o h a p p e n . . . . ^ ^  B e r r y c h a r g e s D i c k e y w i t h t h e same k i n d o f a r t i s t i c that  a  Dickey reacts  a g a i n s t i n hiw  own  critical  failure  writing.  The  manufactured emotion,  poem u n r e a l ,  a fantasy.  r i s k s by attempting unusual p o e t i c  And t h i s  to create  statement:  organic  universe  intense  emotional  the m a n i p u l a t e d g e s t u r e ,  make t h e  i s what t h e p o e t  constantly  a h i g h l y e n e r g e t i c and  the poem c r e a t ^ a b e l i e v a b l e  o r i t s u f f e r s a c o l l a p s e u n d e r i t s own weight.  C e r t a i n l y , there  i s a greater  t e n s i o n g e n e r a t e d b y some o f t h e l a t e r poems b e c a u s e o f the  d i s p a r i t y b e t w e e n t h e d e s i r e f o r t h e exahange  impossibility gives life  o f t h e exchange o c c u r i n g .  the poetry  vitality  h i s created v i s i o n .  and h e l p s  This, i n i t s e l f ,  the poet  "The F i r e b o m b i n g , "  "the  "The F i e n d , "  s e l f i s frustrated, paralyzed,  establish liberating obstacle As  connections  to s e l f - l i b e r a t i o n the t i t l e  to b r i n g to  Buckdancer's Qhoice  t h r e e poems w h i c h a r e examples o f t h i s k i n d In  and t h e  contains  of reality.  and " S l a v e  Quagters,"  h e l p l e s s l y unable to  with  the world.  The c h i e f  i s a sense o f moral g u i l t . " ^  o f B u c k d a n c e r i n d i c a t e s , many o f t h e s e  l a t e r poems a r e drawn f r o m t h e p o e t ' s own S o u t h e r n b a c k g r o u n d ^ ghe  guilt  t h a t he e x p r e s s e s  "Buckdancer' s C h o i c e "  i n "Slave  i s inherent  Quarters"  h i s regional  and identity.  I n t h e e a r l i e r b o o k s t h e S o u t h e r n poems d e a l w i t h  love,  lust,  and v i o l e n c e .  comes t o  write  about t h e r a c i a l Dickey  poems l i k e Decline  articulates "Slave  that Dickey  g u i l t he h a s i n h e r i t e d . some o f t h e a t t i t u d e s w h i c h u n d e r l i e  Quarters"  of Outrage."^  a dual v i s i o n . him  I t i s only l a t e r  and " B u c k d a n c e r " i n "The  Here again  His education  enough so t h a t he i s a b l e  t h e poet  and e x p e r i e n c e to dismiss  s u f f e r s from have  liberated  the b l a t a n t l y  racist sit  argument  and, upon b o a r d i n g a s e g r e g a t e d b u s , t o  w i t h a b l a c k man and h i s s o n a t t h e r e a r o f t h e b u s .  With  this  g e s t u r e he i s d e m o n s t r a t i n g  Negro i s a man l i k e any o t h e r . "  hisbelief  A t t h e same t i m e  c a u s e s h i m t o become v e r y s e l f - c o n s c i o u s , his  own m e n t a l  He f e e l s  activity  southern family.  the anger  the white  Southern  w i t h w h i c h he  culture.  the grandfather  But  t h e code  a white  man  suffers guilt f o r The p o e t  He s u f f e r s g u i l t  f i n a l l y he i s s t i l l  He a d m i t s  hy v i o l a t i n g  would view  among b l a c k s . "5^And t h e p o e t  doubly i n g u i l t .  Even at t h i s  He t h i n k s o f " t h e o u t r a g e  betraying h i s grandfather's ideals. caught  into  o f h i s now d e a d g r a n d - f a t h e r  o f t h e ' s i n ' he i s c o m m i t i n g  sitting  t o escape  i n order to avoid a confrontation.  clandestinly  moment he i m a g i n e s  of  the a c t  i n e x t r i c a b l y bound t o t h e S o u t h a n d t o h i s own  particular  because  that "the  i s thus  i n any c a s e .  c a u g h t up b y t h e S o u t h e r n  t o h i m s e l f t h a t he s t i l l  "flinches  Myth.  at the i d e a o f  N e g r o - W h i t e i n t e r m a r r i a g e ^ " ( p . 276)„He goes on t o s a y t h a t "he  c a n a t l e a s t b e g i n t o r e c o g n i z e t h e common h u m a n i t y o f  h i m s e l f a n d t h e young man s i t t i n g b e s i d e h i m . " A n d i t i s just  this  critics.  a t t i t u d e w h i c h b o t h e r s some o f James D i c k e y ' s A l t h o u g h Lieberman  favorably, to  bring-up  other c r i t i c s  While  t o t h e s e poems  a r e d i s t u r b e d by D i c k e y ' s  t h e q u e s t i o n o f h i s own m o r a l  t h e same t i m e t o admit him.  responds  Lieberman  that  failures  ability and a t  they are i n e s c a p a b l y a p a r t o f  believes  t h a t D i c k e y i s m a k i n g an  honest attempt to f a c e h i s own short-comings, L o u i s Simpson d i s a g r e e s .  He b e l i e v e s  that:  "Slave ©juarters" i s t h o r o u g h t l y u n c o n v i n c i n g . . . . A white man speaks as he l u r k s around the slave q u a r t e r ' s at night;' he i s sweating w i t h ... l u s t ; at the same time he i s r i d d e n w i t h modern l i b e r a l guilt.-'*" Simpson b e l i e v e s t h a t James Dickey's i n a b i l i t y to f a c e h i s own g u i l t r e s u l t s i n a t e c h n i c a l l y flawed fpoem; ...sometimes Dickey seems to be w r i t i n g i n a p a n i c . He seems to be f a c e d w i t h a c h o i c e : e i t h e r to i n f l a t e and l o s e h i m s e l f , l i k e Thomas Wolfe, i n volumes o f p s e u d o - w r i t i n g , or to t e l l the t r u t h . When he does the l a t t e r he i s a  magnificent poet,°^C  .  In some ways Simpson has a r r i v e d a t an apt comparison. L i k e Wolfe, D i c k e y . i s t r y i n g to c r e a t e a romantic v i s i o n . The e s o t e r i c v i s i o n , the mythic symbolism,  the emotive  language, and the very l e n g t h o f h i s poems suggest a comparison to Thomas Wolfe. L i k e Wolfe, Dickey w r i t e s r e l a t i v e l y and v o l u m i n o u s l y .  In an i n t e r v i e w by Nat Robertson  easily  which  appears i n the New York Times, Robertson r e p o r t s t h a t Dickey was at work on a poem which r a n to f i v e hundred t y p e - w r i t t e n pages at the time o f the i n t e r v i e w .  The poet i n t e n d e d to  cut i t back to f o u r o r f i v e pages i n i t s f i n a l  form.^  1  Prom this., and from an examination o f h i s work, i t becomes c l e a r t h a t Dickey i s a f i r e w i t h the same k i n d o f c r e a t i v e energy t h a t Thomas Wolfe m a n i f e s t e d .  I t i s when Dickey i s  able to c o n s t r u c t a s t r o n g enough b r i d g e to the reader t h a t Simpson f i n d s h i s p o e t i c statements to be " t r u t h f u l . " One poem which generates, emotion from w i t h i n , r a t h e r than having emotion i n f u s e d i n t o i t ,  i s "The Being."  Ik  M.L.  Rosenthal  and R o b e r t  shows D i c k e y ' s of  i t that  talents  i t comes  Duncan b e l i e v e  that  t h i s poem  a t t h e i r b e s t . R o s e n t h a l has  said  closest  ... t o t h e d i s c o v e r y o f i t s own p r o p e r f o r m i n a d d i t i o n t o d i s c o v e r y o f t h e c h a r a c t e r o f an e x p e r i e n c e . . . . The stages o f the experience, from the f i r s t r e a l i z a t i o n o f what i s h a p p e n i n g t h r o u g h s u b m i s s i o n t o " u t t e r d e l i g h t " t o a s t a t e o f f r o z e n t e r r o r and t h e n t h e r e v i t a l i z e d awakening, c o n s t i t u t e a s e r i e s o f s i x b e a u t i f u l l y paced movements."2  Rosenthal believes that the e x p e r i e n c e t h a t it  Dickey achieves t h i s height  t h e p o e t d e s c r i b e s i s so e p h e m e r a l  demands a k i n d o f f o r m a l and  stylistic  many o f h i s o t h e r poems do n o t . w i t h pure n o t man, is  spirit.  There  i s no  beast,tfov t h e d e a d .  i n c r e a s e d by  because  the range  The  exatitude that  exchange h e r e i s  correlative The  that  f o r the  "Other,"  c o m p l e x i t y o f the  of emotional reactions  exchange  the  initiate  undergoes. The  process i t s e l f  l e a r n e d from i n t o b o d y and  i s one  Theodore Roethke.  that Dickey has, The  perhaps,  i n f u s i o n o f pure  spirit  t h e c r e a t i o n o f human poems w h i c h e n t e r  into  a k i n d o f s u b - c o n s c i o u s w o r l d a r e what D i c k e y most  admires  about  ability  to  Roethke's workd.  He  also  o p p o s i t e i n t e n s e emotions  can be  admireSo R o e t h k e ' s  so t h a t  the g r e a t e r i n s i g h t  reached?  The b a l a n c e , t h e t r a n q u i l a w a r e n e s s t h a t comes o c c a s s i o n a l l y ... i s . . . t h e p r o d u c t o f a t e r r i b l e t e n s i o n n o t f a r f r o m madness a t t i m e s , n o t f a r f r o m tofeal d e s p a i r , b u t a l s o n o t f a r from t o t a l joy.63  And i t i s , f i n a l l y ,  that emotional e x h i l a r a t i o n and  that  sense o f r e l i e f which can o n l y be d e s c r i b e d as j o y that Dickey t r i e s to achieve i n h i s ox-m p o e t r y .  The comments  that Dickey makes on Roethke's work are a p p l i c a b l e to h i s own.  In "The B e i n g " madness, d e s p a i r , and joy a l l partake  of one another.  A l l of these r e a c t i o n s are from the dark  s i d e , the i r r a t i o n a l  side o f man's n a t u r e , and by that v e r y  f a c t they are capable of r e l e a s i n g him from the narrow prison of r a t i o n a l i t y .  As the poet awakens a f t e r h i s  v i s i t a t i o n from the Being he i s capable of "seeing s t r a i g h t / Through the r o o f . " Although the Being i s a p u r e l y s p i r i t u a l  entity^it  awakens i n the s l e e p e r a g r e a t e r sense o f h i s own b e i n g j of h i s own  nudity.  physical  Rosenthal concludes that Dickey  i s d e s c r i b i n g a being t h a t i s v a g u e l y l i k e a S u c c u b u s . ^ The d e s c r i p t i o n o f the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the nude s l e e p e r and the Being does b r i n g to mind a s i m i l a r k i n d of d e s c r i p t i o n from D.H.  Lawrence's s h o r t s t o r y "Glad Ghosts."  Certainly  the encounter, the i n f u s i o n o f each i n t o the other and the s t r e n g t h e n i n g of the s l e e p e r as a r e s u l t o f the  encounter;  i s a s i m i l a r p a t t e r n i n both of the works. Both ""the Being" and " D r i n k i n g from A Helmet" are d i f f i c u l t poems, poems i n which the poet attempts an experience that by i t ' s r i c h n e s s seems almost  to d e s c r i b e ineffable.  Robert Duncan b e l i e v e s t h a t i n b o t h o f these poems Dickey achieves a k i n d of h i g h e r t r u t h .  That the poet i s able to  " t e l l o f s e i z u r e s o f p s y c h i c i n v a s i o n s , " p l e a s e s Duncan. However, ^The Firebombing"  and  " R e i n c a r n a t i o n ( I ) " are  l e s s v i t a l poems because: ...He [ i i c k e y . ] has s h i f t e d from the tense verse and concentrated s t a n z a sequence, the d i r e c t mode o f a p o e t i c experience and commitment, towards a more c a s u a l verse f o l l o w i n g a s e t s t o r y l i n e , a l l o w i n g even c l i c h e s of the s u p e r n a t u r a l t a l e : "My hat should crawl on my head/ In s t r e e t c a r s t h i n k i n g o f i t . " 6 5 He goes on t o e x p l a i n t h a t he i s d i s a p p o i n t e d by i m a g i n a t i o n i n the l a t e r poems. has  Dickey's  He b e l i e v e s t h a t the poet  trapped h i m s e l f i n t o the n a r r a t i v e p a t t e r n so that  he i s no l o n g e r capable  o f the g r e a t v i s i o n he d i s p l a y s  i n "The Being." On the o t h e r handjLieberman c o n s i d e r s the l a t e r poems to be the r e s u l t . o f e v o l u t i o n , o f the s t r i p p i n g away o f the e x c e s s i v e o r unnecessary i n o r d e r to c r e a t e a more effective style.  