NaPoMo QOTD PoLaus GONE WILD! But Seriously, James Dickey Ain't Yo Mama's Poet

"...    and someone is always checking

A wrist watch by the bed to see how much
Longer we have left. Nothing can come
Of this    nothing can come..."
 - Adultery by James Dickey* (PoLau '66-'68)

Let me preface this by saying, James Dickey is effin' weird. With a capital eff. He might say he was disappointed in LSD, but his writing makes me disinclined to believe that.

I wanted to quote his lesser known poem "The Sheep Child," but I couldn't find four lines, consecutive or otherwise, that weren't too inappropriate (even for the internet). Just know that it's about EXACTLY what you think it's about. You should buy this book for the singular purpose of reading that poem. It gives you that weird feeling where you don't know if you should laugh or be horrified. Which is fitting because I kind of get that feeling about Dickey being the PoLau at all. I mean, the man wrote Deliverance. 'nuff said.

The real point about Dickey is that he doesn't shy away from any topic. In fact, he is drawn to the grime between wheel treads and the much in the sewer. He upturns rocks with his writing and examines what's wriggling underneath. I think a lot of the time, poetry makes you stop and smell the roses, but Dickey writes to remind you that at the bottom of every flowerbed is dirt. And I kinda like that.

So many poets throughout time

*From The Poets Laureate Anthology, published by W.W. Norton in association with the Library of Congress. Poem copyright James Dickey.


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