In and Out

Daryl Hine, Author Alfred A. Knopf $19.95 (284p) ISBN 978-0-394-57249-9
This remarkable long poem is at once autobiography, confessional and spiritual quest. In witty, unrhymed, anapestic verse that affords the old-fashioned narrative pleasures of Pope or Horace, Hine paints himself as a precocious, confused, skeptical Protestant undergraduate; the time is 1955-56, and the setting McGill University in Montreal, where the author lurches in and out of the Catholic Church for reasons he dimly understands. Peppered with erotic wordplay, his monastic misadventures include a frank portrayal of homosexual love as well as ramblings on Oedipal fixations, sin, guilt, wisdom and the search for godhead. Hine, a poet, translator and former editor of Poetry magazine, writes unblushingly about his seesaw ambivalence over his half-hearted religious conversion; candor carries the poem, and we can easily forgive its excesses of schoolboy cleverness. His wonderfully sardonic portraits of college chums, church officials and of his fractured adolescent self give his ode the breadth of a novel. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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