That which has become suspect i s e l i m i n a t e d .  Lieberman b e l i e v e s t h a t James Dickey has moved toward "a more d i r e c t engagement w i t h l i f e - e x p e r i e n c e , " ^ i n the more recent  poetry.  I f Dickey's  own e v a l u a t i v e c r i t e r i o n i s used to measure  the success  o f h i s p o e t r y y i t becomes c l e a r t h a t b o t h  are r i g h t .  In o r d e r f o r the reader  critics  to come away from the  p o e t r y w i t h t h a t sense o f e x h i l a r a t i o n , joy^and  through t h i s  to g a i n a new i n s i g h t i n t o l i f e ^ i t i s necessary  f o r the  poet's v o i c e to r i n g t r u e . to a c t as a conductor.  The poem must be s t r o n g enough  During  the e n t i r e t r a n s i t i o n t h a t  the poet undergoes he has demanded a g r e a t d e a l o f the poem and o f the r e a d e r .  Some o f Dickey's  e a r l i e r poetry i s  extremely d i f f i c u l t  and demands a g r e a t d e a l of the reader^  w h i l e i n h i s l a t e r work more o f the poem i s paraphraseable, more i s g i v e n to the r e a d e r . in  On the o t h e r handjmany poems  the l a s t few books s u f f e r from over-statement  sentiments.  or cliched  They seem, at times, to be i n f l a t e d .  One  s e r i o u s l y wonders where Dickey can go a f t e r w r i t i n g m a s s i v e j i n t e n s e works as "Sermon" and  "Falling  : !  such  .' The v e r y J  i n t e n s i t y o f emotion which the poet evokes i n these poems p l a c e s , again, a demand on h i s audience.  last  But when  the poet l i v e s up to the demand t h a t his- a r t p l a c e s on  him,  when the p o e t r y l<Q>ses the s e l f - c o n s c i o u s q u a l i t y  and  moves away from the merely dramatic, Dickey i s as  effective  a c r e a t o r o f the r i t u a l u n i v e r s e as he was  i n the best  poems o f Into the Stone. I t i s at these moments t h a t the r e a d e r i s w i l l i n g to meet Dickey half-way  and to l e t the  work o f a r t come to l i f e . Each volume i n Poems: 1 9 5 7 - 1 9 6 7 has q u a l i t y a l l i t s own.  a characteristic  The poems work t o g e t h e r as a u n i t  w i t h i n each volume, w h i l e at the same time a l l o f the books share s i m i l a r s u b j e c t matter: man w i t h h i s l o v e d ones, and man in  the f i r s t  a l o n e , man  at war.  i n nature,  James Dickey's  volume c e n t e r s on the p o e t r y o f war  vision  and  love.  He i s concerned w i t h the m a g i c a l power o f the n a t u r a l Moonlight, as the t i t l e  suggests, i s the governing  man  world.  element  i n most o f the poems w h i l e i n Drowning water i s the  element  which most f r e q u e n t l y a l t e r e s v i s i o n .  he  begins to d i s c u s s h i s own  In Drowning  southern past, and to e x p l o r e  familial relationships.  Again, the South concerns  the  poet i n Helmets and,again, he e x p l o r e s the i n d i v i d u a l ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p to the animal world. i n awareness o f the environment, poet's own  view p o i n t .  While the p o e t r y gains i t t r a v e l s . o u t s i d e o f the  Empathy, the e x p l o r a t i o n of  p a r t i c u l a r presences, the attempt  to see the would through  the eyes o f another s p e c i f i c b e i n g , b e g i n to i n t e r e s t the poet more as he grows o l d e r . explores the minds o f those who "Gamecock," "Mangham," and  In Buckdancer  the poet  are s i c k or d i s a b l e d : •  "Angia."  In P a l l i n g he i s able  to d e s c r i b e the f e e l i n g s o f those who  l i v e i n two worlds.;  i n "The Leap" the woman p a r t a k e s o f e a r t h and a i r , o f the past and the present and o f the l i v i n g S h e e p - c h i l d i s both man  and the dead. The  and animal and e x i s t s i n an i n t e r -  mediary world between the txiro k i n d s o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s . G e n e r a l l y speaking, the c o u n t r y - s i d e and p l a c e s e t t i n g s become h i g h l y important in- Helmets. the most important element  The e a r t h i t s e l f i s  and continues to be i n  Buckdancer.  In t h i s volume, a l s o , the poet's p e r s o n a l t i e s to h i s past gnd to the two explored.  sons who  c o n s t i t u t e h i s f u t u r e are  The awareness o f time, the d u r a t i o n of time,  begins to impress  itself.  As the p o e t r y moves from the world o f l i g h t , to x-jater, to e a r t h and, f i n a l l y ,  to a i r (with " P a l l i n g " ) i t begins  to generate an ever g r e a t e r t e n s i o n . man  i n h a b i t s a world i n c o n f l i c t .  the animal world has changed.  In the l a s t volume  His r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h  The mystic l o v e o f man  for  for  woman, w h i c h becomes t h e c a p t i v i t y  love found i n marriage,  h a s now c h a n g e d t o a p a s s i o n a t e  e x p r e s s i o n o f s e x u a l energy. for  h i s own a p p r o a c h i n g  process, after "The  The p o e t  death,  expresses  a concern  an awareness o f t h e a g i n g  and he now w r i t e s more about  death:  and t h e f a m i l i a l  the l i f e  possible  "Reincarnation ( I ) , " "Reincarnation (II),"  Head A i m , " and "The Common G r a v e . "  The p a s s i v i t y  c a l m o f t h e m o o n - l i t w o r l d o f I n t o t h e S t o n e (\m n o t  and  always from  t o be found  the l a s t  i n the l a t e r poetry.  Many o f t h e poems  volume a r e a l i v e w i t h a k i n e t i c  which i s o n l y suggested  i n the e a r l i e r  teind  o f energy  poetry.  However, i n a l l o f James D i c k e y ' s work t h e g o a l t h e same.  The p o e t r y must ax^aken i n t h e r e a d e r a h e i g h t e n e d  awareness.  What D i c k e y a d m i r e s  about  t h e work o f T h e o d o r e  R o e t h k e i s t h a t w h i c h he w o u l d most l i k e himself: be  remains  t o -be n o t e d f o r  the creation o f a "true" v i s i o n .  able " to r e l a t e  The p o e t  must  t o y o u , t h e unknown b u t p o t e n t i a l l y  66 human O t h e r , And  to the world  that  a l l o f us e x i s t i n . "  t h e r e a d e r a l o n e c a n judge  vision.  the s i n c e r i t y o f the poet's  T h e r e must b e a v e r y p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p  e s t a b l i s h e d between t h e a r t i s t  and h i s audience  to  the a r t i s t .  allow the reader to b e l i e v e  s h o u l d be " a t f i r s t p a i r o f eyes  sight  i n the world.  t h e poem i s e f f e c t i v e , of  like  a look into  When t h e e y e s  Dickey believes  that  i n order  The e x p e r i e n c e t h e one r i g h t are r i g h t ,  t h e same k i n d .  e x c h a n g e w h i c h h e d e s c r i b e s as o c c u r i n g b e t w e e n t h e  initiate poet  and t h e O t h e r i n a poem c a n o c c u r b e t w e e n t h e  and h i s  audience.  when  CHAPTER POUR Three  Poems: A L o o k a t t h e L a t e r  James D i c k e y c o n t i n u e s t o c r e a t e in  t h e l a t e r p o e t r y f r o m Poems:  cosmology part,  o f imagery  because  Poetry  a r i t u a l universe  19,^,7-19,67"  i s more a c c e s i b l e  to the r e a d e r , i n  o f the g r e a t e r f o r m a l i s t i c  allows h i m s e l f .  hhmeyia^the  freedom  "Sheep-Child," " P a l l i n g , "  and  the  "May  Sermon t o t h e Woman P r e a c h e r L e a v i n g t h e B a p t i s t (referred  to i n t h i s  text  as  seem t o i n d i c a t e  t h e p e e t ' s work.  A l l o f them u t i l i z e  the s h i f t i n g  s p e a k e r who  i n the  exchange i s n o t i n i t i a t e d upon h i m .  The  another  tension  energy  worlds  It i s inflicted o r between  i n a crises  the problem  of resolution.  Encounter,  essentially  i s more d r a m a t i c a l l y p h y s i c a l . . P a i n , v i o l e n c e , are a l l aspects o f t h a t  increases, others.  initiate crises,  t h e same ceremony  h a v e s e e n i n t h e e a r l i e r w o r k ^ b u t now  While  two  situation.  Only the d e a t h o f the  a w a r e n e s s and d e a t h c o n s t i t u t e t h a t we  of a  o f e n c o u n t e r i s r e l e a s e d w i t h a g o o d d e a l more  i n t h e l a t e r poems.  satisfies  technique,  I n t h e s e poems t h e  by the p e r s o n a .  e n c o u n t e r b e t w e e n two  transition in  to the v o i c e  action..  elemental f o r c e s , p l a c e s the speaker The  Church"  the s p l i t - l i n e  from n a r r a t i v e voice  i s involved  Day  "Sermon") a r e t h r e e o f t h e  l a t e r poems w h i c h  and  poet  the  estrangement,  death.  t h e p o e t ' s c o n c e n t r a t i o n on  the v i o l e n t  so d o e s h i s a b i l i t y  into  "The  death  to l i v e  S h e e p - C h i l d " i s one  action  the l i v e s  of  o f D i c k e y ' s b e t t e r poems  because o f the p o e t ' s  ability  there  the n a r r a t o r  are  speak.  two  The  His v o i c e  voices;  to empathize.  n a r r a t o r comes t o be  speaks f o r the  and  be  He  placed  His  repeats  on  c u l t u r a l mores t h a t keep a given  sheep-child  What i s most, h o r r i f y i n g the  fact  that  this  the  cultural  commit.  the  child's  felt  t h a t none o f t h e  can w i t h s t a n d The ship of  his  to  f a r m boys  fact. terrifying:  look and  to the  a baby.  crime t h a t they eyes  and  to  reader-  I t becomes  would s e c r e t l y  accuse, g u i l t  i s so  strongly transgressors,  gaze. the a p p a r e n t l y , normal a d u l t  relation-  t h e nbw-grown f a r m b o y s t o t h e i r w i v e s a g a i n s t fact  always the  voice  taboo  t r a n s g r e s s o r s * o r would-be  narrator plays  irrefutable As  cultural  i s grotesque  " t h i n g " resembles  a symbol o f As  to the  both  the  sodomy, a m y t h t h a t f i n d s i t s b a s i s i n  ... t h i s t h i n g t h a t ' s o n l y h a l f Sheep l i k e a wooly baby Pickled i n alcohol... h i s eyes A r e open b u t you c a n ' t s t a n d  is  sheep-child  t h e myth w M c h c a u s e s t h e  d e s c r i p t i o n o f the  poem  a spokesman f o r s o c i e t y .  members o f a s o c i e t y o p e r a t i v e w i t h i n system.  the  In t h i s  t h a t the  s h e e p - c h i l d has  sheep-child's  the  been produced.  