James Dickey (1923 - 1997): Poet and novelist. Born in Atlanta, GA, James Dickey flew as a pilot in WWII with the U.S. Army Air Corps and in the Korean War with the U.S. Air Force. After serving in the military, he taught at Rice University and University of Florida, and then went to work for several advertising agencies from 1955 to 1961.
His first book, Into the Stone, was published in 1962, at which point he became poet-in-residence at the University of South Carolina. There, he taught English while he gathered material for Buckdancer's Choice, his second volume of poetry, which was published in 1965.
He went on to write copious amounts of excellent poetry, as well as the novel "Deliverance", which he also wrote as a screenplay, the film of which made the song Dueling Banjos famous.
Some of his best-known poems appear in the Norton Anthology of Poetry, 3rd ed.: The Lifeguard, In the Tree House at Night, At Darien Bridge, In the Marble Quarry, and Buckdancer's Choice.
"If it were thought that anything I wrote was influenced by Robert Frost, I would take that particular work of mine, shred it, and flush it down the toilet, hoping not to clog the pipes. A more sententious, holding-forth old bore who expected every hero-worshiping adenoidal little twerp of a student-poet to hang on to his every word I never saw."