Ryan gets a Return Flight to Melbourne

May 8, 2017

On Wednesday 10 May my poem will be in Melbourne for the launch of Return Flight, a cross-continental exhibition, publication and creative exchange between artists and writers in Melbourne and Edinburgh. The show kicks off at 6pm local time. I won’t be there but Tony Birch, Matto Lucas, Chloe Wilson, Robert Skinner, Roz Bellamy and Aimee Fairman will be.

Enjoy a dram in the Fed Square Atrium to celebrate the launch of RETURN FLIGHT: a cross-continental exhibition, publication and creative exchange between artists and writers in Melbourne and Edinburgh.

– Free entry.
– An easy $15 gets you a copy of RETURN FLIGHT MEL>EDI hot off the press, featuring new art and words from the likes of Tony Birch, Matto Lucas, Chloe Wilson, Ryan Van Winkle, Robert Skinner, Roz Bellamy and Aimee Fairman.
– Whisky tastings thanks to Glenfiddich, who are also celebrating the opening of entries for their 2018 Artists in Residence Prize (winning artists get to work and live for three months at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Scotland).
– $7 whisky cocktails.

May 10-21: Federation Square Atrium, Melbourne
June 9-23: The Number Shop – Studios and Gallery, Edinburgh

Artists are often asked to illustrate writing. In RETURN FLIGHT, the process is reversed. We asked ten artists to respond to the idea of ‘place’, before assigning each work to a writer from the opposite city. The writers could respond however they liked, but without the luxury of context: both artwork and artist names were withheld until the end.

The result? A series of compelling and surprising works that suggest our global creative community is tighter than we think.

Roz Bellamy << Molly McEwan
Tony Birch << Alessandro Di Massimo
Aimee Fairman >> Katherine McMahon
Madison Griffiths << Flo Gordon
Phoebe Hearps >> Nick Holdstock
Matto Lucas >> Harry Giles
Mardi Nowak >> Jenny Lindsay
Robert Skinner << Lewis Matheson
Mitch Walder >> Ryan Van Winkle
Chloe Wilson << Natasha Russell
Jane Flett <> Devika Bilimoria


Federation Square is a wheelchair-accessible venue. If you have any particular access requirements let us know – we want you there.


Commiserate — April 2017 — Dave Coates

April 27, 2017

On not being asked by anyone

Dave Coates & Ryan Van Winkle

On not being asked by anyone



sunset breathing fire
dangerous toxin levels
in the atmosphere

oh snowflake, embrace
the 19th century, feel

how nice it was, how nice

and it must be nice
to accept god’s silence

to grab what is yours
right off the shelf

amber boxes of grain
land of pilgrim’s pride
sorry, this soup
tastes of corpses

you have not emerged
as a significant




Moloch, what do you say to the colours on the street
Will they sing their purple songs till their faces are blue

Do you want to make a bet, Moloch, did we win
are we winning, Moloch! Losers! Haters! Poison!

Greased coins slip from our fingers! Moloch! Them women
ain’t going quiet!  It’s them Russians, them big bears, Moloch
you can wrestle. Moloch! Not weak! Not low energy!

Sad! It’s Sad!

Children wash up on sand. Chi-na children.
Syrian children. Are you scared of the beach, Moloch?




EU academics should
make preparations to leave,

we found three earth-like planets,
it is warm for february,

it is warm for mittens, for wooly hats,
for sheep in the meadows, for suckers.

My shoes need laces, they say
pull up your pants, wear a belt.

The world is elderly, the world has been elderly
since before you were born, my dear.

I hardly recognise you. That shirt, that colour
doesn’t suit you, I no longer trust your mustache.

This isn’t talking. This isn’t saying.
This is a fact. This is opinion.

Don’t call me sucker.




sorry, i’m trying to stay
professional here, i know
there are children watching

sorry, this is traditional
sorry all this has a
grim familiarity




we are living. we aren’t doing much. we were all sitting around.
a pack of poets finishing the black wine, dipping bread
into squid ink. and, of course, somebody says Syria,
and of course someone has an opinion. you see, we’ve thought
about this. we are sensitive and international. we know the news
from all points of the compass. we are whalers. we are at sea
for months at a time.

we are in serbia but the serbs are not talking about war.
but the dane is describing sleeping churches.
but the spaniard is articulating an algorithm – saying capacity capacity capacity
but the romanian sees refugee children with new schoolbags
but the american stays quiet because she is stoned. she went
out to the bay and watched lights twinkle on ripples.
but the greek breaks and reminds us there are bodies
washing up on the shore and the young boys in service
have to pull them out, line them up, count them
every day there are more numbers

so someone says ‘what can we do?’ as if there was a hotline.
nobody says ‘we should write a poem’. nobody says
we should just go on living. somebody says we should finish
this bottle and then get some sleep. someone says we
should finish this bottle, have a shot of schnapps
and then see where the night takes us. because we
are alive and this is what the living do.




the clock doesn’t care
nor does the television
nor the talking heads

my life is a sofa, a love seat, a bed.

i read newsweek, i read time
counting up the names like mine
there are so many

i’m on a panel
i say some uncomfy things
i will not make friends

that is the best part – rowing the boat away

i will not make friends with you




The ruins proclaim
our building was beautiful.

There were oranges.