u n s e e i n g g a z e and  his  dead  accuse. At  t h i s p o i n t i n t h e poem t h e  speaks o f  sheep-child  a n o t h e r k i n d o f e x c h a n g e b e t w e e n man  The  romantic language used  who  gftazes l i k e  to d e s c r i b e  "moon-light" only  the  himself and  beast.  sheep-mother  emphasizes  the  bestiality  o f t h e man who a t t a c k s h e r . she  gives  "her best/  exchange i s f i r s t like  love."  Self  While h i s s e x u a l i t y i s s e l f i s h ,  t o that great need."  initiated  b y an a c t t h a t was  The e x c h a n g e i s e o m p l e t e  human and a n i m a l c o n s c i o u s n e s s the  sheep-child.  intense v i s i o n .  Thus t h e "something  a t t h e moment i n w h i c h  are u n i t e d ,  at the b i r t h o f  And t h e e n c o u n t e r a g a i n b r i n g s The c h i l d  with  i t an  speaks:  ... I saw f o r a b l a z i n g moment The g r e a t g s a s s y w o r l d f r o m b o t h s i d e s , Man a n d b e a s t i n t h e r o u n d o f t h e i r n e e d , And t h e h i l l w i n d s t i r r e d my w o o l , My h o o f and my h a n d c l a s p e d e a c h o t h e r .  The  child  i s a link/  separate.  Two o p p o s i t e  harmonious v i s i o n . The  he makes c o n t i n u o u s  dead s h e e p - c h i l d  institution. glass  i s brought  describes  I t preserves  cases.  a r e u n i t e d i n t o a*  B u t t h e harmony i s t e n u o u s .  a museum w h i c h D i c k e y  in  perceptions  what was o n c e  t o h i s " f a t h e r ' s house,"  as b e i n g  a paradoxical  i t s s p e c i m e n s and p l a c e s  The s h e e p - c h i l d  them  i s removed f r o m t h e p a s s i n g  o f time} He i s p i c k l e d i n s i d e a j a r w h i c h i s p l a c e d  inside';  of a case,  by h i s  etc., etc.  removal from l i f e . a legend the  He a t t a i n s e v e r - l a s t i n g l i f e  He c a n l i v e ,  may s u r v i v e .  but only  And, b y t h i s p r e s e r v a t i o n , he a t t a i n s  same k i n d o f power t h a t a l e g e n d a r y  E v e n t h e sun's g r a i n s , o r t h e b i t s "closet  as t h e f i g u r e i n  f i g u r e may  of dust^"fail"  attain. at h i s  of glass."  Lawrence Lieberman d e s c r i b e s  dust  as t h e e l e m e n t o f  a middle c o n d i t i o n i n Dickey's cosmology.  I t i s "a m e d i a t i n g /A  Borra between o r g a n i c and i n o r g a n i c matter, l i f e And because the s h e e p - c h i l d remains  and  i n the middle  death."  0  world,  the world o f exchange, he r e t a i n s the power o f d i r e c t i n g the l i v e s o f the farm  boys:  ...Dreaming o f me, They groan they w a i t they s u f f e r Themselves, they marry, they r a i s e t h e i r k i n d . In "The exchange.  (p.253)  Sheep-Child" the a c t of sodomy i n i t i a t e s  The stewardess  grotesque exchange. her s e x u a l i t y as  the  i n " P a l l i n g " a l s o undergoes a  She becomes i n c r e a s i n g l y more aware o f  she nears her death* r i i tJ&n t h i s poem  Dickey d e s c r i b e s a k i n d of l o v e a f f a i r between the woman and the elements:  e a r t h , a i r and water.  The  sexual  encounter  t h a t the poet d e s c r i b e s i n "Sermon" i s both p a s s i o n a t e and animal w h i l e , at the same time, i s i s a k i n d o f h o l y act.  Thus, i n the l a t e r poems, a strange k i n d o f s e x u a l i t y  becomes an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f the p r o c e s s o f exchange. To understand  the importance  o f the sexual aspects o f the  encounter d e s c r i b e d i n Dickey's work we w i l l examine the last  two poems that w i l l be c o n s i d e r e d at any l e n g t h i n  t h i s study:  " P a l l i n g " and  "Sermon."  " P a l l i n g " begins w i t h the same atmosphere o f suspension, o f m y s t i c calm t h a t we have seen i n e a r l i e r poems l i k e "Into the Stone." orb  The e a r t h i s d e s c r i b e d as a magnetic  which i s capable o f "drawing moonlight  g r e a t / Onesided  stone."  out o f the  The r u i n e d stone, the one-sided  stone, i s again the o n l y source o f l i g h t  i n a v a s t darkness.  The moon i s a k i n d o f n e g a t i v e l i g h t w o r l d o f the exchange. ritual  i n the h a l f - d a r k  I t i s the r e i g n i n g  u n i v e r s e i n w h i c h mere r a t i o n a l i t y  spirit  i s exiled.  e a r t h i t s e l f p a r t a k e s o f t h e moon's power. stewardess  i s swept t h r o u g h  on w h i c h she ritual of  i s working,  universe.  the normal,  she has She,  shielded  exchange b y She,  like  earth.  But rigid  f r e e s her from  i n "The  the p r e s e n c e  the m o o n l i g h t , she f a l l s  with her f a l l ,  boundaries.  her former  and  the  the w e l l - l i t  t o p a r t a k e o f the Firebombing,"  The  definitions  the d i v e r  freedom.  elements. both the  to  she becomes one  w i t h a i r , and  will  w i t h the  become one she  first  i s freed  and  earth.  from her f o r m e r l y  g r e a t e s t awareness  the plane  are o p e r a t i v e .  have o p e n e d up  from death,  that  the  stockinged girdled  t h i n g w h i c h she Like  world  She  i s incapable of  and p o s s i b l e  f o r one  who  toTalL deliverance,  Void, nothing-  is "still  by r e g u l a t i o n . "  she i s g i v e n c o m p l e t e  could never  that  i s t h a t none o f  the e x p e r i e n c e o f w e i g h t l e s s n e s s , o f  infinity  o n l y seconds  boundaries  has b e e n  and o f t h e momentary immanance o f h e r d e a t h .  lipsticked  the  i s drawn i r r e s i s t a b l y  a l i e n a t i o n f r o m human c o m p a n i o n s h i p  ness,  of  plane  space.  as she f a l l s f r o m  interpreting  the  o f the p l a n e ' s e n c l o s i n g  as t h e poem b e g i n s  she r e a c h e s  as  s e p a r a t e d f r o m t h e e l e m e n t a l power o f  While  finally,  t o o becomes p a r t  she b e g i n s  the p i l o t and  she  fall  And  The  an emergency d o o r i n t h e  the r a t i o n a l ,  known and  like  Her  of a  And  neat now,  freedom;  a  attain while f u l l y protected.  i n " D r o w n i n g , " she  experiences  kinesthetic  In  t h e e a r l i e r p o e t r y t h e p e r s o n a , who  undergoes water. vision  the experience o f freedom  i s ambiguous.  sea offers  describe  The s p e a k e r i s s i m u l t a n e o u s l y i n s i d e  to  f e e l my own w i n g b l a d e s  achieve i t himself.  weight  af guilt  entirely.  The f r e e d o m ^ t h e  release  from  the empathetic  The p e r s o n a ho l o n g e r t h e p o e t , e n t e r s t h e The stafee o f s u s p e n s i o n i s no l o n g e r death-in-life  and r e b i r t h  cycle  poems s u c h as " S l e e p i n g Out a t E a s t e r , " b u t r a t h e r t h e  intensified  e m o t i o n a l t e n s i o n o f t h e l a t e r poems i s r e s o l v e d  a physical The  did  The d o u b l e - v i s i o n h a s  f a d e s j t h e poet u t i l i z e s  terminated by the r i t u a l  by  "The h a n d o n my s h o u l d e r - e a r s /  a r e a c c o m p l i s h e d , b u t n o t by t h e p o e t .  the double v i s i o n  weightless world.  of  describes.  and y e t he c a n o n l y  spring."  f a d e d i n t h e poem " P a l l i n g . "  view  t h a t he  the w e i g h t l e s s w o r l d t h r o u g h the eyes o f another;  cannot  As  freedom  complete ' l i b e r a t i o n  he  the  w h i l e suspended i n  However, i n "Drowning w i t h Others'.' t h e p o e t ' s  of'^and o u t s i d e o f t h e s u s p e n d e d The  i s the poet,  "all  death.  stewardess,  like  things i n this  Donald Armstrong  l_fe"  that  i n "The  c a n be done b y an  i n d i v i d u a l whose l i f e  i s c i r c u m s c r i b e d , by time  They b o t h h a d t o f a c e  d e a t h and were l e f t  possible  decision;  and t h a t  a manner as t h e y c o u l d .  d e c i s i o n was  F o r Donald  t h a t he w o u l d s t a n d on h i s h e a d j meant t h e r e m o v a l  of her clothing  Performance,"  and  chance.  w i t h o n l y one t o d i e i n as p e r s o n a l  Armstrong  this  meant  f o r the stewardess i t so t h a t h e r y o u t h a n d  b e a u t y w o u l d be p r o p e r l y r e c o g n i z e d and s u f f i c i e n t l y mourned. In  the-.few r e m a i n i n g s e c o n d s  d u a l s make o f an u n u s u a l f a t e  of l i f e  both o f these  an e v e n more b i z a r r e  indivifate.  I t i s the o n l y p e r s o n a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t a c t l e f t to them. Although Donald  Armstrong and the stewardess  a s i m i l a r k i n d o f bravery, the poems themselves v e r y d i f f e r e n t impact  on the r e a d e r .  share have a  There i s a k i n d o f  sadness and y e t s a t i s f a c t i o n i n Armstrong's death. d i s t a n c e o f time and the d i s t a n c e the poet achieves  The from  h i s s u b j e c t by the use o f the n a r r a t i v e v o i c e , permit a kind of mostalgic admiration.  T v . j x l n the l a t e r poem the  reader i s not allowed to view the p a i n f u l stewardess  at a d i s t a n c e , but i s forwarned  death o f the o f the v i o l e n c e  of her death, allowed t o experience a l l o f the shock and t e r r o r t h a t she f e e l s as she f a l l s the l i n g e r i n g  demise.  and i s f o r c e d to observe  The i n t e n s i t y achieved by t h i s poem  and the g r e a t e r l e n g t h o f the poem a c t as a k i n d o f c h a l l e n g e to the r e a d e r .  Dickey threatenSs to c r o s s t h a t t h r e s h o l d  which d i s t i n g u i s h e s a r t from a merely p e r s o n a l experience. In a way, one almost f e e l s t h a t t h i s k i n d o f poem i s an a t t a c k on the reader, t h a t i t charges himoto accept a painful  r e a l i t y much l i k e the t h e a t e r o f c r u e l t y  Perhaps the poet attempts  does.  to achieve the g r e a t e s t t e n s i o n  p o s s i b l e i n an e f f o r t to b r i n g the reader f u l l y i n t o the exchange. it  But i t i s a dangerous technique and b r i n g s w i t h  a g r e a t e r chance o f f a i l u r e .  w i l l i n g to p a r t i c i p a t e ,  I f the reader i s not  o r I f the poem f a i l s ,  then the  i n t e n s i t y o f exchange may become mere bombast and c o n t r i v a n c e . In a l o n g poem such as " P a l l i n g " there are, more occasions f o r the f a i l u r e o f the exchange and the poet p l a c e s h i m s e l f i n greater  jeopardy.  The experiences d e s c r i b e d i n " P a l l i n g " are again, multifarious.  The stewardess  to a i r to death.  She  1  f a l l i s a journey from moon  thus takes on elemental power.  As  she nears death, she grows more p h y s i c a l l y comfortable and more p h y s i c a l l y aware.  She takes on such power t h a t  she  f e e l s as i f she c o u l d open her mouth and s u c k " A l l the heat from the c o r n f i e l d . "  She i s " i n superhuman h e a l t h . "  t h i s Dickey means that she i s more than human both  By  because  she e n t e r s the minds o f n i g h t - f l y i n g p r e d a t o r y b i r d s because  she becomes a l i v i n g embodiment o f the  powers of the goddess Diantu^. and o f o t h e r f o l k  and  fertility goddesses.  