Anachronicles, The

The Anachronicles, by George McWhirter

The Anachronicles

by George McWhirter


  • Spring 2008
  • ISBN 978-1-55380-054-5 (1-55380-054-0)
  • 6″ x 9″ Trade Paperback, 126 pages
  • Poetry

The Anachronicles is a collection of unusually rich poems that are both proto- and post-colonial. The title itself — melding the two words “anachronism” and “chronicle” — points to how the poems explore events and exchanges in one place from two points in time.

The place itself is La Audiencia Beach in Mexico. Instead of portraying history only from the present looking backwards, McWhirter also has the past looking forward to foresee and comment on what is to happen as a result of the early exploration. Here, Hernán Cortés and his Lieutenant-Conqueror of Colima, Sandoval, appraise the antics of Bo Derek and other stars as they make the movie 10 — on the same beach where four hundred years earlier their crews built three brigantines to explore what is now called the Sea of Cortez.

The verse-logs then follow explorer Don Caamaño and his successors up the Pacific Coast to where John McKay (aka Sean McKoy), an Irishman, was left to recuperate from a sickness among the Nootka/Nuu-chah-nulth on Vancouver Island. The final poem, “Hops,” retells the Irish legend of the goddess Liadan and the poet Cuirithir, whose voices travel to one another from Canada and Ireland. The dialogue travels from the end of the last millennium to the 1950s, highlighting their present-day divided Christian-pagan roles as mortal man and woman in holy orders.

“In The Anachronicles, with an ear alert to the music in words and the power of the decasyllabic line, George McWhirter uses his fertile imagination and firm grasp of Shakespearean blank verse to do what poetry must always do — make history strange. The result is a wonderfully crazy romp through then and now.”
— Gary Geddes

“No one other than George McWhirter could have conceived of such an inspired, wacky project — in which eras fold together and high and pop culture collide — and executed it with such verve. McWhirter’s inimitable imagination, dramatic flair, and dazzlingly rich vocabulary are here in full force. To read The Anachronicles is to be surprised from one line to the next by quick-witted brilliance, memorable imagery, and leaps from the sublime to the — perfectly — ridiculous.”
— Stephanie Bolster