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Poetry Canadian

The Essential Daryl Hine

by (author) Daryl Hine

selected by James Pollock

Porcupine's Quill
Initial publish date
May 2015
Canadian, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2015
    List Price

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The Essential Daryl Hine presents a judicious selection of the work of a poetic virtuoso, a friend of James Merrill, John Hollander, and Richard Howard long celebrated for his learned wit, formal and rhetorical mastery, and cosmopolitan sensibility.

About the authors

Born in 1936, and raised in New Westminster, British Columbia, Daryl Hine studied classics and philosophy at McGill University in Montreal, and earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of Chicago. He was the editor of Poetry magazine from 1968 to 1978, and taught at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. As a poet, Hine was known for his learned wit, formal mastery, and cosmopolitan sensibility. He published eighteen volumes of poetry, several works of prose and verse drama, and five books of translations from ancient Greek and Latin poets. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1980, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1986, among other awards. In 2010 he was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award in Poetry. Hine died in 2012 in Evanston, Illinois, at the age of 76.

Daryl Hine's profile page

James Pollock grew up in southwestern Ontario. He is a graduate of York University and completed his doctorate at the University of Houston where he held several fellowships in poetry. He was a John Woods Scholar in the Prague Summer Program at Charles University in the Czech Republic, and a work-study scholar at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Middlebury, Vermont. Pollock's critical reviews and essays have appeared in journals on both sides of the border, including Contemporary Poetry Review, Arc Poetry Magazine, The New Quarterly, Books in Canada, Literary Review of Canada and Canadian Notes & Queries. His poetry has been published in The Paris Review, The Fiddlehead, Poetry Daily, Canadian Literature, AGNI, Maisonneuve, Southern Poetry Review, Geist, The Del Sol Review and elsewhere. In 2010 he was short-listed in Best Canadian Poetry. He is an Associate Professor at Loras College, in Dubuque, Iowa, where he teaches poetry, writing and Canadian Literature. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

James Pollock's profile page


  • Commended, Poetry Daily

Excerpt: The Essential Daryl Hine (by (author) Daryl Hine; selected by James Pollock)

The Trout

My watery prison shatters in a prism
As I flounder up the fatal falls'
Arpeggios of air, a cataclysm
Of cataracts and broken intervals.

Still in the murk of motionless canals
I dreamt away my staid maturity
Till stirred by that immortal voice which calls
From the heights of the mountains to the depths of the sea.

I lean on air as prisoners on time
Not to let them down. My impetus,
In the interest of my kind sublime,
Appears in person merely perilous:

To climb the stair of stone where I was spawned,
Where ponds are oceans and the rapids give
Gasps of an unreachable beyond
I try, I fail, I wriggle loose, I live

Drop by drop against the stream I am,
And in death's shallow waterfall belong
Forever to the torrent and the dam
As defunctive music and recurrent song.

Spilt in sperm the mating pair ignore,
Caught in each other's scales as in a net,
I hung about above the ocean floor,
Part of the liquid pattern of the carpet,

Suspended like a living bathysphere,
Or upwardly mobile in a somersault,
Leaping to measures I can hardly hear,
I flop and I return to the assault,

A prelapsarian memory in man
And bird and beast, a universal wish
For the unforgiving world where life began
And your cold-blooded avatar, the fish.

Editorial Reviews

'This latest addition to The Porcupine Quill's series of Essential Poets ... reenforced for me the importance of Hine as an alternative voice in an era with too little appreciation for the history and the possibilities of formal poetry. It is here, I think, that the value of this volume and of Hine's legacy as a whole truly lies, in its potential to provoke a new generation of Canadian writers to engage and renew the tradition of poetry.'

From Word to Word

'...this selection (which includes a brief, thoughtful introduction and a biographical sketch) is the ideal way to get to know a poet who deserves to be better known.'

Partisan Magazine

'Poets tend not to be the best judges of the value of their own work. It takes a great editor to shape a vision of another poet's work that is both their own and true to the author; Pollock has done that here. The Essential Daryl Hine makes it obvious that the boy from B.C. really is one of the best we have. I don't think it's too great a leap to say that in Pollock, Daryl Hine has found his ideal editor. We should all be so lucky.'

Partisan Magazine

Other titles by Daryl Hine

Other titles by James Pollock