Even as she passes over the s l e e p i n g country g i r l s ,  her  power awakenes i n them and i n h e r s e l f a sense of s e x u a l i t y which i s c o n c u r r e n t l y p e r s o n a l and a r c h e t y p a l .  In the  c r e a t i o n of a myth-poetic w o r l d Dickey does not  differentiate  between the mundane-the m a g i c a l . at  The stewardess i s both  once. This approach to h i s work shows that James Dickey i s  capable o f mythic c r e a t i o n .  David Bidney attempts to  d e f i n e the c r e a t i o n o f myth i n h i s essay "Myth, Symbolism, and T r u t h , "  He s t a t e s t h a t ,"In p r i m i t i v e language, a r t ,  and magic" symbolic r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s are used  "without  d i f f e r e n t i a t i n g symbols from t h e i r o b j e c t s . T h  e  farm g i r l s are d e s c r i b e d as they s l e e p under c h e n i l l e This i s a k i n d o f o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y .  guilts.  On the other hand,  the v e r y beds i n which they s l e e p become an i n t e g r a l p a r t of the enactment o f the f e r t i l i t y r i t u a l of the dying god.  In  this  one  case the stewardess i s the goddess, the Diana, the  who c a n awaken t h e s l e e p i n g  their  latent sexuality.  itself lie  a n d awaken i n them  I t i s she who c a n awaken t h e e a r t h  from the s l e e p i n g  d a r k n e s s . And t h e beds t h a t  i n are a neeessary part  shining posts  girls  o f the r i t u a l .  "The s c r a t c h -  o f the bed" are c e r t a i n l y p h a l l i c  the moon becomes a " f e m a l e s i g n . "  the g i r l s  t o t e m s , and  As t h e f a l l i n g  woman p a s s e s  her  h a n d s o v e r h e r now nude body, s h e awakens t h e d e s i r e o f  the  men who s l e e p  her  passing,  spilling sexual  c o m f o r t a b l y on t h e l a n d  o f her' own b l o o d ,  very  o f the sexual  s l e e p i n g boys f i n d with heart's  "The m a l e b l o o d  loins.  sunrise  time  their  which  i s made p o s s i b l e b y h e r d e a t h .  in a  fills The  Because o f  a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h t h e moon s h e i s r e s p o n s i b l e ,  passing,  girls,  loins  D i c k e y seems t o s a y t h a t  As s h e d i e s , t h e e a r t h i s e n r i c h e d .  itself  like  dream o f t h e s l e e p i n g  "for the f i r s t  blood."  the excitement o f  d i r e c t way i t i s t h e s t e w a r d e s s ' b l o o d  their  her  she i n c r e a s e s  f e r v e r i n t h e s l e e p i n g men.  filled  With  w i t h the approach o f t h e goddess to t h e a c t u a l  i n o n " becomes p a r t while  beneath her.  hy h e r  f o r t h e w a n i n g o f i t and c o n s e q u e n t l y f o r t h e  break o f day. With the nearing a close.• Palling, to  the r i s i n g  of h e r blood color,  o f death,  she t u r n s  the night  i n mid-air  sun, to the e a s t . that brings  i s "blood  to offer  comes t o obeisance  And i t i s , a g a i n , t h e s p i l l i n g  renewal.  unearthly  itself  The s u n r i s e ,  in all its  drawn/ Towards c l o u d s . "  m o o n l i g h t was drawn t o e a r t h ,  blood  As  i s now drawn b a c k t o  the sky to c r e a t e day.  The stewardess, t h e r e f o r e , becomes  a virgin offering i n a ritual  death.  As she l i e s i n the w h e a t - f i e l d s o f Kansas, discover her.  Even w h i l e they s l e e p they know o f her p a s s i n g  because of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the l a n d . immediate, dreams.  the farmers  I t i s an  subconscious awareness which prevades  their  By her death she becomes one w i t h the l a n d and as  the farmers d i s c o v e r her body they walk "toward the dreamed e t e r n a l meaning o f t h e i r farms."  With t h i s image Dickey  combines a r c h e t y p a l myth w i t h dream psychology i n o r d e r to c r e a t e h i s own p a r t i c u l a r r i t u a l u n i v e r s e . l a t e r p o e t r y i t i s now  the unconscious mind that i s capable  o f p e r c e i v i n g the enactment of r i t u a l . and the stewardess  However, i n the  Thus the s l e e p e r s  are i n t r i c a t e l y bound; they a l l e x i s t  i n a sta^e o f suspension, a s t a t e which cannot l a s t .  The  stewardess' consciousness u n i t e s the elements, c r o s s e s the boundary between human and animal consciousness; i n o t h e r words^she makes continuous what was d i s c o n t i n u o u s . In t h i s way  " P a l l i n g " i s s i m i l a r to Dickey's o t h e r  poetry; i t i s a r i t u a l i n c a n t a t i o n i n i t s e l f .  While the  r e g u l a r rhythms o f the e a r l i e r work are, gone, the phrases still  " m u l t i p l y i n t o a t r a n c e - l i k e massive  sound-aggregate.  However, the poet i s conscious o f the d i s c o v e r y of a k i n d o f sound as he composed the poem.  new  In an i n t e r v i e w  g i v e n about the time he was w r i t i n g " P a l l i n g , " Dickey s a i d : I t h i n k I've got a new k i n d of sound again, another beat, a h a l t i n g , h e s i t a n t , s t u t t e r i n g k i n d o f sound. I haven't r e a l l y made i t go y e t , but o c c a s s i o n a l l y I can hear a h a l t i n g v o i c e s a v i n g amazing things.71  That the poet hears l i n e s b e i n g spoken to him i s not a mere f i g u r e o f speech.  L i k e o t h e r romantics b e f o r e him,  he can at times p e r c e i v e a v o i c e .  "The  s u r g i n g unstoppable  rhythm" t h a t Lieberman so admires b r i n g s to mind the prose s t y l e of William Faulkner.  The v i o l e n c e o f the  stewardess  1  death and the v i o l e n c e o f her extreme emotional s t a t e as she nears death, are a l s o r e m i n i s c e n t o f F a u l k n e r . the stewardess  That  i s not r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f a f e r t i l i t y goddess,  but i n f a c t i_s one i s s i m i l a r to F a u l k n e r ' s treatment o f E u l a Varner, the earth-mother  of The Hamlet. C e r t a i n l y  the s t r a n g e l y romantic d e s c r i p t i o n o f b i z a r r e s e x u a l i t y i n Dickey's p o e t r y b r i n g s to mind s i m i l a r d e s c r i p t i o n s i n F a u l k n e r ' s work, such as the sodomaic r e l a t i o n s h i p o f Ike Snopes w i t h a cow.  However, t h i 3 p a r t i c u l a r  characteristic  o f Dickey's work can be d i s c u s s e d more t h o r o u g h l y a f t e r  an  examination o f the poet's most ambitious, poem, "Sermon." The f r o n t i c e p i e c e poem o f Poemst 1 9 5 7 9 1 9 6 7 continues i n the t r a d i t i o n o f " F a l l i n g . " line,  the unwinding  The l o n g phrase, the  split-  o f mythic n a r r a t i v e , are t e c h n i c a l  devices which Dickey employs i n t h i s poem once again. woman who  A  symbolizes the dying god and the country s e t t i n g  are a l s o found a g a i n .  However, P e t e r Davidson p l a c e s i t  apart from Dickey's o t h e r p o e t r y .  He b e l i e v e s i t to be  the c u l m i n a t i o n o f Dickey's p o e t i c a a r e e r as i t stood i n 1967.  He says that the poem," c o n t a i n s e v e r y t h i n g t h a t  Dickey, a t t h i s stage, can put I n t o a poem. The new m e t r i c and syntax are t h e r e ; the o b s e s s i v e theme o f death and and r e p e t i t i o n and e t e r n i t y ; the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s o f the  renewal  "earthbound,  the archetypes o f country l i f e .  toward u n i v e r s a l i t y . " ?  It strains  2  In "Sermon" Dickey moves h i s mythic the more u s u a l l i t e r a r y  v i s i o n nearer to  a r c h e t y p a l p o e t r y and f u r t h e r  from  the e s o t e r i c v i s i o n r e p r e s e n t e d i n t t h e e a r l i e r p o e t r y .  The  sermon i s a k i n d o f speech a g a i n s t o r g a n i z e d r e l i g i o n , i n f a v o r o f the r i t u a l crowning  of a May  rennwal o f May  Queen who  Day  ( the day of the  t r a d i t i o n a l l y represents  and the reawakening f e c u n d i t y o f the e a r t h ) . The life  fertility  cycle of  and death i s again evoked as a p a r t of the magic of  ritual.  As the farm g i r l  d i e s again every s p r i n g , so the  preacher r e t e l l s the s t o r y of her death.  The  sermon i t s e l f  i s a n e c e s s a r y p a r t o f the nenewal o f s p r i n g ; i t becomes an i n t e g r a l p a r t of the r i t u a l . r e v e a l s to her audience  The Lord whom the  preacher  i s an ambiguous f i g u r e .  The.first  i m p l i c a t i o n i s t h a t he i s the g u i d i n g s p i r i t of nature  who  abides d a r k l y i n a l l l i v i n g t h i n g s ; he i s the c r e a t o r . At the same time he i s the d e s t r o y e r whose v e r y act of d e s t r u c t i o n enables c r e a t i o n i n a never ending c y c l e .  The  second l o r d , the L o r d o f o r g a n i z e d " r e l i g i o n , i s p l a y e d a g a i n s t and sometimes merged w i t h the begtable k i n g . i t s e l f i s a r e f l e c t i o n of a statement  The poem  which James Dickey  made to Paul O'Neil i n an i n t e r v i e w on J u l y 22, 1966. t h i s time the poet  s a i d t h a t , " I haven't  I f e e l we understand  each o t h e r .  But my  killed  a part of that r e l i g i o n .  Jesus o f f .  r e l i g i o n i s akin  to some p r i m i t i v e s t i c k and stone r e l i g i o n . " ? is  At  3  The poem  I n s t e a d of an a c t u a l  stick,  or  t h e a c t u a l movement o f a s t o n e b r i n g i n g o n t h e power o f  t h e s u n i n t h e s i x t h month d a r k n e s s poet has access poem i t s e l f In  to the i m a g i s t i c  o f t h e Eskimo w i n t e r j t h e  stick  and s t o n e . The  i a an i m p l e m e n t o f a r i t u a l  religion.  t h e e n a c t m e n t o f t h e ceremony w h i c h reawakens! t h e  e a r t h from Winter's  death-sleep, the f e r t i l i t y p o t e n t i a l  resides  s p e c i f i c a l l y i n one woman.  as w e l l  as f o r " P a l l i n g . "  T h i s i s t r u e f o r "Sermon"  I t i s t h e f a r m g i r l who  e m p h a s i s e s i n t h e f r o n t i c e - p i e c s poem.  Dickey  On t h e o t h e r h a n d ,  the p a r t i c u l a r m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f f e r t i l i t y i s t r a n s f e r r e d t o other female preacher  figures;  t o an a n n u a l  t h e sermon i s d e l i v e r e d b y a f e m a l e g a t h e r i n g o f women.  w i t h t h e e v o c a t i o n o f t h e symbols o f m y t h i c gamecock, s n a k e ,  and n e i g h b o r " w i l l ,  all  t h e h e l p t h e y n e e d / To d r a g  The  presence  vision  and  power.  begins  "Fog,  t o g e t h e r , g i v e "men daughters  into  barns."  o f f o gprovides the necessary a l t e r a t i o n o f  and p e r c e p t i o n .  