Sunday, November 07, 2010

Pat Conroy on James Dickey

Pat Conroy's appreciation of James Dickey as poet, novelist and teacher in Conroy's new book, "My Reading Life," is simply magnificent. It draws on both the eulogy Conroy delivered in 1997 and the speech he made on the tenth anniversary of Dickey's death. Part of the manuscript for that talk is reproduced here:

Wild To Be Wreckage Forever

Let me now praise the American writer, James Dickey. I will make a few critical remarks about him during the course of this talk, but that is only because he is dead and I don't have to worry about him beating me up after the conference is over. It will also make me appear less sycophantic about James Dickey's achievement .... But let me open with a statement of my own passionate and indignant belief -- I do not care one goddamn thing about how James Dickey conducted his personal life. I care everything about what this man wrote on blank sheets of paper when he sat alone probing the extremities of his imagination. I don't care if James Dickey slept with a thousand women or the entire football team at Clemson or the marching band ...

For a full schedule of Conroy's readings, visit his site at:

1 comment:

  1. Each semester, I give a course on American Poetry, much of which is devoted to James Dickey. At this time, I show Pat Conroy's exceptional eulogy for Dickey at his memorial at the University of South Carolina. All the students, especially the poets, are intensely moved by Conroy's remarks. I have never met Pat Conroy, but let me thank him here on behalf of all the Prairie View A&M students whose lives he touches as we continue to celebrate the work of James Dickey.