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.


A Book Festival Reading

August 14, 2011

Saturday, 20 August – Reading with Rachael Boast & Will Eaves

The Edinburgh International Book Festival

Charlotte Square, 8.30-9.30pm, £7/5

It is a real honor to have been invited to read as part of this year’s main programme at the Edinburgh Book Festival. What is even more amazing is that I’ll be reading with our old friend (and nominee for the prestigious Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection) Rachel Boast and Will Eaves the Arts Editor of the Times Literary Supplement. So, thanks to the Book Festival for inviting me to be on such a strong bill and let’s all hope I don’t embarrass myself. I’ll be reading from ‘Tomorrow, We Will Live Here‘ which you can buy from Salt. Just click on that cover.


Tomorrow, We Will Live Here in Gutter

March 13, 2011

Review of ‘Tomorrow, We Will Live Here’ in Gutter Magazine.

Gutter, features new Scottish writing and has been an exciting magazine to read since its very first issue. Not only have they published my work but this issue features some of my great and excellent friends. In here you’ll find new work from  Kirstin Innes, Jason Donald, Rodge Glass, Anneliese Mackintosh, Dilys Rose, Colin Will, Jim Carruth, Brian Johnstone, Andy Jackson, Jane Flett, Brian Johnstone, Cynthia Rogerson, Andrew Philip, Nick Holdstock, Nalini Paul, Doug Johnstone, Pippa Goldschmidt, Ross McGregor, Alexander Hutchison, & Donald S Murray.

If you like new writing from Scotland  — you’ll love this issue!

There’s also a super lovely review of Kei Miller’s recent novel and book of poetry both of which I also recommend. If anyone out there is looking for a great book of poems which isn’t mine — go get Kei’s ‘A Light Song of Light.’

Also, while I encourage you to buy this action-packed issue of Gutter (lord knows, we have to support these things) here is a condensed excerpt:

The debut collection by the Scottish Poetry Library’s American-born Reader in Residence is nothing short of excellent. There is a small-town, downtrodden, careworn feel but as Van Winkle bumps the reader along the back roads of country America – and Scotland – his urgent narrative voices rapidly dispel any air of despondency. These are compelling, self-assured, driven poems that shine a longing, elegaic laserbeam at their subjects.

Like a Bill Callaghan lyric, the poems tackle the grave stuff of human existence – love, loss, lust, religion, dislocation (spiritual and topographical), guilt – with a tenderly sardonic, noir-ish humour. Subjects from road kill, a fat boy, through a pastor’s son, deceitful lovers on September 11th, to the rain-soaked wishes of a condemned man are each addresssed by narrators who are edgy, uncomfortable and acutely aware of their failings.

It is hard to determine exactly how Van Winkle’s poems do their work, but they burrow into the reader’s skin like a mite to leave a persistent itch in the memory. The language is clean: WC Williams’ ‘plain American that cats and dogs can read’, but with syntax that is at times polysyndetic and mesmerising: as if a character out of Faulker, Twain or Cormac McCarthy character has stepped off the page to charm, disarm and then shock the reader …. This is a rich, incandescent book to keep at your bedside for dark winter nights.

You can buy ‘Tomorrow, We Will Live Here’ from Salt Publishing.

And get your copy of Gutter from their website.

You’ll find more reviews on my ‘reviews page‘.


February 20, 2011


Sometimes I get recorded and put on the internets. So, for those of you interested in hearing me either a) talk about myself or b) reading my poems please see below.



Tomorrow, We Will Live Here

Book Preview

by Ericka Duffy


Ericka Duffy put together this little pre-book launch video for my collection ‘Tomorrow, We Will Live Here.’ It is filmed at the lovely Sip N’ Snip hair saloon and Massage Corner during a massive party at Forest. It was awkward. I drank my way through it.

Ryan Van Winkle at Sip N’ Snip Video



Interview at Phoenix Arts Club, November 2010

by Lee Smith


Lee, my editor at Salt Publishing, interviewed me before the the launch of my first book. It was lovely to have my friends around and special thanks to Mikey Krumins for the tequila!