Dickey's  their  The sermon  Again,  one must remember t h a t i n  c o s m o l o g y when p e r c e p t i o n i s a l t e r e d  theperceiver  t h e o b j e c t s w h i c h he v i e w s t a k e o n a new, more  vital  life. The  gamecock, w h i c h i s i n s t r u m e n t a l i n t h e e x c h a n g e , i s  a symbol o f v i r i l i t y , o f o b s t i n a n c y . Dickey  associated i t with his father.  direct  image.  of  evil  I n i t s ambiguity  I n one poem  ("Gamecock";)  The s n a k e i s a l e s s  i t i s both the reincarnation  (one who c a r r i e s p o i s o n ) ^ t h e d e v i l m a n i f e s t ^ a n d  a symbol f o r  life.  i t i s  L i k e the bedposts i n " P a l l i n g , " the snake i s a p h a l l i c s i g n o f suggested masculine s e x u a l i t y . the  F i n a l l y , with  n e c e s s a r y a l t e r e d v i s i o n , and i n the presence o f male  v i r i l i t y symbols,  the r i t u a l can b e g i n .  But f i r s t  the  necessary communion must take p l a c e : the neighbor must be p r e s e n t . In  t h i s p a r t i c u l a r poem Dickey sees the neighbor b o t h  as a p r o j e c t i o n o f the s e l f , and,at the same time, as an a l i e n being.  At times the s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l t i e s  which  e l i m i n a t e o r minimize i n d i v i d u a l d i f f e r e n c e s are o f f o r e most importance.  In t h i s case the presence o f the neighbor  f o r c e s the f a t h e r to p u n i s h h i s daughter f o r a t r a n s g r e s s i o n a g a i n s t the c u l t u r a l moral code.a neighborhood  condemnation  However, by a c t i n g out  o f h i s daughter's sexual  b e h a v i o r he a l i e n a t e d h i m s e l f from humanity. the  He takes on  wrath o f the L o r d and l o s e s h i m s e l f to i t .  By h i s  p a s s i o n a t e anger he, perhaps, becomes a p a r t o f the v e r y sexual f e v e r t h a t he condemns i n h i s daughter. As the woman preacher continues her sermon about  the  r i t u a l s u f f e r i n g of the farmer's daughter the language w i t h which she r e c r e a t e s the May  Day Ceremony i s t y p i c a l l y  She addresses her audience as " c h i l d r e n " who learn.  " C h i l d r e n , I s h a l l be showing  s t r e t c h e d on the door l i k e  Biblical.  have come to  you/ The f o x h i d e  a f l y i n g s q u i r r e l . " And w i t h  t h i s she r e v e a l s the p a r t that the f a t h e r i s to p l a y i n the ceremony.  The f o x , as we  see i n " L i s t e n i n g to Foxhounds"  and i n "Fox Blood," i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h masculine  stoicism.  At  t h e same t i m e  indicates virility in  the f a t h e r  and power.  "The  Pox."  I n t h i s way  J o h n B*  the S h o r t e r F i c t i o n  a n a l y s i s o f the Wickery's  fertility  fox skin The  i n the  B o t h D i c k e y and deity,  also  Dionysus, t o be  comes t o be  that  "Myth and  the c e n t e r - p o l e o f the barn.  p o l e image.  and b o t h  must be  come t o b r e a k - u p  of the  "Sermon" the  utilize  flat  on  beaten  the the and  barn tied  i t s particular manifestation  Even the l i g h t  t h e b a r n becomes a k i n d light  an  L a w r e n c e evoke  and l a i d  May-pole which f i n d s  The  Ritual  Perhaps  identified with  the g i r l  in  into  of  sacrificed.  f o x must be k i l l e d  same way  door  fox-skin  q u a l i t y o f the f o x - s k i n .  the p h a l l i c  sunlight  the  Lawrence-" c o n t a i n s  to  filters  Dickey uses  sign  o b s e r v a t i o n s c o u l d apply to Dickey's  daughter. door  the barn  L a w r e n c e does i n h i s s h o r t  o f D.H.  t h e f o x as a H i v i n e a n i m a l The  on  another  Vickery's essay  symbolic  with equal accuracy. primitive  o f the p e l t  i s a hunter,  t h e same manner t h a t D.H.  story in  that  the presence  itself  o f e x t e n s i o n o f t h e May-  sun p r o c l a i m s t h a t  the w i n t e r darkness.  which  The  spring  has  t h i n beam o f  i s d e s c r i b e d b y D i c k e y as i f i t t o o were a s u p p o r t i n g  p o l e i n the barn's  structure.  barn dwellers, i t s t i r s  As  them and  i t touches transfers  the  grotesque  t o them a  new  vitality. A g a i n , we another.  The  see  that  D i c k e y ' s images p a r t a k e o f  one  sun,  like  the  symbol,  anymore t h a n a n o t e  snake,  i s not merely  i n a movement w i t h v a r i a t i o n s  a  is a  symbol.  Because i t i s combined, major  winding  as t h e  f o r the  poem. As  preacher's preacher cycle  contrasted with  sunlight,  t h e women i n t h e  completes phallic  different  also  continuous  Dickey  as m a l e and  social,  and m y t h i c  religious,  chains h i s daughter  "Down on  female  The  His B e l l y  Lord  dark  cycle.  The The  the i n h a b i t a n t s , the  The  snake becomes a r e i g n i n g  opposited also  When t h e f a t h e r to b e a t  her,  creek-curving  t l l e  the  t h e l o v e r become the  temptor i s Jehovah, negative  the f a t h e r i s a a i r i s red with  "swelling ticks,"  Lawrence's  Thus,  they are  Jehovah o f the  In t h i s u n i v e r s e the v e r y  D.H.  the l o v e r ^ a l t h o u g h  Thus t h e f a t h e r ,  and  L i k e the copper-headed snake,  much l i k e  the  J e h o v a h becomes a snake  o f the barn  and  world,  the  experience.  beings  descending  t h e f a t h e r h i m s e l f becomes t h e  creature.  cycle  of  qualities.  entities.  snake, the D e v i l  In the h e l l i s h  world.  partake  a g a i n c r e a t e s two  h i s l e g s / Like candles out." the  the  the apt  a c t i o n of  to the c e n t e r p o l e i n o r d e r  a t r a n s f o r m a t i o n begins«  one.  audience  e n e r g i e s o f t h e f a t h e r and  i n k i n d , are  v e n g e f u l God,  and  itself.  s e x u a l f o r c e s . And  w h i c h goes  And  t h e y become p a r t o f t h e  of p a r t i c u l a r people  blowing  poetry.  other  continum  to death i s a p a r t i c u l a r l y  a p p r o p r i a t e d e v i c e f o r the  experience  The  center pole,  i n t u r n r e c r e a t e s the f a r m - g i r l ' s  The  and  and  c r e a t i o n o f mythic  a particularly  mythic  snake,  roadway w h i c h l e a d s  technique  out  by,  symbols i t g a i n s a k i n d o f p o e t i c e n e r g y .  o f images s u c h  is  altered  r  u  l  e  are f u l l r  °^  the  deadly dust,  of  blood.  dark  snake i n t h e poem <xF  Jr~  "Snake" i s a r e g a l In  c r e a t u r e b y n a t u r e o f i t s ominous power.  h i s d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e b a r n D i c k e y h a s c r e a t e d a negati'uae  world i n which revenge, creative forces. possibility  passion, lust  and d e a t h  Creation i s certainly  are the  suggested by the  o f b r e a t h i n g " t h e b r e a t h o f Adam" i n t o  the a r r i d  dust. And  as t h e f a t h e r , who  t h i n k s o f h i m s e l f as " t h e L o r d ' s  own man," becomes a k i n d o f l i v i n g a p a r t o f the c y c l e that  i s central  increases  v e n g e f u l god he becomes  o f death f o r the purpose  t o t h e poem.  of re-birth  As t h e i n t e n s i t y o f p a s s i o n  t h e r e i s a t r a n s f e r e n c e o f energy;  a l l things,  i n a n i m a t e , human o r a n i m a l , b e g i n t o p a r t a k e o f one a n o t h e r . Time i t s e l f  i s j a r r e d loose from  chronology. animals  frame o f n a r r a t i v e  The w r a t h f u l f a t h e r becomes l e s s human as t h e  and e v e n t h e t r a c t o r  l i k e him. Although barn,  the b a s i c  i t absorbs  absorb h i s rage  the t r a c t o r remains  so much e n e r g y  that  and become  motionless i n the  i t seems t o b e l i e v e  that:  It  must p u l l up of  Like  a stump pull the barn  Dagon's t e m p l e place  pull  down t h e w a l l s  s e t the Ark o f the Lord i n i t s change a l l  T h i n g s f o r good, b y p a i n . ( p . ii) And  this  t h e poem.  kind  o f ambivalence  The l o v e / l u s t  the r e v e n g e / l u s t that the  journey to death  i s prevalent  o f t h e farm g i r l  the father  throughout  f o rher lover,  e n a c t s b y h i s b e a t i n g , and  a l l are necessary p a r t s o f the r e c u r r i n g  ritual. While  the poet i s sympathetic  with the g i r l  and  vehemently  decries  the self-righteousness  j u s t i f y h i s actions  with  o f t h e f a t h e r who  a Bible belt rational,  the  same t i m e r e m a i n s  for  t h e coming awakening o f n a t u r e .  to  is  create  tension within  The  poem i s e l e c t r i c  strangely  and  a passionate  and  face  with passion  lies  physical pain  turning  and h e r m e n t a l  from the beating,  shifts  kind  She  lies  o f y o u r man gone w i l d / . . .  i n t h e spun  increases.  The  Because o f the p a i n awareness i s  i n her specific  suffering,  her i n d i v i d u a l i t y .  In  from the farm g i r l to  o f female demiurge.  t h i s when s h e s a y s , "  poet i s able  generalized  ( p . 8)  her sexual  focus  t r a n s f e r r e d to the l i s t e n i n g  sanctions  hearing  turmoil  a r o u s e d she l o o s e s  words, t h e p o e t  in  one upon a n o t h e r .  A n d when t h e g i r l ,  a more g e n e r a l i z e d  t o a more  to t h e house  of bedsprings.  she  is  As t h e poem b u i l d s  down  to p i l e  other  t h i s by  i n h e r b e d a f t e r she i s b e a t e n  verbs begins  sufficiently  He a c h i e v e s  i s a shift  w a l k s w i t h no h e l p  rust-groan  is  and. §cet t h e p o e t  t h e tempo o f t h e poem b u i l d s .  I n h e r room, b u r n i n g  heightened.  helps -  t h e poem.  rider, there  w i t h h e r thoughts  receives  i n itself  the n a r r a t i v e v o i c e .  The g i r l  With d i g n i t y  Her  This  i s necessary  d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e l o v e - m a k i n g o f t h e g i r l ••  the motorcycle  description.  he, a t  the c r u c i f i x t i o n  d i s t a n t from h i s s u b j e c t .  carefully utilizing to  aware t h a t  would  Her s e x u a l i t y  women. A n d t h e p r e a c h e r I n May  0 g l o r y t o the sound  l e t your n i p p l e s  to b u i l d a passionate  rise."  crescendo  Thus t h e  and t h e n t o  lesson  the  t e n s i o n by moving back from  the p e r s o n a .  t h i s p o i n t t h e p r o g r e s s o f t h e poem i t s e l f with  another  dimension.  the r e a d e r t h a t marks a n o t h e r  this  The m a g i c words  i s a cyclic  and w i t h t h e commemorating o f t h e again brought As we  t o the  i s overlaid  "Each year"  occurence.  a n n i v e r s a r y o f t h e day  At  Each  remind  year  o f m u r d e r and  death;  anniversary, spring i s  land.  have seen  t h e p o e t r y o f James D i c k e y ,  particularly  t h e l o n g e r poems, are, works o f v i o l e n c e and p a s s i o n . Whether t h i s of  quality  the Southern  c a n be  tradition  Dickey i s a Southern catagory  (he was  Professor  poet  born  c o n s i d e r e d t o be  i s a debatable  and  Although  sense  educated  L o u i s e Cowan w o u l d n o t p l a c e h i m  Fugitive  inheritance  point.  