Nance Van Winckel
No Starling (University of Washington Press, 2007) is Nance Van Winckel's fifth book of poetry. The others are Bad Girl, with Hawk (U. of Illinois Press, 1987), The Dirt (Miami U. Press, 1994), After A Spell (Miami U. Press, 1998), which received the Washington State Governor's Award for Poetry, and Beside Ourselves (Miami U. Press, 2003).
She's received two National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowships, a Pushcart Prize, Poetry Magazine's Friends of Literature Award, two Washington State Artist Trust Awards, The Midland Authors Award, and awards from the Poetry Society of America. Her poems have appeared recently in Poetry, The American Poetry Review, the 2006 Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Gettysburg Review, Field, Volt, The Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Ploughshares.
She's also published three books of short stories, most recently Curtain Creek Farm (Persea Books, 2000). Quake (U. of Missouri Press, 1998) received the 1998 Paterson Fiction Prize. Limited Lifetime Warranty appeared with the U. of Missouri Press in 1994. New stories appear in The Georgia Review, Colorado Review, The Kenyon Review, Massachusetts Review, and AGNI. Nance received a Christopher Isherwood Fiction Fellowship for 2005 for a work in progress.
She was the Stadler Poet in Residence at Bucknell University in the spring term of 2009 and will be on leave for the academic year 2009-10.
Visit Nance's website at nancevanwinckel.com.
As a kid I wrote rhyming poems; later I played the guitar and wrote agonizingly sad (and bad) ballads. I wrote in the woods. I hid poems in tree stumps. Poetry was my refuge in an ever-swelling sea of strangers. The first “real” poets I loved were the Beats, then Whitman, followed by James Dickey, Sylvia Plath, Wallace Stevens, and in the last dozen years I've had an abiding interest in European poets, e.g. Tomas Transtromer, Georg Trakl, Jean Follain, and Ingaborg Bachmann. For me, poetry is a bridge into and out of the world. It validates and helps to articulate the inner life, the world of the spirit, and so much that is in us that unites us to others via the inter-“play” of our kindred imaginations. I work closely with students to help them discover what is most distinctive, original, and compelling about their writing—both in style and subject matter. I try to articulate these strengths and to get students to do the same. I steer them toward other writers who may offer insights or open further doors. The aim then, as I see it is, to find what one does well and then do that even better: harder, deeper, and with the utmost intensity. I love the challenge and the joy of this work.
I've been teaching in EWU's MFA Program since 1990 and served as program director from 1992-96. One thing I often hear from our alums is how welcomed they felt in our program. Students say about us, and I completely agree, that we are not a place where certain styles or “schools” of writing are promoted over others. In our program we just don't see any of that back-biting competitiveness that one hears about in so many graduate programs. We are a place where individuality is respected. The faculty and students cheer on each other's successes. Also, our students come here from all over the U.S. and once here, they forge a wonderful community. I Friendships are quickly formed; there's a genuine camaraderie and the pure joy of spending time with kindred spirits who share a love of literary process and product.