HIGH POINT, N.C., April 21, 2009 – Dr. Marion Hodge, professor of English at High Point University, has contributed an essay in a new collection recently published by the University of South Carolina Press, “The Way We Read James Dickey: Critical Approaches for the Twenty-first Century.”
In his essay, “The Theme of the Visionary Poet,” Hodge analyzes several poems in which Dickey seeks in the creation to find union with the Creator. In these poems, Dickey aligns himself and his role as poet with such strong predecessors as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Whitman and Yeats.
Dickey employs two general methods in his visionary poems. In some, referring to nature and natural processes, he secularizes traditional religious images and makes them universal. In others, he presents his methods of obtaining the visionary experience, thereby showing readers, his public, ordinary people, how they too may achieve the vision of sublime truths, and be happy.
This collection of essays is the first to appear since Dickey’s death in 1997. As editors William B. Thesing and Theda Wrede say, the book “truly fills a critical vacuum.” The 18 new essays “demonstrate fully why and how Dickey and his works matter now.”
Dickey published numerous collections of poetry for which he won several prizes. He also published three novels, one of which, “Deliverance,” is considered one of the best American stories.
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