James Dickey's new volume of poems is not an advance over, but merely an extension of his well-received Helmets. of last year. This is particularly true in Dickey's thematic material: once again he focuses upon his experiences in the Second World War, his activities as sportsman or country boy, and his apprehension of reality through family life, the past or the present. Dickey is a vital, masculine, rapid-image man, and his poems, while introspective enough, pivot themselves most successfully within the outdoors. Technically, he is intoning more and more toward the narrative style, using what he calls the "split line," a device borrowed from avant garde fiction. Poems like "The Firebombing" or "The Fiend" are extremely close to the short story or interludes from a novel; the details mix the realistic with the dreamy or nightmarish; they are poems, incidentally, which are better read aloud. Something like the wonderful "Sled Burial," on the other hand, is explicitly for the printed page. Dickey's work is full of dramatic energy, superb observation, and honesty. But his changes over the years from stanzaic forms to the more free-floating sort have not as yet proved altogether satisfying. His most daring experiments suggest an interest in manipulating controlled violence in order to illuminate an almost mystic (hence quite private) sort of emotion. He remains one of the foremost poets of his generation. He is, alas, a bit too prolific, even facile.