Into the Glasgow. April Fool?

March 29, 2012

Reading at W.P.M. Glasgow

I’ve been invited to read at the ineffable W.P.M. in Glasgow. (That’s, Words Per Minute, for those not in the know…). I’ll be sharing a stage with fellow expert on late-80s SNL cast members, the American, Jarred McGinnes. There is also Elaine DiRollo and Michael Pederson. Anything else happinging on the 1st of April will be expertly guided by hosts Kirstin InnesKirsty Logan and Helen Sedgwick. There will be many surprises. American accents, booze, and trivia. And fools. Many many fools. Glasgow, I hope to see you there.

Sunday, 1 April — Words Per Minute — The Arches, Glasgow, 16.00, £5: I’ll be sharing a stage with fellow expert on late-80s SNL cast members, the American, Jarred McInnes. Hosted by Kirstin InnesKirsty Logan and Helen Sedgwick.

Have you heard?

March 28, 2012

Podcast is the Word

I have been woefully inadaquate in hyping the Scottish Poetry Library on my website. This is a shame because of the sheer breadth and scope of talent on display in these conversations and readings. We’ve got poets from New Zealand, Malta, America, the Scottish Isles and Britain. We talk nationalism with Donny O’Rourke, Occupy Wall Street with Matthew Zapreder, cynicism with Matthew Dickman, politics and small communities with Gabrielle Calvocoressi and life with Sarah Broom. I’ve learned something new with every interview and they provide food for thought and poems to inspire, sometimes advice. Thanks to all who sat patiently through my questions — I enjoyed every chat and hope you, dear listener, will too. Dip in and tell us what you think. Click on a name to hear the podcast and don’t forget to subscribe – for free – via Itunes or RSS. Ryan

Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Portrait of the poet Gabrielle Calvocoressi
Gabrielle Calvocoressi reads from and discusses poems from her collections The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart and Apocalyptic Swing.

Joseph Lease

Photograph of the poet Joseph Lease
San Francisco’s Joseph Lease talks about the Beats, the Renaissance, and his own poetry.

Literature Across Frontiers: Ian Stephen

Photograph of the poet Ian Stephen
We catch up with poet Ian Stephen from the Isle of Lewis.

Literature Across Frontiers: Adrian Grima

Portrait of the poet Adrian Grima
We chat with Maltese poet Adrian Grima.

Young Dawkins

We catch up with Young Dawkins, winner of the 2011 Scottish Slam Championship.

Alastair Cook and Ken Cockburn

The Road North poem in landscape
Collaborative projects involving poetry with other art forms provides the focus of this week’s episode.

Talking with Donny O’Rourke

Donny O'Rourke
Poet, musician, editor and broadcaster Donny O’Rourke talks about Scottish poetry, Scottish identity and Scottish nationalism with Ryan Van Winkle.

Ian Wedde

Ian Wedde
We chat with the New Zealand Poet Laureate Ian Wedde.

Holiday Season 2011: Syria, Lebanon and Scotland at Reel Festivals

Keeping it Reel
Highlights from a series of events centred around writers and artists from Lebanon, Syria and Scotland.

Colin Herd

Colin Hind
We chew the cud with poet, editor and critic Colin Herd.
Matthew Zapruder
We talk to poet and translator Matthew Zapruder.

Sarah Broom

Tigers at Awhitu
We catch up with poet Sarah Broom in Auckland to talk about her collection Tigers at Awhitu.

Durs Grünbein, Tom Petsinis & Krikri at StAnza

Our Ryan in Residence gets down to brass tacks with Durs Grünbein, Tom Petsinis and poetry troupe Krikri at StAnza 2011.

Matthew Dickman

Matthew Dickman
In a special episode from Flagstaff, Arizona, Ryan has a good old jaw with poet Matthew Dickman.

Reading at Axolotl Gallery

March 26, 2012

Poetry and Landscape with Angus Reid

Angus Reid is a painter, poet, film and theatre makerarchitectural criticcomposer and he has a stunning exhibit at Axolotl gallery on Dundas Street, Edinburgh. I’ll be reading some poems with Reid and Henry Marsh to celebrate the exhibit composed of six funky sonnets mirroring the six summits Reid walked  in the Pentlands — an emotional, evocative, windy, journey. When I was asked to read some poems along with him and Mash, I was happy to accept. The space is very beautiful, the poems good. Come, sit on the floor with us, have some wine, talk about the walk, the cold, the wind. Hope to see you there:


Thursday, 29 March — 19.00:  Journey: Poetry and Landscape with Angus Reid and Henry Marsh — Axolotl Gallery, 35 Dundas Street. We’ll be reading, walking in our minds, drinking, maybe singing, talking and – of course – enjoying the fantastic artwork in the gallery. This is the final show for Axolotl on Dundas, so do come and enjoy the space one more time. You’ll like it.


