Classes on Modern Poets and the Art of Poetry

Classes on Modern Poets and the Art of Poetry

by James Dickey
     
 

Widely known as the winner of the 1966 National Book Award and author of the best-selling novel Deliverance, James Dickey devoted himself as much to the critique of the modern literary tradition as to his participation in it. A writer enthralled by teaching, he lectured at several major universities before settling at the University of South Carolina for nearly three…  See more details below

Overview

Widely known as the winner of the 1966 National Book Award and author of the best-selling novel Deliverance, James Dickey devoted himself as much to the critique of the modern literary tradition as to his participation in it. A writer enthralled by teaching, he lectured at several major universities before settling at the University of South Carolina for nearly three decades as poet-in-residence. After his death in 1997, a transcription of his lectures was found among his papers. Collected here and published for the first time, these lectures reveal judgments and appraisals Dickey would use to great effect in his teaching. They also contribute to the unraveling of Dickey's art from the larger-than-life myth that surrounded him. In a comprehensive introduction to Dickey's remarks, Donald J. Greiner evaluates the relevance of the writer's often sharply worded opinions. The volume brings to life class sessions planned and delivered soon after Dickey took up full-time residence at the University of South Carolina, in the triumphal years following his rapid succession of honors. Full of asides, witticisms, and afterthoughts, the sessions suggest not the pontification of a scholar at an academic conference but the confident learning of a practicing poet who happens to enjoy being in the classroom. Clearly setting forth his sense of literary criticism, Dickey repeatedly emphasizes the preeminence of the poet over the critic, the original use of language as a primary criterion for effective poetry, and the centrality of personal reaction to poetry as a measure of its value. Dickey's comments are valuable for their insight into both his own thought processes and those of the poets he reviewed, among them William Butler Yeats, Ezra Pound, Dylan Thomas, A. E. Housman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Frost, Walter de la Mare, and Robert Bridges.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Dickey is best remembered for his National Book Award-winning novel, Deliverance, and the memorable film that followed. What may not be as well known is that Dickey was also a poet and a teacher at the University of South Carolina for many years. Following his death in 1997, transcriptions of his lectures were discovered and are now being published for the first time. Editor Greiner (English, Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia) provides a splendid introduction that highlights Dickey's life and career and gives the reader perspective on Dickey's approach to his poetry and his role as a teacher. The transcriptions reveal Dickey's emphasis on the role of the poet over the critic and the personal reaction of the reader to the poem as a measure of its value. The poets Dickey examines include, among others, Yeats, Pound, Frost, and Dylan Thomas. Fans of Dickey and of poetry in general will find here a wealth of learning and insight from a man who loved teaching and the subject he taught. The book also gives readers a much different perspective of the man best remembered for such a chilling novel. Recommended for all literary collections.-Ron Ratliff, Kansas State Univ., Manhattan Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570035289
Publisher:
University of South Carolina Press
Publication date:
03/28/2004
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

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