Ryan Van Winkle Book Launch



Highlights of Salt Launch, November 2010, London

by Lee Smith


My book launched along-side the other Crashaw Prize winners: Andrew Pidoux, Nick Potamitis, Susannah Rickards, Jonty Tiplady, and Anna Woodford. We all performed to a packed room of appreciative guests. It was such a relaxed and inviting event, and the perfect way to launch these stunning debut collections.You can learn more about the other wondrous wizards as well as find information about the Crashaw Prize on Salt’s website.

Ryan Van Winkle and Crashaw Prize Winners 2010




* the Poems, Read the Poems on ‘How Pedestrian

‘How Pedestrian’ is a vibrant and unique poetic resource featuring random people in random places reading poems. I was flattered that Katherine Leyton chose to celebrate the release of my first ever collection of poems (Tomorrow, We Will Live Here) by featuring strangers reading my poems. For those of you who haven’t bought the book, you can read and hear samples of my work and, if you dig it, please consider buying a copy here.

For the sake of laziness the videos are all below but definitely check out the How Pedestrian site. It is a great way to introduce yourself to very high quality contemporary poetry. I cannot recommend it enough! Thanks Leyton!





Here are my videos (links will get you to a page where you can read the poems as well).


“Babel” can be found in Ryan Van Winkle‘s collection Tomorrow, We Will Live Here.

Ryan Van Winkle – Babel – NYC





Columbia University. In the middle of the night. On a brutally cold evening in December. I love this video.

“Necessary Astronomy” can be found in Ryan Van Winkle‘s collection Tomorrow, We Will Live Here.

Ryan Van Winkle – Necessary Astronomy – NYC





In New York and featuring poems from Tomorrow, We Will Live Here, the new collection from Conneticut-born poet Ryan Van Winkle. This reading was shot at International House in Manhatten. Do any of you recognize the music?

Ryan Van Winkle – The Day He Went to War – NYC




I can’t seem to make the video work for below. But you can see me read if you follow the link…

Ryan Van Winkle – The Apartment – Istanbul





In this video, Ryan reads “My 100-Hundred-Year-Old-Ghost” while on tour with The Golden Hour in London. A big thanks to Ericka Duffy for shooting the video.

Ryan Van Winkle – My 100-Year-Old Ghost – London





Word Express with Literature Across Frontiers

I’ve been very lucky to travel, translate and perform with the good people of Word Express who promote international collaboration and understanding via literature. It is a great organization with a vibrant website filled with other excellent international writers. If you don’t believe me, check the site. Below, you’ll find some videos of me reading in Istanbul. I can’t seem to make Vimeo work on this site so you’ll have to click along to see the videos where you’ll also see the text of the poems.



Darkness on the Edge of Toast

from Literature Across Frontiers



The Apartment

from Literature Across Frontiers




Stir the Soup With Uncle Beasley


It was a special treat to be invited to play at  Fence Collective’s Home Game. I got to tell a dirty story about Christoper Walken and read a poem with a pretty awesome band.

Ryan Van Winkle with Uncle Beasley – ‘Stir the Soup’



Cartoons with Dan Meth

Dan Meth and I made a ridiculous cartoon about a ram named George who runs a talent company which brings terrible comics to inappropriate places. These cartoons, are perhaps, the thing I’m most proud of creating in my life.

Episode One

In which George coins a new phrase and a Giant Paying Mantis kills at a nursing home.


Dan Meth – Cavalcade of Laffs Episode 1



Episode Two

In which George brings comedy to the skies.


