Saturday, March 9, 2019

Starry Place Between Antlers


This morning at the White Mule in Five Points I attended a panel discussion held to celebrate writer James Dickey. It’s subject was “The James Dickey Influence On SC Writers.” The panelists, for the most part, were former Dickey students who recounted anecdotes. Roger Pickney told of a poetry reading in which Dickey growled, roared, and sweated, ending by saying that his audience had seen his last reading. It was too hard for him. He couldn’t do it again. At some later venue, Pickney told of seeing the same performance, with Dickey saying it was his last poetry reading, too hard. 
(LR) Ellen Malphrus, Roger Pickney, Ray McManus, Jane Zenger
Dr. Jane Zenger gave the most insight into Dickey, quoting comments he had said in the English class she took from him. She said Dickey’s view was that there were two ways in which poems were written: 1) one-shot and it’s done; or 2) a labor of years. She engaged the panel in an aside to Dickey’s philandering. Ray McManus, though he hadn’t been a student, told of how his work has been influenced by Dickey. 

This first panel was followed by two readings, one of them poetry. What I get from authors reading their work is impatience. I would like to have seen later panels but didn’t want to wait two hours.

The name of the event, “The Starry Place Between The Antlers” is taken from Dickey’s description of Columbia. I’m glad to see our city celebrating its literary heritage. Wish there were more of these.


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