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In Memoriam
 
In Memoriam: Daryl Hine (1936-2012)
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 08/25/12
Last updated on: 08/25/12
 
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Canadian-American poet and translator Daryl Hine died on August 20, 2012 at his home in Evanston, Illinois. The cause of death was an intestinal blockage related to a blood disorder. Noted for his formal structures and classical allusions, Hine also explored homosexual experience, especially the pain of growing up gay in the 1940s and 1950s.

Hine was born in Burnaby, British Columbia and received his undergraduate degree from McGill University in Montreal, but he did his graduate study at the University of Chicago, where he earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, and lived most of his life in the United States. He was editor of Poetry Magazine from 1968 to 1978.

Hine's early work was praised by the eminent Canadian critic Northrup Frye, who "doubt[ed] if any Canadian poet [had] potentially greater talents," and by American poet Richard Howard, who drew attention to Hine's "special status as a Wunderkind."

As Patrick Holland notes in glbtq.com's entry on Hine, his classical learning and mastery of technique affiliated him with gay American formalists such as Howard, James Merrill, and Howard Moss, rather than with a Canadian school of poetry.

Although homosexual themes were implicit in Hine's early work, they came to the fore in his autobiographical volume, In & Out (1975), in which he chronicled two romances when he was a student at McGill and his attempt to escape his sexuality by converting to Catholicism.

As Holland observes, "In & Out is both witty and painfully moving, and clarifies how Hine's intellectual engagement with both classicism and Catholicism provided the confused young poet with a way of articulating homosexual experience and a way of coming out."

In an obituary for Hine in the New York Times, Leslie Kaufman quotes poet J. D. McClatchy on Hine's prodigious technical skill, "All that technical prowess was in service to a deep moral meditation on the course of human emotions."

Hine was predeceased by his partner of more than 30 years, Samuel Todes, who died in 1994 and had been a philosophy professor at Northwestern University. He is survived by his brother, Robert.

 
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