James Dickey (February 2, 1923 - January 19, 1997) was an American author and poet whose work brought him international recognition as well as innumerable awards. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Dickey’s urban Southern roots are clearly evident throughout his poetry. Dickey began his college education at Clemson University, but left at the outbreak of World War II to enlist in the United States Army Air Force. His experiences as a fighter pilot provided him with subject matter for some of his best known poems. Dickey subsequently completed both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Vanderbilt University where among his teachers was the critic Monroe K. Spears who was influential in directing Dickey’s interest toward poetry.
James Dickey began writing poetry in 1947, but turned to writing full-time only in 1960 when his first book, Into the Stone and Other Poems, was published. Prior to this, Dickey had worked as a college instructor and as a highly successful advertising executive. In 1966, Dickey was awarded the National Book Award for his second poetry collection, Buckdancer’s Choice. He received international acclaim for his 1970 novel and 1972 screenplay, Deliverance. He is the author of more than 17 books of poems and 12 books of prose.