It’s not exactly trendy nowadays to read the formal sort of poetry that rhymes. It somehow smacks of the schoolyard, or of scansion exercises and tedious essays. But there’s nevertheless an undeniable attraction in it, in slipping into the steady, measured beat of each line, of adopting a reverent cadence, of discovering that one perfect couplet. A pleasure, to be sure, if perhaps a guilty one.
Daryl Hine is a master of classical forms. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he never abandoned his dedication to metre and rhyme. Refined, witty and full of style, his poems are rich with references to literature, myth and philosophy.
In The Essential Daryl Hine, editor and poet James Pollock collects the best examples of Hine’s work, presenting them with a critical introduction and fascinating biographical information, all in a slim, attractive volume.
I strongly believe that the poems in this collection are best appreciated when read aloud, so don’t be bashful. Say it loud and say it proud!
To get you started, here is a sneak peek at one of the poems in the upcoming collection. Hope you enjoy!
Les Yeux de la Tête
As exercises in a foreign measure
To the ear or on the page may seem the same,
And does it matter, so the sound give pleasure?
I haunt the district under another name,
A tourist returned, sadly misdirected
By memory to the spot where
Once nothing happened, dark glasses reflecting
The pedestrian sun’s indifferent glare.
I wear for my variety of reasons
The uniform disguise of a time and place
As much mine as anyone’s. In all seasons
Lenses of necessity disgrace my face.
I grope for affection, glaucopic lover,
In bed or thinking I want to go to bed,
Blind when best to be seen. Now night shades cover
Beauties that cost, they say, the eyes of the head.
Why not? The eye is first of all a mirror,
Though not of the soul. On its bright surface swim
Whole argosies of joys. Least speaking feature,
Its objects see in it what it sees in them:
A tiny palace and a formal garden
In miniature, lawns, flowers, jeweled trees
And statuettes, and in the midst a fountain
Whose precious drops like tear drops fill the eyes.
About the Author
DARYL HINE (1936 – 2012) was a poet, educator, and editor of the renowned Poetry magazine. 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.
About the Editor
JAMES POLLOCK is the author of Sailing to Babylon (Able Muse Press, 2012), and You Are Here: Essays on the Art of Poetry in Canada (The Porcupine’s Quill, 2012). He grew up in Woodstock, Ontario, studied English literature and creative writing at York University in Toronto, and earned a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston. He is a professor at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, where he teaches poetry writing, Canadian culture, and modern and contemporary American poetry. He lives with his wife and son in Madison, Wisconsin.