JAMES DICKEY: 1923-1997

I died, you know," James Dickey was saying, nine months ago. "I flat-lined! I heard the doctor say, 'My God, we lost him!'... But ain't nothin' to dyin', really. You just get tired. You kind of drift away."

The poet, on that occasion, came back from the dead. He thought it was a hell of a thing to have flown over such enemy territory and survived. He told me about it in a tone suggesting both comic metaphysical adventure and a reverent terror. He'd (temporarily) flown away from death, in maybe the way he had made it back from night bombing...

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