i n the general:  i n Georgia  an  of  that  a t V a n d e r b i l t )j  w i t h i n the  Tradition:  Where i n p r o s e f i c t i o n t h e r e seems l i t t l e o r no abatement o f t h e S o u t h e r n L i t e r a r y R e n a s c e n c e t h a t b e g a n i n t h e 1 9 2 0 ' s . . . t h e r e h a s b e e n no c o m p a r a b l e l i t e r a r y succession i n Southern poetry. J a r r e l l , Dickey, Smith and o t h e r s seem t o h a v e f a r l e s s i n common w i t h s u c h o t h e r n o n - S o u t h e r n p o e t s o f t h e i r own g e n e r a t i o n as R o b e r t L o w e l l , K a r l S h a p i r o , R i c h a r d W i l b u r , Howard Nemerov, John Berryman. W i l l i a m M e r e d i t h and Reed W h i t t e m o r e , t h a n i s t r u e f o r the n o v e l i s t .  And,  as we  material  have seen,  f o r comparison  critics  feel  to t h a t  effect.  debt  Dickey's  secure  p o e t r y does p r o v i d e  w i t h n o n - S o u t h e r n p o e t r y so  enough t o p u b l i s h c r i t i c a l  I t has  to Yeats, perhaps  been s a i d  t h a t he  t o Auden, c e r t a i n l y  Stafford.  H i s poems h a v e b e e n compared  and  Lowell's, without  Robert  to  enough that  statements  owes a  certain  to Roethke John  and  Berryman's  t o o g r e a t an e x t e n s i o n o f  that p a r t i c u l a r in  comparisons Perhaps  critical of this  imagination which  i s opperative  sort.  t h e b e s t way  to resolve  t h e dilemma as t o  whether o r not D i c k e y i s a N o n - F u g i t i v e Southern might  be  t o examine some o f h i s own  Southern  tradition.  Warren r e s t s novelist  observations of  a clue.  Southern  g e n r e he u t i l i z e s  t r a d i t i o n has been  altered  seen to have been i n f l u e n c e d by themes t h a t one  finds  considered to  of g u i l t ,  f o r a new like  age.  Warren, c a n  the p r o s e f i c t i o n  r e p e a t e d l y i n Robert  paralysis  responsibility,  are concerns which  Southern n o v e l i s t s ' is  equally  appear  tradition.  applicable  be  neo-romantics.  individual  be  tradition.  Penn W a r r e n ' s  and W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r ' s n o v e l s a r e t a k e n up b y D i c k e y . problems  a  some o f t h e t e c h n i q u e s  C e r t a i n l y W a r r e n ' s work was  D i c k e y ' s p o e t r y i s a n o t h e r b r i d g e ; he,  The  Penn  Warren, a S o u t h e r n p o e t , i s a l s o  t h e b r i d g e b e t w e e n t h e A g r a r i a n s and t h e The  the  In Dickey's admiration o f Robert  and i n t h a t  of the p o e t .  poet  action  The and  f r e q u e n t l y i n the  What Waggoner s a y s o f W a r r e n  t o t h e more c o n t e m p o r a r y  poet:  W a r r e n s i m p l y t a k e s i t f o r g r a n t e d t h a t we a r e a l l g u i l t y , and i n v o l v e d i n e a c h o t h e r ' s g u i l t , w h e t h e r we c h o o s e t o t h i n k a b o u t i t i n p s y c h o l o g i c a l o r t h e o l o g i c a l t.'ermss. 75 Richard  Tillinghast,  Contemporary Poet  s e e s D i c k e y as the. S o u t h e r n  and p l a c e s h i m  of Dickey's concerns: poems a b o u t  i n fact,  i n the t r a d i t i o n  "Nowhere e l s e  does one  animals, hunting, f i s h i n g ,  find  fighting,  n a t u r a l world."^^-However, these are r e l a t i v e l y  because so many and  the  superficial  qualities.  F i n a l l y , g u i l t , damnation, a concern w i t h the  r e s p o n s i b l e r e l a t i o n s h i p between man man  and nature and between  and f e l l o w man^give the s u b j e c t s Dickey chooses f o r h i s  p o e t r y a k i n d o f Southern  quality.  Even h i s language, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the l a t e r p o e t r y , begins to be r e m i n i s c e n t o f the Southern n o v e l .  In Dickeyfe  s e a r c h f o r a v o i c e he came upon the Southern t r a d i t i o n changed i t to s u i t h i s needs.  In t h i s f o l l o w i n g  he p l a c e s h i m s e l f f i r m l y i n the romantic  and  statement  tradition:  But I sensed immediately t h a t w r i t e r s l i k e Faulkner and Wolfe had d i f f e r e n t o r i e n t a t i o n s w i t h language than, say, Maugham. I responded to t h i s q u a l i t y . I kept l o o k i n g f o r w r i t e r s who had t h i s t h i n g . M e l v i l l e . James Agee.77 In f a c t , i n h i s r e c e n t book S e l f - I n t e r v i e w s ^ Dickey s t a t e s that h i s ^ p e r s o n a l heroes o f the s e n s i b i l i t y are John Keats, James Agee, and Malcolm Lowry."?^ He goes on to p r a i s e Agee more s p e c i f i c a l l y . James Agee, f o r me, word-by word and sentence by sentence, i s the w r i t e r I care f o r more than f o r anybody I've ever read i n any language. I t ' s not o n l y that he xtfas a Southerner and came out o f somewhat the same background as I, but that he had the k i n d of v e r b a l s e n s i b i l i t y t h a t my own responds::to most. (p.75) What he admires  about  a l l o f these f e l l o w w r i t e r s i s t h e i r  a b i l i t y to commit themselves And  completely to a work o f a r t .  t h i s sense of l a r g e n e s s , the freedom to express the kinds  of p e r c e p t i o n s and emotions which are not e a s i l y d i s c e r n i b l e by the l o g i c a l use o f language, works toward.  r.i& what Dickey  continually  T h i s i s what he f i n d s to be a p a r t i c u l a r l y  u s e f u l aspect o f the romantic t r a d i t i o n .  This i s what  drove the poet on to experiment w i t h the l o n g e r poem, the freer line.  In A p r i l  1968,  he e x p l a i n e d how  he had come  to use the p o e t i c l i n e found i n " P a l l i n g " and "Sermon": What I wanted to do, i t seemed to me that the p o e t i c l i n e , you c o u l d take i t and wring i t s neck, as Mallarme a a i d , you c o u l d take i t and take a l l the p u n c t u a t i o n out and you c o u l d make a l i n e t h a t would do something about approximating the way the human mind r e a l l y does a s s o c i a t e s o r t o f , i n jumps, i t ' s not continuous at all.'° What Dickey says here, and the way  he says i t ,  begins to  sound l i k e F a u l k n e r ' s e x p e r i m e n t a t i o n w i t h the stream o f consciousness t e c h n i q u e .  The p i l i n g up o f images and phrases,  the continuousness of time, the a s s o c i a t i o n o f c o n t r a d i c t o r y emotions  i n an i n s t a n t o f time, and the v i o l e n c e and p a s s i o n  of the atmosphere are a l l to be found i n b o t h the novels of F a u l k n e r and i n the p o e t r y of James Dickey. utilize  the elements o f r i t u a l  and attempt  to c r e a t e a  p r o p h e t i c v o i c e : the prophecy of the nightmare the Southern Gothic  artistsi  Both  world o f  tradition.  In f a c t , i n another Southern poet's work Dickey i s drawn to the g o t h i c q u a l i t y .  Dickey admires A l l a n  p o r t r a y a l o f the "everyday nightmare."® the f a m i l i a r and the t e r r i f y i n g  0  Tate's  The t e n s i o n between  aspects o f l i f e i s e x p l o r e d  and c r e a t e s a k i n d o f amalgamation o f the mundane and the horrifying. prophetic  This t e n s i o n i s , i n p a r t , r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the  vision.  Thus James Dickey can be c o n s i d e r e d a poet who some aspects o f the Southern prose f i c t i o n  utilizes  tradition.  And what appeals to hi/*i most from the t r a d i t i o n i s i t s use o f the g o t h i c .  In o r d e r to understand the poet'"s  reason f o r the use o f the grotesque i t i s important to a r r i v e at a d e f i n i t i v e statement which w i l l c o r r e l a t e the poet's own statements  about the purpose, d i r e c t i o n ,  and .  meaning o f h i s work w i t h the f u n c t i o n o f the grotesque. The presence o f grotesque can be determined by the i n f l u e n c e i t has upon the p e r c e p t i o n s o f the r e a d e r . i n h i s book The Grotesque  Clayborough,  i n E n g l i s h Literature,-  reiterates  G.K. Chesterton's d e f i n i t i o n o f the grotesque: ... Cit i s 3 ... an a r t i s t i c d e v i c e which does not so much serve to draw our a t t e n t i o n from the n a t u r a l world as to make us see the world w i t h new eyes i n a way which i s not l e s s but more t r u t h f u l than the u s u a l a t t i t u d e o f casual acceptance.81 In o t h e r words, the grotesque i s capable of i n d u c i n g wonder, of  l e a d i n g the reader to c l a i r a v o y a n c e . With t h i s  i n mind one can p l a c e Dickey's own a e s t h e t i c f i r m l y i n the romantic t r a d i t i o n .  definition  criterions  Both Clayborough  ( who  here paraphrases Chesterton) and James Dickey b e l i e v e  that  the a l t e r e d v i s i o n , although u n a t t r a c t i v e , can l e a d to an i n t e n s i t y which r e s u l t s i n the sublime.  In f a c t , when  Clayborough d e s c r i b e s a K a y s e r ' s treatment of madness i n the German author's book The Grotesque i n A r t and L i t e r a t u r e , a s u b s t i t u t i o n o f Dickey's name f o r Kayser's would not a l t e r the v e r a c i t y o f Clayborough s o b s e r v a t i o n s : 1  Even i n d e s c r i b i n g madness, i t i s not dementia, insane energy which he Kayser s t r e s s e s , but the strangeness and i m p e r s o n a l i t y o f madness: " I t i s as though an a l i e n inhuman s p i r i t had entered the s o u l d " 8 2 .  This  statement  i s a p p l i c a b l e to Dickey's  madness i n poems s u c h The  as  fieod does n o t  "The  of  strangeness  characteristic  and  t e n s i o n w h i l e a t the distant. poet  the persona,  "The  the  i n the  sense  dangerous the p o e t delight  at the  one  button  his  pockets,  perverse  to  relieve  sight  at her  ean be  placed with  a strange  technique  the poet  t h r o a t , and  With t h i s  the  dark  turns  girl  romantic-  humorous  I n the  Dickey  "She  pen/  achieves  same way  and  voyeuristic touches  rigor mortis/ Slitheres  line  and  combines  the F i e n d i s s i c k  brutally killed  a r e l i g i o u s maxim i n t o  tend to take  eye  "Sermon"  he  and  into secret  a kind  u s e s humor  t e n s i o n w h i c h i s c r e a t e d i n "Sermon."  happen q u i c k l y  Through the  poetry.  The  o f t h e u n d r e s s i n g woman.  "slap-stick."  will  Although  and  o f a man  her  father^;-  a black-humor  an i c e p i c k i n b o t h i t i s easy  the  i n a l o n g poem  sexuality.  Making e v e r y t h i n g t h e r e - - k e y s ,  E v e n as t h e f a r m  Things  a d i s t a n c e between  humorously d i s c u s s e s h i s  s t a n d up."  of  girl  t h e p o e t r y seems s t r a n g e l y  split-line  a l l t h r e e poems.  