Arrondissements

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Porcupine's Quill, 1989 - Poetry - 48 pages
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`No mere tour de force, like so many of my productions, though rhymed and metred to a fare-thee-well, this, my Desiderium Lutetiae (or Nostalgie de la Boue) is all that remains of a much longer but less excursive prose memoir, thank goodness unpublished, entitled A Still Salt Pool. There, with queer but not quite queer-enough aesthetic results, I altered not only my person but my sex, in the manner of Henry James. More impersonal but hardly asexual, the present dizzy and I hope dizzying verse sucks up, with all the omnivorousness of a vacuum, the detritus of Paris by day and night, the not very naughty and scarcely gay capital where I did my first and most arduous graduate work, in what at the time looked like life. Of all the names of the dear and deplorable living and dead that might have been dropped here, none is cited, with the partial pseudonymic exception of Folly, the presiding deity of those years between 1958 and 1962, years that always seem in retrospect so much longer than they were at the time, when they simply seemed a lifetime. In the place of David and Joe and Philippe and John and Patrick and Sandy, just for starters, whirl the districts or arrondissements of Paris, those Dantesque circles in three of which (the third, sixth and seventh) I dwelt, while visiting and occasionally hanging out in others. An indefatigable and indigent pedestrian, there was a spring in my step in those days. Now the footfall of Autumn dogs my heels, while to my case-hardened ear these impetuous stanzas do not walk, they run. It is no accident that souvenir has had to be imported into our language, as a memento that we have nothing in English more fragrant than `reminder', with its discouraging echo of `remainder', themselves both Latin memories, unless it be the rather rueful agenbite of inwit. I wrote the following lines over a decade ago. A tale like that implicit here is encoded in no one night, no, nor in a thousand and one mornings. Borrowings or outright pillage from various French poets will be too obvious to those more familiar than I with the Bibliothèque Nationale. Yet the only real and best reason for the re-edition of Arrondissements seems to me the pictures -- each worth a thousand words, furnished by my fellow sojourners in the City of Light. Of these the poet and pornographer John Glassco would be most approving of such ``Pale skin books with red-faced prefaces.'' '

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About the author (1989)

Daryl Hine was born in 1936 in British Columbia. He read Classics and Philosophy at McGill University before going, with the aid of several grants, to live in Paris. In 1962 he went to the United States and in 1967 took a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago, where he subsequently taught. He later gave courses at Northwestern University and at the University of Illinois (Chicago). From 1968 to 1978 he edited Poetry magazine. He has published ten collections of

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