James L. Dickey

1923–1997
James L. Dickey

Although he considered himself first and foremost a poet, James Dickey is best known for his nightmarish 1970 novel Deliverance, made into a popular film. Born in Georgia, he spent most of his life in the South, working first in advertising and then, following the success of his first books of poetry, as a creative writing professor. Buckdancer’s Choice, which featured harrowing poems about his experience as a bomber pilot in WWII and the Korean War, won the 1965 Pulitzer Prize, and in 1977 Dickey delivered a poem at Jimmy Carter’s inauguration gala.