George McWhirter

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George McWhirter (born Belfast, Northern Ireland, September 26, 1939) is a Northern Irish-Canadian writer, translator, editor, teacher and Vancouver’s first Poet Laureate.

George McWhirter
George McWhirter June 2009.jpg

The son of a shipyard worker, George McWhirter was raised in a large extended family on the Shankill Road in Belfast. In 1957 he began a “combined scholarship” studying English and Spanish at Queen’s University, Belfast, and education at Stranmillis College, Belfast.[1] His tutor at Queen’s was the poet Laurence Lerner, and he was a classmate with the future literary critic Robert Dunbar and the poets Seamus Heaney and Seamus Deane.[2] After graduating, McWhirter taught in Kilkeel and Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland, and in Barcelona, Spain, before moving to Port Alberni, B.C. Canada. After receiving his M.A. from the University of British Columbia (UBC), where he studied under Michael Bullock and J. Michael Yates, he stayed on to become a Full Professor in 1982 and Head of the Creative Writing Department from 1983 to 1993. He retired as a Professor Emeritus in 2005. He was associated with PRISM international magazine from 1968 to 2005. McWhirter is the author and editor of numerous books and the recipient of many awards.[3] His first book of poetry, Catalan Poems, was a joint winner of the first Commonwealth Poetry Prize with Chinua Achebe’s Beware, Soul Brother.[4] He was made a life member of the League of Canadian Poets in 2005 and is also a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, PEN International, the Federation of B.C. Writers and the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada. In March 2007, he was named Vancouver’s inaugural Poet Laureate for a two-year term. He currently writes full–time and lives in Vancouver with his wife. They have two children.

Bibliography[edit]

Poetry[edit]

  • Catalan Poems (1971, winner of the 1972 Commonwealth Poetry Prize)
  • Queen of the Sea (1976)
  • Twenty-Five (1978)
  • The Island Man (1981)
  • Fire before Dark (1983)
  • A Staircase for All Souls (1996)
  • Incubus: The Dark Side of the Light (1997)
  • The Book of Contradictions (2002)
  • The Incorrection (2007, finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize)
  • The Anachronicles (2008)

Fiction[edit]

  • Bodyworks (1974)
  • God’s Eye (1981)
  • Coming to Grips with Lucy (1982)
  • A Bad Day to Be Winning (1984)
  • Paula Lake (1985)
  • Cage (1987,winner of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize)
  • The Listeners (1991)
  • Musical Dogs (1996)

Anthologies edited[edit]

  • Contemporary Poetry of British Columbia (1970, with J. Michael Yates and Andreas Schroeder)
  • Words From Inside: Prison Arts Foundation (1974, 1975)
  • Where Words Like Monarchs Fly: A Cross-generational Anthology of Mexican Poets in Translation (1998)
  • A Verse Map of Vancouver (2009)

Selected poems edited and translations[edit]

  • Jose Emilio Pacheco: Selected Poems (1987, winner of the F.R. Scott Prize for Translation)
  • Eyes to See Otherwise/Ojos de Otro by Homero Aridjis (2001, 2002, with Betty Aridjis)
  • Solar Poems/Poemas Solares by Homero Aridjis (City Lights, San Francisco, 2010)
  • Tiempo de angeles/Time of Angels by Homero Ardjis, Contributions by Francisco Toledo (City Lights, San Francisco, 2012)

See also[edit]

  • The Canadian Who’s Who
  • The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature 1997
  • The Concise Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature 2001

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brian Edwards, Daddy was a German Spy and other scandals (2008) 271 –276
  2. ^ Henri Cole, Interview with Seamus Heaney: “The Art of Poetry LXXV” The Paris Review 144 (Fall 1997): 92
  3. ^ George Woodcock, “The Magic of the Ordinary: Various Fictions of George McWhirter”, Canadian Fiction Magazine 89 (1994) 39 - 53
  4. ^ Under Another Sky: The Commonwealth Poetry Anthology ed. Alastair Niven (1987)12-13, 22-24

External links[edit]