Ryan is a Viewmaster

August 10, 2013

From Friday 16 – Monday 18 August I’ll be back collaborating with Dan Gorman on our Viewmaster project right at the start of the Forest Fringe, which this year is operating out of the Blue Drill Hall, 30-38 Dalmeny St, Edinburgh.

Viewmaster with Dan Gorman

A personal slide-show for your eyes and ears only. You choose the journey and Ryan Van Winkle will bring you on a sometimes surprising, sometime surreal, tour accompanied by the ambient soundtrack of Dan Gorman. Performances are under 10 minutes. A rare chance to travel, listen and pause in one small space.

What: Viewmaster

Where: Blue Drill Hall, 30-38 Dalmeny St, Edinburgh, EH6 8RG.

When: Friday 16-Monday 19 August, 11am-1pm & 3.45-5.30pm

Ryan is in the B O D Y

July 25, 2013

My poem “Window, Not Sky” was published last week in the online journal B O D YFair warning: it involves adult themes. Be sure to check out some of the other great writers while you’re there.

Commiserate IV: Katherine Leyton

April 8, 2013

Commiserate is a monthly experiment in poetic collaboration.

April, 2013: Katherine Leyton


notes to a husband


When I feed the ducks
my hard heels of bread

I hate how the black-
necked geese often do not care

for my crumbs.
That’s not really news

but it’s what I care
to report.


The bed is cold ground
when you’re gone

my obsessions sweat
through the sheets
and I blink
at the ceiling

as it lowers itself.
In the morning
I think about our kitchen window–
the time a sparrow collided with our reflection

we’d been eating toast
hands gripping mugs
everything like any day.


When I swim
I know only swimming

this water remembers my body

you will come back and say
I’ve memorized every inch of you

but your hands will feel cool
strange and I will shudder the first time

your mouth moves for my skin.


My bookshelves prove
I will keep expanding
like a universe, unchecked


When you are here
and sitting still
I make you read to me

I lay my head in your lap
and you get nervous:
“She gave him his eyes, she found them
Among some rubble, among some beetles.”

You stumble
and I reach up and put my hand
to your neck.


I don’t know whether to answer the telephone
or the emails or the door. I am too drunk

to eat fish. Windows or not,
your eyes are broken

and we have conversations
in my head like a television

on somewhere,
letters I don’t send.


Your job is to be forgotten
but present. A rattling

glass eye or some trashy
romance novel I never read

but refuse to throw away.


Call me.
Call me and don’t say anything.
Call me and pray.
Call me and talk for the dead.

I will call you.
I will call you when my legs open wider.
I will call you when yolk sticks on the plate.
I will call you when night wakes me.

Call me when you buy carrots / when you feel like a run / it is raining / the bus is late /
you stop to help an old woman up the stairs/ I will call you

when i notice the moon again / when i rinse out the bottles / before the trash / must go out / call and there are no answers / no endings / i will call you when i remember
what it is / i entered / the kitchen for

Katherine says: I’m a bit of a fascist when it comes to my poetry, so I’ll admit I found this exercise very frustrating at first, especially since Ryan took the lead on it and decided both the context and the opening stanza.

Here, Ryan says, go anywhere you want, but only in this room. Or, in this case, be anyone you want, but only in the confines of this marriage.

In the end, of course, constraints are wonderful things because they challenge you to go places in your writing you normally wouldn’t.

And working with Ryan is exciting: what I like about his work is that it explodes in these unexpected places into deep grooves and melodies that I really want to get into, be a part of, and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to do that. I’m really glad he asked me to participate in this project.

Ryan says: Originally from Canada, I’ve known Katherine since her days of study in Edinburgh. Her mature, considered, (occasionally angry) voice and rare concern for The Poem struck me from our very first workshop together and, indeed, my first collection remains indebted to her eyes.

Since then she’s been at work on her craft and it has been my privilege to read her poems as often as she cares to send them along. Having just read her recently finished first manuscript, I remain excited about the future.

