How to describe you save as a reliquary,
A masterwork fashioned from hope and bold-
Faced fictions containing a dubious relic? Query
The lost, loquacious seventeen-year-old,
And he will tell you again the mouldy tales he told
This too credulous solitary
Common scold, a literal truth fairy,
While his eyes beamed silver and his locks gleamed gold.
From "A Reliquary"
A Reliquary, Daryl Hine's final collection of poetry, completed just months before he died, is a portrait of the poet aging. It is elegies for lost friends and odes to absent ones, the poet himself suffering in sickness yet never despondent. There is real joy here, a vivacious voice confined to a wheelchair and singing out to the world.
The poems themselves are both relics contained within a reliquary and the reliquary itself, yet they are also alive with the witty and masterful plays of language for which Hine is best known.
"In A Reliquary, as in his entire oeuvre, the scope of Hine’s vision is epic and his tone is elegiac. The epic part of him is a formidable read, but the elegiac part is a wonderfully lyrical and witty one. . . Hine is arguably the most learned and certainly one of the most sophisticated poets in CanLit. It is a pity that the major literary awards he has received both in this country and in the U.S. have not gained him a greater presence in the canon."
-- Telegraph Journal
Daryl Hine was born in British Columbia. He studied Classics at McGill and at the University of Chicago. He was former editor of Poetry (Chicago), and had taught at the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, and Northwestern. Author of sixteen books of verse and six of verse translation, he received three Canada Council Grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a MacArthur Fellowship, and a medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among many other honours. &: A Serial Poem was a finalist for the Governor-General's Literary Award for Poetry in 2010. He died in August 2012.