Today's poetry for today's world

Nance Van Winckel


Nance Van Winckel's fifth collection of poems is

No Starling (2007, University of Washington Press).  Her other books of poetry are Beside Ourselves (Miami University Press, 2003), The Dirt (Miami U. Press, 1994), After a Spell (Miami U. Press, 1998), which received the Washington State Governor's Award for Poetry, and Bad Girl, with Hawk (U. of Illinois Press, 1987).  The recipient of two NEA Poetry Fellowships and awards from the Poetry Society of America, Poetry, and Prairie Schooner, Van Winckel is also the author of three collections of short fiction.  She lives just outside Spokane, Washington, and teaches in the MFA Writing programs at Eastern Washington University and Vermont College of Fine Arts.






Click on any book cover to buy Nance Van Winckel's books. 








A seed of one thing confronts another

in the dark.  Shameless date-stamped voices.  

Fake-outs of studious poses.  A light

snaps on—the plink of Daylight Savings.  

I arrive to caress the dusty choices.


Hatchery of this for then and that for now.  

On the package of Moon Flakes: the Sea

of Tranquility.  Jugs, jars—balls to bat  

toward the belly of infinity.  Tap.  Sniff.

My hand, the breaker of seals, bears down.


From so-forth and so on, the hand withdraws  

as behind my back the numbers multiply.







placebo poem




Cull the cure from the old

            hands—ghosts only good

                        at the long hand.


Psoriasis, restless leg, limp prick—

            it’s okay

                        to double the dose,

even feeling quite

            the same, bearing an ulcer

                        out of the great hall.


Nothing comes to you.  Only

            to your address.

                        Triple the dose.

 Clearly your teethmarks were

            those on the tamper-proof

                        cap.  Here, in the larder,

so easy to acquiesce to these

            bright jars and vainly

                        elegant tercets.











The murders, the heists,

            the rapidly heaving breasts

                        reel up behind me.


An actor I’ve casually loved

            for an hour

                        opens one eye


and I stare into the moment

            that’s a stand-in

                        for a lifetime.


With what sweet abandon

            he’s leaving himself


even as I re-enter

            at point-blank range


the tundra terrain

            of the body.




Writer's Tip: Write what you almost, or are about to, know.