Henry Marsh was born in Broughty Ferry, Dundee in 1944.  He now lives in Midlothian.  His working life has been spent teaching English, with a bit of philosophy.  Henry began writing poetry in 2000 following the death of a friend, a Gaelic Bard, Donald MacDonald of South Lochboisdale.  Four collections of his work have been published to date: A First Sighting, A Turbulent Wake, The Guidman’s Daughter and The Hammer And The Fire.  He was invited to read at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2008.

Angus Reid is a writer, filmmaker and artist.  He has published three volumes of poetry, The Gift and White Medicine and the forthcoming Book of Days.  His plays include How to Kill, The Trouble with the Dead, Moon-Calf, Believer, Pri?e iz Bunara, Mundus et Infans and Kako Okrogla je Zemlja.  His films include How to Kill, Brotherly Love, The Ring, Bengal Bicycle Diary and the forthcoming Primary School Musical! His work has won many national and international awards, including ‘Best Central European Documentary Feature’ for The Ring, which has yet to be screened in the UK.  More information can be found at

Neu Reekie Reading – Old Friends

March 25, 2012

Ryan Goes Reekie

Friday, 30 March — Neu Reekie 15 — Scottish Book Trust, 19.00: join myself, Jenny Lindsay, a featured animator, Raffle of the Absurd, two pound drinks and house band Emelle for another round of Reekie fun. Also, it pleases me to be appearing with our old friend — Mr. Withered Hand. We’ll talk, read poems, sing. All of us, we will.

Poems / Review In Poetry New Zealand

March 15, 2012

Two New Poems, Far AwayPoetry NZ Issue 44

Poetry NZ is New Zealand’s foremost poetry magazine and it contains a lively mix of resident and international poets. I’m lucky to be amongst them and I urge you to check out the issue. They will gladly post it to you no matter where you live. So, you know, don’t be shy. In this issue I have a poems that address: cancer, David Lynch, suede, One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest, groins, and the ball droping in Times Square. The poems are called ‘Moths’ and ‘Untitled (Lynch)’ and I hope you’ll let them into your home the old-fashioned and courtly way.

Also, there is a nice review of my first collection. And I quote: ‘Tomorrow, We Will Live Here is a rich symbol of contemporary UK poetry.’ So, I guess you want to go buy my book now, don’t you? Go ahead. Just click here!

Poems in Poetry Scotland


Two Poems in Poetry Scotland

I’m very proud to have had my work appear in Poetry Scotland. It is a great and pioneering broadsheet poetry magazine and to appear in it is something special for me. I’ve been sending submissions in for some time as well as being a loyal subscriber. I’m in the Autumn and Summer 2011 issues and I hope you will support this independent publication by getting the issues or taking out a subscription. It is worth every penny of the very reasonable £5 a year. Check out Poetry Scotland here. Unfortunatly, you don’t get to read ‘Jobation’ or ‘You Wanted to See the Lighthouse’ or ‘Challenger (1986)’ without buying a copy. These issues also feature new work from Donald S. Murray, Nalini Paul, Elspeth Brown, Sheena Blackhall and Kenneth Steven amongst many fine others. Get a copy!

More Praise for Tomorrow

March 14, 2012

Praise for Tomorrow, We Will Live Here II: No Colon Needed


Turns out, if you write a book of poems, you can keep getting reviews for years. So, while my first collection was published by Salt in November, 2010 — people are still talking about it in 2012. Those people include — Poetry New Zealand who published an encouraging and short review (along with the revelation that my book costs $31.99 in NZ. Pssst, New Zealand, give me a call, I know a dude who can get it to you cheap.) Here’s what the poet and critic Siobhan Harvey said:

‘Poems in the book unite tender evocations of relationships with literary and academic notions of displacement. Always, there’s a ‘searching’ — for love, belonging, understanding — embedded in Van Winkle’s work which challenges the reader’s expectations….Tomorrow, We Will Live Here is a rich symbol of contemporary UK poetry.’

Those of you whom have already bought the book you are probably stroking your goatee, thinking, ‘Indeed, quite right.’ For those of you who haven’t gotten a copy yet. Mail me for a signed copy or visit the Salt shop. They’ll sort you out. Perhaps you need more convincing. Well, in this generous review from Scots Whay Hae my work is compared to Bruce Springsteen, Grant Wood, Robert Altman, Peter Bogdanovich, Lewis Grassic Gibbons, and Ted Hughes. Here’s my favourite bit of the review, but you can read the whole thing here.

‘this collection is an evocative, sensual, and at times cinematic journey through place and past.’