The  i s able to c r e a t e  v o i c e i s p l a y e d a g a i n s t an o c c a s i o n a l l y  image mn  !fA  He  of  identifying  t h a t i n t h i s poem t h e p o e t  w i t h the e x p l o r a t i o n o f  love--  h i s madness.  e v e n i n t h e most e m p a t h e t i c  e x p l o r a t i o n o f the  tragic  lies  rationality,  Fiend," i n fact,  "Falling"  poetry.  same t i m e  There i s a c o o l  and  i n this  inacapable  o f i m p e r s o n a l i t y i s an  of Dickey's  of  Fiend."  c o n s i d e r h i m s e l f t o be  c o n t r o l l i n g h i s p a s s i o n , and sense  treatment  pun.  hands.../  f o r a needle  to  bound f o r h e a v e n . " E v e n h i s  pass/  1 ok  p e c u l i a r use o f humor p l a c e s Dickey i n the grotesque tradition. is  W i l l i a m Van O'Connor has a a i d that the grotesque  a "new genre, merging  tragedy and comedy, and seeking,  seemingly i n p e r v e r s e ways, the s u b l i m e . " 8 3 The sublime, the experience o f e l a t i o n o r j o y ^ i s the u l t i m a t e g o a l o f the grotesque, whether molded  specifically  to  the Southern t r a d i t i o n o r to a more g e n e r a l l y g o t h i c - o n e .  In  Edmund Burke's  d e f i n i t i v e work On the Sublime  and B e a u t i f u l  one f i n d s the c l e a r e s t e x p r e s s i o n o f the grotesque and i t s p l a c e i n the world o f a r t .  Burke says t h a t  Whatever i s f i t t e d i n any s o r t to e x c i t e the i d e a s o f p a i n and danger, that i s to say, whatever i s any s o r t t e r r i b l e , o r i s conversant about t e r r i b l e o b j e c t s , o r operates i n a manner analogous to t e r r o r , i s a source o f the sublime; t h a t i s i t i s p r o d u c t i v e o f the s t r o n g e s t emotion which the mind i s capable o f f e e l i n g . 8I4. The grotesque pushes the njind to the t h r e s h o l d ; i t t h r e a t e n s the r e a d e r .  And i t i s the grotesque, p r e s e n t i n James Dickey's  p o e t r y , which produces of  the sublime.  the n e c e s s a r y t e n s i o n f o r the c r e a t i o n  More s p e c i f i c a l l y , Dickey's p o e t r y f i t s  a p t l y i n t o Burkets p o i n t - b y - p o i n t d e l i n e a t i o n o f the grotesque. Burke l i s t s in  s i x major i m a g i s t i c themes which may be found  a g o t h i c work.  The f i r s t  i s the c r e a t i o n o f monsters;  c e r t a i n l y the s h e e p - c h i l d can be c o n s i d e r e d to be a monstrous f i g u r e .  The second i s the presence o f strange  animals such as owls,  snakes,  s p i d e r s , toads, boar, and  vermin; i n s h o r t the presence o f n o c t u r n a l o r c r e e p i n g creatures. set  As we have seen Dickey's p o e t r y i s g e n e r a l l y  i n a n i g h t - t i m e o r darkened world.  The owl-king r u l e s  because h i s day-time b l i n d n e s s allows him to see c l e a r l y at n i g h t  at  night.  The barn i n "Sermon" i s a microcosmic g o t h i c  world i n which the snake r u l e s , and b l o o d f i l l e d the populace.  And f o r Burke's t h i r d i m a g i s t i c  ticks  are  theme^the  u n r u l y p l a n t l i f e which c r e a t e s a jungle^ M c k e y s u p p l i e s the Kudzu v i n e .  In the poem "Kudzu" >;the p l a n t s are  almost s e n t i e n t v i n e s which p r o v i d e the necessary for  reptilian-life.  encroach!  environment  The Kudzu again f o l i a t e s the country-  s i d e i n "Sermon." The l a s t three items, i n Burke's catalogue o f grotesque images are: the use o f t o o l s , the presence of the mask, and the e x p l o r a t i o n o f the insane mind. on a k i n d of l i f e o f t h e i r own  Tools which take  p r o v i d e the f o u r t h category.  The plane, the tfeactor, and the wire fence a l l take on a k i n d o f o r g a n i c v i t a l i t y i n Dickey's work.  Similarly,  Dickey i s f a s c i n a t e d by the mask, by the wearing mask i n the Dance of Death i n such poems as Prayer," and " D r i n k i n g from A Helmet."  of the  "Approaching  In both o f these  poems the persona r e l i v e s the death o f another b e i n g by wearing sweater,  , i n the one case^a boar's head and a f a t h e r ' s and i n the o t h e r a dead man's h a t .  Finally,  the  s i x t h i t e m i n Burke;'s l i s t i s the a r t i s t ' s i n t e r e s t i n the insane.  As we have seen, D i c k e y w r i t e s s p e c i f i c a l l y  about  i n s a n i t y i n "The F i e n d " and he explores the minds o f people who  r e a c h the l i m i t s of s a n i t y i n such poems as "The  and  "Falling." The  area o f the mind which l i e s i n darkness  James Dickey.  Leap"  fascinates  And the manner i n which he t r e a t s the  unconscious powers, the thematic imagery o f the is in itself  an extension  of the g o t h i c t r a d i t i o n .  Malin's d e s c r i p t i o n o f the g o t h i c again James Dickey's negative  M a l i n has  ( I t a l i c s , are the life,  would not, about the  that:  sex i s t w i s t e d ,  T o t a l e f f e c t i s that of a dream."85 I t i s c e r t a i n l y the  o f the moon, which Dickey  that i s not  lesser vision.  "The  author's).  the d a r k - s i d e But  The  definitive  said  "Chronology i s confused, i d e n t i t y i s b l u r e d , erupts.  buried  explores.  to say t h a t the dark v i s i o n i s a  Dickey's c r i t e r i a f o r a t r u l y good poem  i n any way,  c o n f l i c t w i t h Thomas Mann's f e e l i n g  f u n c t i o n o f the grotesque.  Mann b e l i e v e s  grotesque i s that which i s e x c e s s i v e l y true  e x c e s s i v e l y r e a l , mat unreal  and  Irving  sheds l i g h t on  world, as have other  statements about the grotesque.  the b u r i e d l i f e  grotesque  t h a t which i s a r b i t r a r y ,  that  and  false,  absurd."®^ By the v e r y nature of i t s excess,  of i t s generative  energy, the v i s i o n i s more r e a l than i f  i t were the r e s u l t o f a h i g h l y i n t e l l e c t u a l ! z e d  activity.  I t i s , i n p a r t , because the grotesque threatenes the  reader  that i t i n v o l v e s him more completely i n the work of a r t . Both o f the major c r i t i c s who and  write  about the  grotesque  about James Dickey c i t e , as the b a s i c c r i t e r i o n of a r t ,  that i t i n v o l v e the reader and state of sublimity, of  that i t bringshimo to a  joy.  Moreover, t h i s i s s p e c i f i c a l l y what Dickey has to achieve i n h i s own  poetry.  He  upon words o f a humanly p e r c e i v e d  c a l l s f o r "the  attempted  touch  beauty, t e r r o r or mystery. "8-7  However, t e r r o r  and m y s t e r y  being b e a u t i f u l . through him  are i n themselves  of  They a r e d e v i c e s b y w h i c h t h e p o e t ,  t h e r e a d e r ^ m a y be  :  capable  lead  "Toward a  and  Solitary  88 Joy."  " T h i s i s the  t h e work o f  title  Dickey  T h e o d o r e R o e t h k e . And  he b r i n g S " t o g e t h e r h i s c r i t i c a l t o w a r d h i s own R o e t h k e and  a r t , and  the r e a s o n  other poet's  by p l a c i n g  "A  madness, a t t i m e s , n o t not  f a r from And  Dickey's to  pass  this  him  f a r from  Roethke  attitude  art a ritual  t e n s i o n not total  of  universe. universe  far  from  d e s p a i r , but  also  joy."°^  towards  the f i r e ,  to f i n d  structure of the  to s u b j e c t him  a Hew  vision.  reader,  t o an i n t e n s e  to then r e l e a s e the t e n s i o n , to  to experience  on  admires i n o t h e r s  i s f i n a l l y what t h e r i t u a l  through and  his  image i n a r i t u a l  terrible  p o e t r y i s working  experience reader  total  essay  about  f o r his admiration  work. D i c k e y  the grotesque  he w i s h e s t o p r o d u c e  i n this  criteria,  and w i s h e s t o p r o d u c e i n h i s own And  g i v e s to h i s essay  allow  the  CHAPTER F I V E Conclusion  James D i c k e y He  i s a poet  writes poetry while  aesthetic.  world.  b o t h b a s e d on  the  the p a t t e r n of itself  cyclic  poetry world  during  and  the  the  exact spirit  creates  and  operative  a consistent  circle  work  e n t i r e l y new  has  place,  He  on that  his  moves f r o m a  remains u n c l e a r  ceremony o f i n i t i a t i o n .  and  to  The  misty nature,  a less poet  end  he moves f r o m t h e  t o a more p r o s a i c  of  expression.  is  not  The  surprising  publication  as i t s s e t t i n g  the  with  critical  just  three  volume, b r o u g h t o u t Southern  However, t h o u g h he and  o f t h e volume  poems become i n c r e a s i n g l y l o n g e r .  that Dickey,  of this  line  the use  of  i n h i s poetry,  g o a l s hage r e m a i n e d t h e same.  The  a kind of cyclic  c r e a t i o n o f t h e poem i t s e l f .  after  a novel which  experiments w i t h  as  years  and kind It the takes  countryside.  the p a t t e r n o f i n i t i a t i o n  t h e poem c a n tee v i e w e d  esoteric  draws more  on h i s S o u t h e r n h e r i t a g e t o w a r d t h e tight metric  1957-1967.  work i n Poems  experimented w i t h  span.  are  i t is  which turns back  c o r r e l a t i o n b e t w e e n man world,  an  his c r i t i c a l  examines D i c k e y ' s  that ten year  enactment o f the  he  awareness.  o f p e r c e p t i o n . And  a t an  have seen, D i c k e y  where t h e  o r man  nature  to a r r i v e  comes t o m i n d when one As we  itself  This world,  the gyre,  i n order  a great c r i t i c a l  consciously formulating  In the p o e t r y  mytho-poetic  with  Both are  ritual  language,  his cycle  extension  capable  of  of  in the  lifting  man o u t o f h i m s e l f and u n i t i n g h i m w i t h t h e O t h e r . t h i s way D i c k e y believing  attempts  to write a " t r i b a l  poetry,"  t h a t he c a n t h e r e b y g i v e man a c l e a r  perhaps f o r the f i r s t  In  view,  time:  ... t h e v e r y s a y i n g h a s t h e p e c u l i a r g r a c e o f b e i n g a b l e to r a i s e o n e ' s random p e r c e p t i o n o f a b l a d e o f g r a s s b e n d i n g i n t h e a i r t o a k i n d o f N t h pox-jer o f f r a g i l e significance. I t i s t h i s t h a t we h a v e , i n t h e e n d , a g a i n s t "the s i l e n c e o f the i n f i n i t e spaces." We d o n ' t h a v e i t . f o r e v e r , b u t f o r a w h i l e we do h a v e i t ; and i t i s , b e c a u s e t h i s i s o u r c o n d i t i o n , m a g n i f i c e n t l y enough. 90 n  B e c a u s e o f i t s f r a g i l i t y ^ t i m e becomes i m p o r t a n t t o Dickey. the  He c o n s t a n t l y t r i e s  second.  t o c r e a t e the e t e r n i t y w i t h i n  I n h i s e a r l i e r p o e t r y he i s c o n c e r n e d  t h e e _ c r o a c h m e n t o f t h e mundane b o u n d a r i e s t h e momentary m y s t i c a l e x p e r i e n c e . he  i s concerned  death. son,  the dying p i l o t  they  also r e a l i z e  The to  the beauty  o f beauty,  out o f t e r r o r  a certain  and m y s t e r y o f d e a t h j  of l i f e .  