Dan Meth – Cavalcade of Laffs Episode 2

Tomorrow, We Podcast Here…

December 8, 2010

Ryan Van Winkle Audio Book Launch

It has been oddly embarrassing to have my own book released by Salt Publishing. The book (Tomorrow, We Will Live Here) won Salt’s 2009 Crashaw prize and is available in the UK and US. Colin Fraser, the man behind all these podcasts, thought it would be nice to do a little podcast in celebration. So, here we have it. A virtual book launch. For anyone who missed the events at Blackwells or down in London. Which, I suppose, is a lot of people. I hope you enjoy the podcast and, if you want, please buy my book. You can find it here — on the Salt Site for a reasonable price. Max, I apologize for the hype. x

Ryan Van Winkle by Ericka Duffy

Presenter Ryan Van Winkle turns the spotlight on himself for a change and recreates the reading he gave in Edinburgh this week for the launch of his first book, Tomorrow, We Will Live Here. Includes themes and language of an adult nature. Produced by Colin Fraser of Anon Poetry Magazine. Music by Ewen Maclean. Twitter: @byleaveswelive & @anonpoetry. Mail:

Subscribe with ITunes

Or subscribe without iTunes (RSS)Listen now…

Or download as MP3.

First published Saturday 20 November, 2010

About Ryan Van Winkle

Ryan Van Winkle Ryan Van Winkle is Reader in Residence at the Scottish Poetry Library. He runs a monthly literary cabaret called The Golden Hour and is an Editor at Forest Publications. He lives in Edinburgh but was born and spent most of his life in America. His work has appeared in New Writing Scotland, The American Poetry Review, AGNI, Northwords Now and The Oxford Poet series. He has won Salt’s Crashaw Prize and been shortlisted for the Bridport and Ver Poetry Prizes.

Whew! What a Tour!!!!

December 2, 2010

Virtual Book Tour Round-Up!

In support of my first collection of poems — Tomorrow, We Will Live Here — I embarked on a ‘Virtual Book Tour’ visiting blogs all over the world. Well, mostly in English speaking countries. I talked waaaaaay too much in these blogs so I’m going to say very little here. You can follow the links below to find fodder for why you should hate me OR just Buy The Book. It will make a wonderfully ironic Christmas present. Thanks to everyone who let me appear on their space. Thanks for the great questions and for the kind indulgence!

12 November:

Ryan discussed his dream poet/musician collaboration, amongst other things, whilst preparing to read at the Crashaw Prize launch at the Phoenix Artist Club  watch the video

14 November: Our sweet old etcetera…

What to your ear and eye is the finest poem ever written?

That is a totally insane question. The finest poem ever written is …   read more

16 November: Global Poetry System:

One of the pieces you’ve uploaded to GPS shows an extract from Wendell Berry’s poem “How to be a poet”. Why does this poem resonate with you?

Berry reminds himself of the simple things. Like …  read more

18 November: Rob A. Mackenzie’s Surroundings blog

‘I’ and ‘we’ feature in many of your poems. Would you class yourself as a confessional poet? Or at least in the general line of Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, and Sharon Olds?

No, I don’t think I would, though I at times… read more

20 November: Robin Grey

When did the words start?

Grey, I like that question, it is something I don’t think about often enough. The words started when …   read more

24 November: Scottish Book Trust

What book do you wish you had written?

There are many. Recently, I wished I wrote … read more

26 November: Flotsam

How do you feel about the ‘homes’ of your poems? And are your poems an instrument of creating/ destroying places?

Home, an excellent starting point! I think the end of that poem is…   read more

28 November: Molossus

Most underrated living poet?

All poets are underrated, don’t you think? … read more

30 November: Dan Meth

DAN: Do you find it liberating to purge the melancholia into your work?

RYAN: Meth, as you know, I am happiest when I am most uncomfortable. This is why we went to a guerilla saloon in Kelv, visited the worst town in Mexico and why we laughed so much while hitchhiking through the desert at night while being followed by rabid wolves. Other people would want to be poolside. Other people would go to a Greek island. But “we pursue the darkness and there we find the light of joy.” – Zemeckis, (1988)

Cartoons Feature in this ONE! YES

Tomorrow, We Will Live Here can be bought from our online store for £7.99 with FREE shipping.