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|Born||William Daryl Hine
February 24, 1936
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
|Died||August 20, 2012
Evanston, Illinois, United States
|Occupation||Poet • Translator|
William Daryl Hine (February 24, 1936 – August 20, 2012) was a Canadian poet and translator. A MacArthur Fellow for the class of 1986, Hine was the editor of Poetry from 1968 to 1978. He graduated from McGill University in 1958 and then studied in Europe, as a Canada Council scholar. He earned a PhD. in comparative literature at the University of Chicago (UC) in 1967. During his career, Hine taught at UC, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Northwestern University.
Hine was born in Burnaby in 1936 and grew up in New Westminster, British Columbia. He was the adopted son of Robert Fraser and Elsie James Hine. He attended McGill University in Montreal 1954-58. His first chapbook, The Carnal and the Crane, was published as part of Louis Dudek's McGill Poetry Series in 1957.
Hine then went to Europe on a Canada Council scholarship, where he lived for the next three years. He moved to New York in 1962 and to Chicago in 1963, taking a PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago in 1967. He taught there and at Northwestern University and at University of Illinois (Chicago campus) during the following decades, while he served as an editor. Editor of Poetry magazine, from 1968 to 1978, his correspondence from that time is held at Indiana University. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1986.
The poet first came out as gay in his 1975 work In & Out, which was initially available only in a privately printed version in limited circulation. The work did not gain general publication until 1989.
Following the death of his partner of more than 30 years, the philosopher Samuel Todes, Hine lived in semi-retirement in Evanston, Illinois. Hine died of complications of a blood disorder on August 20, 2012 at the age of 76.
Hine is less an oracle than a high-energy technician. A recurring metaphor is nuclear fusion — its poetic procedures putting mundane, household elements under graceful pressure until they fuse together into a new substance, dense and glowing in contrast to their prosaic ingredients.
Daryl Hine's is a cultured voice. It avoids stuffiness, egoism and shallow ironies. At the centre of this hailstorm of rhyme is a calm - one made of seeming trifles, yet with thinking that is profound. It is a reflection on civilization as a whole, and is the summing up of a life in particular weighed against eternity.
In Puerilities, Hine has beautifully re-created Book XII of the Greek Anthology; it stands as a translation, and as a poetic achievement in its own right. Puerilities entertains, and can move one too.
Daryl Hine, celebrated for translations of the Homeric Hymns and Theocritus, has embarked on his own autobiography in classical disguise in Academic Festival Overtures. Though the poem is written in self-proclaimed alexandrines (by alternating 13 and 12 syllables), its indented patterning is suggestive rather of Ovid (part Tristia, part Amores). The narrative impulse races through long paragraphs, while a rhyme scheme insistently coagulates internal elements into epigrammatic quatrains. It is a virtuoso achievement, as remarkable in its way as anything by Auden. It is also a remarkable record of a yearning, bookish and inhibited boyhood.
Hine's robust language…gleams with what sonneteers used to call sprezzatura, the confident, making-it-look-easy gloss that greases great art.
At certain moments, in reading him, one has the startled sense that language has arrived at a kind of impasse which only a quick scintillation of wit – in the form of a sly rhyme, a subtle pun or an extravagant rhetorical flourish – can grace, if not elude. As a result, Hine’s poems, unlike the brittle pirouettes of the formalist, seem to take shape, in all their glistening eloquence, hot from some secret forge...Hine succeeds at something which once was commonplace but has now become sadly rare: he writes poems which give pleasure to the reader.
One cannot write about Daryl Hine without using words like "bravura" and "virtuosity."
[I]t is impossible to read Hine without feeling one is in the hands of a technical virtuoso . . . . The key that opens the door of many a Hine poem is to recognize that he treats words as living beings. . . . And it's not just words he loves; Hine is also one of those rare poets for whom the whole history of Western poetry is present and available for plunder.