terror,  They a r e human,  and m y s t e r y I s i m p o r t a n t  elements w i t h i n h i s p o e t r y  and m y s t e r y .  They c r e a t e i n  and when t h e poem i s s t r o n g enough  h o l d t h e immense e m o t i o n a l  on i t .  before  s u b l i m i t y o f v i s i o n when t h e c y c l e o f  p e r c e p t i o n i s complete to  poetry  Armstrong, t h e Mourning  face the t e r r o r  and t h e g r o t e s q u e  create beauty the r e a d e r  Donald  upon  enough."  trinity  the poet  I n the l a t e r  w i t h t h e moment o f s u s p e n d e d l i f e  As t h e s t e w a r d e s s ,  "magnificently  of l i f e  with  x^eight t h a t D i c k e y  places  Dickey understands t h i s when he s a y s , " I t ' s l i k e Roethke s a i d somewhere toward the end o f h i s l i f e :  'In s p i t e o f  e v e r y t h i n g I seek to e s t a b l i s h some k i n d o f c o n d i t i o n o f j o y . ' " ^ And at h i s b e s t , Dickey can i n t e n s i f y the reader's  perceptions  of l i f e .  He can c r e a t e j o y when the  c y c l e o f p e r c e p t i o n i s complete.  The r e s o l u t i o n o f a l l  paradoxes and the c o n t i n u i t y o f a l l d i s p a r a t e  qualities  r e s i d e , f o r James Dickey, i n the i n s t a n t o f exchange. The  s t i l l p o i n t i n a t u r n i n g world i s "Joy, by God."  \  1  1960).  Poets o f Today V I I , ed. John H a l l Wheelock (New  York,  E v e l y n U n d e r h i l l , P r a c t i c a l M y s t i c i s m : A L i t t l e Book f o r Normal People,(London, 194°)> P«3» 2  3Howard Nemerov, "The Poet Turns on Himself," Contemporary American P o e t r y (Washington, D.C., n.d.),  pT28TJ~  ^Contemporary American  Poetry, p. 281)..  ^James Dickey, The Suspect i n P o e t r y (Madison, , p. 9.  1964)  Minnesota,  "Edwin A r l i n g t o n Robinson," Babel to Byzantium: and P o e t r y Now (New York, 1 9 6 8 ) , p. 21k.. D  7The Suspect i n Poetry, p.  Poets  9.  g  In t h i s sense Dickey r e f l e c t s some aspects of Bergsen's p h i l o s o p h y . The a r t i s t becomes the r e v e a l i n g agent. Bergsei has s a i d that Corot and (Turner are capable of showing us what "we had p e r c e i v e d without s e e i n g . " Bergsen uses the word p e r c e i v e d to mean an i n t e l l e c t u a l a c t i v i t y whereas D i c k e y uses i t . t o mean a complete experience, a " s e e i n g . " Henri Bergsen, The C r e a t i v e Mind, Trans. Mabelle L. Andison, (New York, 194677~p. 160. ^ C a r o l y n K i z e r and James Boatwright, "A C o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h James Dickey," Shenandoah, XVIII, 1, (Autumn 1966), p. 17. 1 0  T h e Suspect i n Poetry, p.  9.  F i v e Poets of the P a c i f i c Northwest, ( S e a t t l e , 196k), p. x x i i i . 1 1  1  P.  2James Dickey, Poems: 1957-1967 (New  145. 1  1  3]gabel to Byzantium, 4i id, D  p  .  77.  p.  75.  ed. Robin S k e l t o n York,  1968),  -'Robert Penn Warren, S e l e c t e d Poems: New 1923Q1966 (New Y o r k , 1 9 6 6 ) , p. 2k5. 1  and O l d ;  J a m e s D i c k e y , "The G r e a t e s t American P o e t , " CCXXII (November, 1 9 6 8 ) , p. 5 3 - 5 6 .  Atlantic  1o  ^^The 1u  p.  39.  Suspect i n P o e t r y , p.  T h e o d o r e Roethke,  113)  The F a r F i e l d  196k)  (New York;  ^ L o u i s Simpson, "New Books o f Poems," H a r p e r t s , CCXXV ( A u g u s t ^ 1 9 6 7 ) , p . 9 0 . J a m e s D i c k e y "Your Next-door N e i g h b o r ' s Poems," Sewanae Review, L X X I I , ( A p r i l - J u n e 1 9 6 k ) , p. 311. 20  ? T h e Son, the Save, and the B u r n i n g Bush," Young American P o e t s ( C h i c a g o , 1 9 6 8 ) , p . 8 . 2 1  2 2  2  C a r o l y n K i z e r , Shandoah, p.  3 T h e S u s p e c t , p.  The  12.  51.  21+L.S. and L.A. Dembo, C o n c e p t i o n s o f R e a l i t y i n Modern American P o e t r y ( B e r k e l e y , 1966), p. 12. 2  ^ H e n r i B e r g s o n , The C r e a t i v e Mind, p.  3k.  R o y Harvey P e a r c e , The C o n t i n u i t y o f American P o e t r y , ( P r i n c e t o n , Hew J e r s e y , 1961), p. 13k. 2 o  ? P e t e r Davidson,"The D i f f i c u l t i e s o f B e i n g M a j o r , " A t l a n t i c , CCXX, (October 1967), p. 119. 2  2 8  P u b l i s h e d by Houghton M i f f l i n i n March  1970.  R a l p h J . M i l l s j r . , "The P o e t r y o f James D i c k e y , " T r i - Q j u a r t e r l y ( W i n t e r 1 9 6 8 ) , p. 233. 2 9  3°H.L. Weatherby, "The Way o f Exchange i n James D i c k e y ' s P o e t r y , " The Sewanee Review, LXXIV, 3, (July-September,1966) p. 6 6 9 - 6 8 0 . Robert B l y , "The C o l l a p s e o f James D i c k e y : Buckdancer's C h o i c e , " The S i x t i e s , I X ( S p r i n g 1 9 6 7 ) , p.70-79. 3 1  32  C o n t e m p o r a r y American P o e t r y , p.  288.  3 3 A H poems o f D i c k e y ' s are from Poems:1957-1967 unless otherwise i n d i c a t e d .  I l l  Howard Nemerov, "Poems o f Darkness and A S p e c i a l i z e d L i g h t , " Sewanee Review, LXXI, 71 (Winter 1 9 6 3 ) , p. 1 0 3 . 33,  »^Richard Howard, "On ( 1 9 6 6 ) , p. L1/I6.  James Dickey," P a r t i s a n Review,  3 i b i d , p. Li-17. 6  ^ C o n t e m p o r a r y American P o e t r y , p.  289.  •^Shenandoah, p. 1 3 • 39ibid. p.80.  ^°J.G. P r a z e r , The Golden Bough (London, 1 9 1 1 ) , I I I , H.L.  Weatherby, Sewanee Review, p. 6 7 0 .  Howard Nemerov, Sewanee Review, p.  100.  ^ P e t e r Davidson, "The D i f f i c u l t i e s o f Being A t l a n t i c , CCXX (October 1 9 6 7 ) , p . 1 1 9 .  Major,"  kk-Thorn Gunn, "Things, V o i c e s , Minds;" Y a l e Review, L I I , (October 1962)-, p. 1 3 2 . hSJohn W i l l i a m C o r r i n g t o n , "James Dickey's Poems: 1 9 5 7 - 1 9 6 7 : A P e r s o n a l A p p r a i s a l , " G e o r g i a Review, XXIII No. 1 ( S p r i n g 1 9 6 8 ) , p. 1 8 . c h a e l Goldman, " I n v e n t i n g the American Heart," The N a t i o n , CCIV ( A p r i l 2ij., 1 9 6 7 ) , p. 5 2 9 . ^ R i c h a r d Howard, "On p. ij-25. ^ H.L. Weatherby, p. 8  James Dickey, " P a r t i s a n Review, 673.  ^ H o w a r d Kaye, "Why Review P o e t r y , " The New CLVIII (June 2 9 , 1 9 6 8 ) p. 29  Republic,  ^ L a u r e n c e Lieberman, "Notes on James Dickey's The F a r P o i n t ( S p r i n g / Summer 1 9 6 9 ) , p. 5 9 .  Style,"  51 i b i d Co  ^ The r e f e r e n c e here and elsewhere to the poet as speaker i n the poem i s a c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f the poet as persona. This c o n s i d e r a t i o n i s n e c e s s a r y f o r Dickey's p o e t i c o n t o l o g y : there i s no g r e a t e r " t r u t h " than that whidh e x i s t s i n the poem. T h e r e f o r e , the poet must be f r e e to c r e a t e a mythos o f h i s own l i f e and to a b s t r a c t from o r a l t e r b i o g r a p h y at any time.  ^H.L.  Weatherby,  p . 677.  -^"Laurence L i e b e r m a n , The P a r P o i n t , p . 6 0 , tc L a u r e n c e L i e b e r m a n , The A c h i e v e m e n t o f James ( G l e n v i e w , I l l i n o i s , 1968), p . 1 0 .  Dickey,£  r>  ^ W e n d e l l B e r r y , "James D i c k e y ' s New Book," P o e t r y , (November 1965), p . 130.  GV  ^ L i e b e r m a n , "The W o r l d l y M y s t i c , " Hudson Review, XX (Autumn 1967), p . 513. 5 Dickey, Byzantium, p . 8  "The D e c l i n e o f O u t r a g e , " F r o m B a b e l t o  257-266.  59»Decline o f O u t r a g e , " p . 260. L o u i s Simpson, "New Books ( A u g u s t 1967), P. 90. 6 o  o f Poems," H a r p e r ' s , GCXXF  61 N a t R o b e r t s o n , " I n t e r v i e w w i t h James D i c k e y , " Nexj Y o r k T i m e s , (September 10, 1966), S e c t . 1, p . 11 . M.L.  1956  Since  R o s e n t h a l , The New P o e t s : A m e r i c a n (New Y o r k , 196~7), p . 327.  63Dickey,  p.  121.  "Theodore Roethke," P o e t r y ,  and  British  CV (November 19611)  ^ R o s e n t h a l , p . 327. ^ R o b e r t Duncan, " O r i e n t e d b y I n s t i n c t - b y S t a r s , " P o e t r y ? : CV (November 1961^.), p . 132. 6 6  6  The J ,  7  6 8  The  Far Point, p. 60. D i c k e y , " T h e o d o r e R o e t h k e , " p . 119. Far P o i n t , p . 62.  J a m e s B i d n e y , "Myth, Symbolism, and T r u t h , " Myth L i t e r a t u r e , e d . J o h n B. V i c k e r y ( L i n c o l n , 1966), p.7 6 9  And  70_deberman, "New Books i n Review: The E x p a n s i o n a l P o e t s : A R e t u r n t o P e r s o n a l i t y , " Y a l e Review, L V I I ( W i n t e r  1968), p . 266.  " ^ D i c k e y q u o t e d b y L a u r e n c e L i e b e r m a n , Y a l e R e v i ew, ? D a v i d s o n , A t l a n t i c , p . 121. 2  p.267.  7 3 p i O'Neil, "James Dickey: Improbable L i f e ( J u l y 22, 1 9 6 6 ) , p . 78. a u  Poet,"  ^ A m e r i c a n Poetry, ed. I r v i n g E h r e n p r e i s , (London  1965), p r i j T : ^ H y a t t Waggoner, American Poets: Prom the P u r i t a n s to the Present (Boston 1968), p. 551.. 7 R i c h a r d T i l l i n g h a s t , " P i l o t Into Poetry," The New Republic (September 9, 1967) p . 28. 6  7 7  P a u l O ' N e i l , L i f e , p . 74.  ° J a m e s Dickey, S e l f - I n t e r v i e w s , ed. Barbara and James R e i s s (New York 1970) 7  7 9  C a r o l Buck, Poetry A u s t r a l i a , I I I ( A p r i l 1968), p . 6 .  ®°Dickey, S p i n n i n g t h e . C r y s t a l B a l l  (Washington 1967),  P. 13 A r t h u r Clayborough, (Oxford 1965) , P. 58.  The Grotesque i n E n g l i s h L i t e r a t u r e  u 1  ^Wolfgang Kayser, The Grotesque i n A r t and L i t e r a t u r e , t r a n s . U l r i c h W e i s s t e i n (Blooraington 1 96~3) , P. 80 ^ % i l l i a m Van O'Connor, The Grotesque: An American Genre and Other Essays (Carbondate 1962), p. 1. ^Edmund Burke, On the Sublime and B e a u t i f u l York, n.d.), p. 32. ^ ^ I r v i n g M a l i n , New American Gothic p. 9.  (New  (Carbondate  1962)  B.6  Quoted by Kayser from Mann's R e f l e c t i o n s of An U n p o l i t i c a l Man, p. 128. Pt"7  The Suspect, p. 9. 0  The t i t l e of the c o n c l u d i n g essay i n The Suspect.  ^ j a m e s Dickey,  "Theodore Roethke," Poetry, p. 121.  90 Hyatt Waggoner, American Poets c o n t a i n s exerpts from Dickey's speech acknowledging r e c e i p t of the n a t i o n a l Book Award f o r Buckdancer s Choice, p. 61k. 7  1  K i z e r , Shenandoah, p . 26.  PRIMARY WORKS  a) Books Bergsen, H e n r i .  New Burke,  The  C r e a t i v e Mind,  trans.. M a b e l l e L . A n d i s o n .  Y o r k , 19U-6".  Edmund. On  the Sublime  and B e a u t i f u l , New  C a r r o l l , P a u l , e d . The Young A m e r i c a n Dickey. Chicago, 196b. Clayborough, Arthur. O x f o r d , . 1 965.  York,  Poets. Introd.  The G r o t e s q u e i n E n g l i s h  n.d.  James  Literature.  Dembo, L.S. and L.A. C o n c e p t i o n s o f R e a l i t y i n Modern A m e r i c a n P o e t r y . B e r k e l y , 19^6". D i c k e y , James. B a b e l t o B y z a n t i u m : New Y o r k , 1968. . Poems: .  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