George McWhirter

George McWhirter

George McWhirter shared the first Commonwealth Poetry Prize with Chinua Achebe in 1972 for Catalan Poems (Oberon Press). His own poetry is anthologized in The Penguin Book Of Canadian Verse And Irish Writing In The Twentieth Century (Cork University Press). He has translated and published prose by Marco Denevi, Carlos Fuentes and Mario Arregui, and the following books from the Spanish: The Selected Poems Of José Emilio Pachecho (New Directions), which won the F.R. Scott Prize for Translation; Eyes To See Otherwise: The Selected Poems Of Homero Aridjis (Carcanet and New Directions), Solar Poems by Homero Aridjis (City Lights) and A Time Of Angels (Fondo de Cultura Económica and City Lights, 2012). An anthology of contemporary Mexican poetry, Where Words Like Monarchs Fly, which he edited, appeared from Anvil Press in 2000; his version of Hecuba by Euripides was produced by Blackbird Theatre at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre in 2009, one of his projects as Vancouver’s Inaugural Poet Laureate from 2007 – 2009.

cover image of the book Eyes To See Otherwise

Eyes To See Otherwise

Eyes to See Otherwise is the first widely representative selection by Mexico’s greatest living poet to be published in a bilingual edition. The range and quality of the translations, by some of America’s finest poets, mark the centrality of his work on the map of modern poetry. Homero Aridjis’s sources range from Nahuatl chants and Huichol initiation songs to San Juan de la Cruz and the 16th-century Spanish poet Luis de Góngora y Argote. He is, in the words of translator George McWhirter, “a troubadour of love for lost environments, a voice in the wilderness of Mexico City and Mexico.” Included in this selection are poems by Aridjis evoking his own life, present and past, his memories always sticking close to his birthplace Contepec, where, on Altamirano Hill, the Monarch butterflies arrive each year. This long awaited Selected Poems enables the reader to witness, from the 1960 collection The Eyes of a Double Vision to new unpublished poems, the poetic and personal evolution of this “visionary poet of lyrical bliss, crystalline concentrations and infinite spaces” (Kenneth Rexroth).

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cover image of the book Self-Portrait in the Zone of Silence

Self-Portrait in the Zone of Silence

by Homero Aridjis

Translated by George McWhirter

Self-Portrait in the Zone of Silence, by the renowned Mexican writer Homero Aridjis, is a brilliant collection of recent poems. Aridjis seeks spiritual transformation through encounters with mythical animals, family ghosts, Mexico’s oppressed, female saints, writers like Jorge Luis Borges and Philip Lamantia, and naked angels in the metro. We find tributes to Goya and Heraclitus, denunciations of drug traffickers and political figureheads, and unforgettable imagined landscapes. As Aridjis himself writes, “A poem is like a door /we’ve never passed through.” Now past eighty, Aridjis reflects on the past and ponders the future. “Surrounded by light and the warbling of birds,” he writes, “I live in a state of poetry, because for me, being and making poetry are the same.”

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