Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

James Dickey, Mad Man

with 2 comments

James Dickey

Even though Dickey boasted that his New York colleagues [at McCann Erickson] had nicknamed him “Jungle Jim” because of his flair for coining catch phrases, [Inman] Mays was convinced that he had invented the title as a kind of self-advertisement. Dickey showed his disdain for his copywriting job almost from the start. He refused to go to meetings or work overtime. He constantly tried to outfox the executives in order to spend time on his poetry: “If they said, ‘Alright, today we need ten television commercials and five radio commercials and two print ads; this is your assignment for the day,’ he’d say, ‘OK.’ He’d shut the door and within an hour he’d have it all done. Then he’d spend the rest of his time working on his own work—his correspondence, his poems. But of course they didn’t know that. They figured: ‘That’ll keep him busy all day.’ But he was so smart and so fast, he could get it done.”

Henry Hart, James Dickey: The World as a Lie

Written by nevalalee

May 11, 2014 at 8:55 am

2 Responses

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  1. I so admire James Dickey’s writing. I am glad that one of my professor had him for a teacher and did a dissertation on him, otherwise I may not have picked up his books.

    Lynne Campanaro

    May 11, 2014 at 3:12 pm

  2. His best work is pretty stunning—the perfect fusion of action, storytelling, and poetry.


    May 11, 2014 at 3:26 pm

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