Then there was a couple of ultra flattering mentions in the latest issue of the Edinburgh Review. First, the respected poet and critic, Miriam Gamble, penned an excellent review which dug fully into the collection as few others have. I was surprised to find the collection held up (in Gamble’s eyes) under the scrutiny and, in fact, she articulated certain truths about the work that I’d never been able to. She does this with a generous eye for detail and a thoughtfulness which I found humbling. I very much want to quote the whole thing, but that would be ridiculous. Here’s some choice blurbs:

This is not a book for the faint-hearted. But neither ought it to be. Heaney has said there are two types of poem: one gives you the rosy glow of recognition, the other disorientates, annuls your set coordinates.Van Winkle’s poetry wears the garb of the former, but belongs in the latter category. He is not formally or stylistically experimental – while the poems are rarely in fixed forms, neither are they ‘avant-garde’ in the sense of being materially fragmented. They are, however, subversive, in that they tread where others fear to, and force the reader to admit complicity. It is not that the work inhabits ‘unfamiliar’ territory. Rather, it wallows in the dark and disregarded areas with which we strive to keep a silent truce.

I liked that this review has a warning, of sorts, in the beginning and Gamble returns to this notion throughout the review. Most forefully in the conclusion which made me feel more brave and courageous than I have any right to feel. In this section Gamble discusses my very short poem ‘The Day He Went to War’ which reads as follows:

The Day He Went to War

was bright, white and clean; an advertisement

for fresh laundry, lady things, or whatever.


we watched him from joe’s garage, our music clanging;

hub caps and tin cans thrown against cement.


we watched his mother watch the car

that took him, saw her wave at nothing,


then, we took it from the top:

one, two, a – one two three four

Here, Gamble breaks down the poem in a way that makes me blush. I’m proud the review examined the poem this way.

‘The Day He Went to War’, which manages,in eight lines, to capture an entire zeitgeist in relation to conflict. It does so,furthermore, with a touch that is dangerously light, resonant beyond mere poignancy, and profoundly, disturbingly accurate in its depiction of the place of war in contemporary society (no village gathering sending the boys offhere; no torrent, but an endless, invisible trickle). This poem – it cannotbe stated enough – is a huge risk: it breaks all the rules of engagement; itwholesale revises what a war poem can and ought to be in cultures where conflict is an industry, not an event. As with the rest of the poems, you may not like what it has to say. But that’s its greatest recommendation: we don’t live in an age when poetry should warm your heart.

Lastly, there was a positive review in the ER by Willy Maley on an anthology I was in — The Year of Open Doors (Cargo). My poem opens the short-fiction collection. I was proud to have it there at the time, as it welcomes readers into an excellent collection of new Scottish writing including many old friends and c0-workers. Here’s what Maley said of my work. I particularly like the Tom Leonard reference:

The opening piece by Ryan Van Winkle is no ripping yarn but a tripping verse. Those who concur with Tom Leonard’s barb about prose limping while poets leap will be pleased to hear that this is one of the strongest entrants: ‘Door, I have knocked, pushed/ licked and, for a year, stroked/your veins smooth as varnish’. This poem, with its wink at John Donne’sbesieged beseeching in Holy Sonnet XIV – ‘Batter my heart, three person’d God; for, you/ As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend’ – is theperfect welcome mat for the reader in the wake of Glass’s chatty intro. And the stories – poetic prejudices aside – don’t disappoint.

So, thanks to Maley, Gamble, Scots Whay Hae!, and Harvey for such positive encouragement. They say releasing a collection of poems is like dropping a rose petal into the grand canyon. While this may mostly ring true, it is heartening to know that some people have seen it fall. Thanks to all who took the time to review my work. You can purchase Tomorrow, We Will Live Here from Salt. You can find more reviews and links to the complete articles (where available) on the Reviews Page.



March 7, 2012

Ryan in Robinson — St. Andrew’s, 7/3/12

I’m excited to reprise my role in this great poetry / jazz project. I’ll be reading Brian Johnstone’s poem, music will be playing and I will be enjoying myself immensely. Join us in St: Andrews! Details below, tickets here. RVW

Richard Ingham and poet Brian Johnstone have been working together since 2007 when they formed, with bass player Louise Major, the poetry & jazz group Trio Verso whose performances have included the Big Tent Festival, Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre and the Ted Hughes Festival in Yorkshire.

2011 saw an altogether larger collaboration: a setting for 20 piece jazz orchestra of the narrative poem Robinson. The evening features a set from Trio Verso and a full performance of Robinson featuring soloists Colin Steele (trumpet) and John Kenny (trombone).

Expect an evening of “bizarre clarinet-play, blasphemous saxophony” and “dark primeval sonorities” in a “living tapestry of sound”.

Time(s) of Event: 7.30pm
Start Date: 07/03/2012 End Date: 07/03/2012
Ticket Prices: £9
Location of Event:AB Paterson Auditorium