This volume represents, under one cover, the major work of the man whom critics and readers have designated the authentic poet of his American generation. For this collection, James Dickey has selected from his four published books all those poems that reflect his truest interests and his growth as an artist. He has added more than a score of new poems – in effect, a new book in themselves – that have not previously been published in volume form.
Specifically, Poems 1957–1967 contains 15 of the 24 poems that were included in his first book, Into the Stone (1960); 25 of the 36 that made up Drowning With Others (1962); 22 of the 24 in Helmets (1964); the entire 22 in the National Book Award winner Buckdancer’s Choice (1965); and, under the titles Sermon and Falling, the exciting new poems mentioned above. Seldom can the word “great” be used of the work of a contemporary in any art. But surely it applies to the poems of James Dickey.