Reviews, interviews, and essays that record America's critical response to James Dickey
"Struggling for Wings" is a diverse collection of writings on the work of James Dickey, a poet and novelist who has engendered commentary ranging from high praise to scathing personal attack. Never before collected, the materials in this volume address the breadth of Dickey's controversial career, beginning in the early 1960s when he first began publishing poetry and continuing through the mid-1990s, with comprehensive overviews of his entire canon.
Distinguished scholars, writers, and editors contribute selections covering such topics as Dickey's early influences, poetic form and development, critical appraisal of other poets, views on women and of masculine myths, and literary development. Of particular interest are two new interviews: one with Dickey, in which he answers questions from the poets and critics whose work is collected in the volume; and one with the director John Gallogly and the actress Bridget Hanley, whose adaptation for the stage of Dickey's long poem "May Day Sermon" received rave reviews at Theatre West in Los Angeles and at the Edinburgh Festival. Two essays that treat Dickey's work in the mode of performance art—Janet McHughes's discussion of the poem "Sleeping Out at Easter" and R. Barton Palmer's reading of the novel and the film version of Deliverance—are also included.
Robert Kirschten is an assistant professor of English at Ohio State University. He is the author of James Dickey and the Gentle Ecstasy of Earth: A Reading of the Poems and the editor of Critical Essays on James Dickey and Critical Essays on A. R. Ammons.
"All of the contributors …help us to focus on Dickey's real legacy: his writing, the evidence of a profound and probing intelligence of this brilliant 'celestial navigator.'"—William W. Starr, The State