Katherine’s poems have appeared in places like The Malahat ReviewThe Edinburgh Review, and Room. She was also the founder one of the more exciting poetry projects I’ve seen in a long time — How Pedestrian. Without any funding or sponsorship, Katherine took poetry to the streets and got random people in random places to read poems aloud. You’ll want to dip into the project. But, first, have a read of our poem which was loosely inspired by a Tomaz Salumn poem which might have been called ‘Notes to My Wife’ (though, I’m not 100% positive) but was definitely in ‘A Ballad for Metka Krasovec‘.

Read More From Commiserate 2013

Ryan in Where Rockets Burn Through

November 16, 2012

Really excited to have work published in Where Rockets Burn Through a super-cool anthology of science fiction poems edited by your friend and mine Mr Russell Jones, who has assembled a stellar cast of writers from across the UK. The poets involved are too numerous and blindingly brilliant to list on these pages, but as luck would have it you can check them all out at the Penned in the Margins store.

Blasting into the future, across alien worlds and distant galaxies, fantastic technologies and potential threats to humanity, Where Rockets Burn Through brings science fiction and poetry together in one explosive, genre-busting collection. Climb aboard, strap in and fire up the photon cannon.

Penned in the Margins is a great independent publisher that organises literary events in London’s East End.  Please support them by getting a copy of this killer collection of sci fi verse.

‘You Wanted to See the Lighthouse’ in Estuary

November 13, 2012

I recently had the pleasure of having a poem included in the art/poetry collaboration Estuary: A Confluence of Art & Poetry, in which “You Wanted to See the Lighthouse” is paired up with a couple of evocative images made by Arab-American artist Ilham Badreddine Mahfouz. You can read the poem and view one of Ilham’s paintings in all its high-rez glory here.

This was a really cool project to be involved in, and the end result, published by Moon and Mountain, is mighty pretty. If you got a pocketful of clams and a hankering for an art object, you can pick it up at their store. It makes a beautiful present — or just a gift for yourself!

Thanks to all the fine artists and poets involved in the collaboration.

Poem on the Istanbul Review

July 17, 2012

The Istanbul Review

Read ‘Untitled (Howe)’ online

in the Istanbul Review

I was very happy to have my poem chosen as ‘Poem of the Month’ for the Istanbul Review. Aside from reminding me of They Might Be Giants, the Istanbul Review is a fine supporter of emerging artists and writers and is one of those necessary magazines which we should all be thankful for.


The poem – Untitled – (but with a quote from Marie Howe) is one of those strange poems which burst out. I like the sea, I like looking at it, I like writing about it, and yes – I too think it is a useless teacher – and an exhausted metaphor. Yet, here we are again. Another poem about the sea. Soon, another song about the rain.  Enjoy the poem here (and remember to check out the rest of the magazine.)



Ryan on LushTV

July 16, 2012

Balls Howled on LushTV


In July I attended Lush Fest. A gathering of employees and friends of the greatest smelling company in the world. It was also one of the best-smelling, if not wettest festivals I’d even attended. However, despite only having a pair of flip-flops for footware, I and everyone there, had a great time. Here’s a glimpse of my poetry reading. A little collage poem from the day’s headlines. Some worked better than others as “poetry” but everybody had a good time and no one got hurt.





‘Lung Jazz’: Young British Poets for Oxfam

May 20, 2012

Northern Launch in Manchester — 30, May, 2011


I am pleased to say I have a new poem in ‘Lung Jazz’: Young British Poets for Oxfam‘ edited by Todd Swift and Kim Lockwood. It features friends and heroes like: Owen Sheers, Sophie Hannah, Clare Pollard, Joanne Limburg, Rowyda Amin, Stefan Mohamed and Zoe Brigley. With a foreword by David Lehman. I’ve not seen a copy yet but I like the names in it and all the money goes to a good cause so that should make us all feel good. Buy a copy from Cinnamon Press here.

Also, I’ll be appearing at the Northern Launch in Manchester. Please come. And tell people on the Face Waste about it


Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 19:00 — Launch of Lung Jazz’: Young British Poets for Oxfam —  International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester — Readers will include: Andrew OldhamEvan JonesClaire TrévienLindsey Holland, Todd Swift, Michael Egan, Victoria Smith, Paul AdrianJohn ChallisJohn CleggCath Nichols, Ryan Van Winkle, Martha SpracklandSarah CorbettEileen Pun and Tom Weir.

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!