Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

R.A., the Other Dickey

Make room, James Dickey; there will soon be a new book on the shelf

February 21, 2011 When they hear the name “Dickey,” literary types in Tennessee automatically think of the brilliant poet James Dickey (though he’s perhaps more famous as the author of the novel Deliverance than as the author of many oft-anthologized poems like “The Heaven of Animals,” “The Lifeguard,” and “Falling”), who was a student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. According to a Saturday story in The New York Times, however, Tennesseans will soon have another author named Dickey to claim: R.A. Dickey, the celebrated knuckleball thrower for the New York Mets, is writing a memoir, due next year from Penguin.

Looking for a ghost in this story? Don’t. R.A. Dickey, a lifelong passionate reader, is a graduate of Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville and was named an Academic All-American as an English-literature major at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. “Dickey, 36, is far more literary than most pro athletes, and more than even most of the college-educated reporters who write about him,” according to the Times. “So he will be writing virtually all of the book himself, with some assistance from Wayne Coffey, a sportswriter with The Daily News.”

What will the book be, exactly? Dickey sees his memoir as a cross between Jeannette Walls‘s The Glass Castle and Jim Bouton’s Ball Four.

For more updates on Tennessee authors, please visit Chapter 16‘s News & Notes page, here.