Fact explains nothing.
2 + 2 = who gives a shit

where’s my phone?
have you seen my phone?

i remember standing with her
until he got bored and walked away

i remember the clerk saying
I would prefer not to

i remember i was carrying
a box of cereal
my favourite

the sky was red i had
a few minutes before work

i would prefer not to

Ryan reads with Latvian poets at Hay Festival

April 5, 2017

On Tuesday 30 May I’ll be reading alongside Welsh poets Alys Conran and Rhys Trimble, and Latvian poets Valts Ernštreits and Inga Gaile at the Hay Festival. Tickets are £6.30 and we’ll be toasting with some regional specialties.



Event 253Venue: Compass

Leading lights from Latvia’s vibrant poetry scene join contemporaries from Scotland and Wales for a rich reading in three languages. The award-winning poets will share newly translated poems, collaborations and experiments in a special event which reflects their friendship and celebrates the role art plays in building bridges between cultures.

Toasted with Latvian Riga Balsams and Welsh Whisky.
Price: £6.30

Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets for this event prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here, or join our mailing list.

Ryan is Reading and Workshopping in Berlin

April 4, 2017


I’ll be reading at the Circus Hostel Cellar Bar and Library, Weinbergsweg 1A, Berlin, at 7pm, Thursday 4 May.

Please RSVP by sending a message here on FB or to



I’m running weekend-long workshop at KLAK Verlag, all day Saturday 6 and Sunday 7. There are a maximum of 16 spots, and you can book your place by emailing

Ryan produces Intezaar / The Wait in Pakistan

April 3, 2017

I will be producing Intezaar The Wait in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad from April 6-11, in association with Justice Project Pakistan, Ajoka Theatre Pakistan, Complicite Creative Learning and Highlight Arts.

It is an interactive theatre piece bringing you stories straight from Pakistan’s prisons in an honest, heartfelt account of real inmates on death row.

6 April — 17.00

FCC – Forman Christian College, Lahore

This event is not ticketed, but please RSVP by contacting us via the details on the poster. Your name can be registered with the college which is necessary for your entrance on campus.

10 April — 17.00

National College of Arts (NCA),  Rawalpindi

11 April — 18.30

Government College,Faisalabad

Details for 10 & 11 April coming soon. 

Ryan is Live at Jupiter Artland

March 3, 2017

On Thursday 27 July I’ll be at the Jupiter Artland hosting an evening of performance poetry. We’ll be exploring the grounds and taking in the art and words. Hope to see you there.

Join Saltire Prize-winning poet and curator Ryan Van Winkle for an engaging evening of poetry on a walkabout reading. Inspired by Jupiter Artland’s unique grounds and contemporary art, the Scottish Poetry Library and Jupiter Artland are showcasing the work of this original Scotland-based writer in a special, site-specific event.

Kindly supported by the Scottish Poetry Library.

Tickets are £12 (£10.80 for members). Thursday 27 July, 7-8.30pm.

Ryan is videoed at the International Nilüfer Poetry Festival, Turkey

February 26, 2017

Here is a video interview from Turkey, where I’ve been at the International Nilüfer Poetry Festival.

Ryan profiled in 50GS Magazine

February 25, 2017

I’ve been profiled in the first edition of 50GS Magazine, a new digital literary journal of poetry, prose, innovative and cross-genre texts. My interviewers are Celia Wilding and Grace Hiu-Yan Wong, and you can read the whole edition on the 50GS website.

Ryan make Poetry Connections

February 21, 2017

On Thursday 16 March I’ll join seven poets – Nicky Arscott, Nia Davies, Madara Gruntmane, Semyon Khanin, Artis Ostups, Eurig Salisbury and Arvis Viguls – for Poetry Connections, a multilingual evening of poetry at Rich Mix London.

Leading lights from Latvia’s vibrant poetry scene join contemporaries from Scotland and Wales for a unique reading in four languages. These award-winning poets will share newly translated poems, collaborations and experiments in a special event which reflects their friendship and celebrates the role art plays in building bridges between cultures.
With Nicky Arscott – Nia Davies – Madara Gruntmane – Semyon Khanin – Artis Ostups – Eurig Salisbury – Arvis Viguls – Ryan Van Winkle

Ryan hosts a Translation Showcase at StAnza 2017

February 7, 2017

At this year’s StAnza International Poetry Festival I’ll be working alongside Anglophone poets Vicki Feaver and Tessa Berring and Francophone poets Michel Cassir and Aurélia Lassaque throughout the festival to create an entirely new poetic work. The finished product will be performed at 1pm on Saturday 4 March, Council Chambers in the Town Hall. Tickets are £4/£3. Hope to see you there.

Listen to new poetry in different languages as part of this year’s focus on French-language.

Throughout the week of StAnza 2017 Vicki Feaver and Tessa Berring will be working together with two francophone poets, Michel Cassir and Aurélia Lassaque, completing a collaborative residency in St Andrews, to create new work and translate each others’ poetry. Join us for a multilingual performance hosted by Ryan Van Winkle as they present the results of the residency: poetry doesn’t come fresher than this!

A joint event between StAnza, the Scottish Poetry Library and Literature Across Frontiers as part of the Literary Europe Live project supported by Creative Europe.


4 March 2017 – 1:00pm2:00pm


Council Chambers in the Town Hall, Queens Gardens, St. Andrews