Ryan’s poems make a Return Flight to Edinburgh

June 8, 2017

My work will be featured this Friday night at the Number Shop – Studios and Gallery. Doors open at 7pm, close late, with a bar run by Edinbrew.

The Number Shop – Studios and Gallery is proud to present RETURN FLIGHT: a cross-continental exhibition, publication and creative exchange between artists and writers in Edinburgh and Melbourne.

~~~ Opening FRIDAY 9th JUNE 7pm – late ~~~
Local heroes Edinbrew will be running a bar on the opening night and we will be selling copies of the project publication also.
Open 10th – 23rd June. 12-5pm daily. Open until 8pm on 23rd.


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


– RETURN FLIGHT MEL-EDI publication is hot off the press, featuring new art and words from the likes of Natasha Russell, Alessandro Di Massimo, Flo Gordon, Molly McEwan and Lewis Matheson.

– The Number Shop is a wheelchair-accessible venue, please find our further accessibility details on Euan’s Guide. If you have any particular access requirements let us know – we want you there.


Latvians and Brits Translate Each Other’s Poems

December 9, 2016

From 7th until 12th September, an international Poetry Translation Workshop was held in Riga. Eight poets from Latvia and Britain translated each other’s works during the workshop, and the project was concluded with a public poetry reading in the cosy book café “NicePlace Mansards”.

Latvia was represented in the workshop by Inga Gaile, Anna Auziņa, Krišjānis Zeļģis, Valts Ernštreits and US-born literary agent and translator from Latvia, Jayde Will, whereas poets Ryan van Winkle, Alys Conran, and Rhys Trimble were the participants from the UK.

It was the first time such a translation workshop was held in Latvia. The project was a part of the process preparing Latvia for the London Book Fair 2018 where Latvia, along with its Baltic neighbours, is going to be the Market Focus. “The long-term goal of this project is to generate mutual interest among poets, promote collaboration between them, as well as create professional translations of poems to be performed in venues in the UK,” explained the project manager Inga Bodnarjuka-Mrazauska.

Let’s see how it went and what the participants thought about this experience:

Valts Ernštreits, Latvia

“These five days in September was an opportunity to do something unusual, to try my hand at working with languages and forms of poetry that I don’t even get to encounter every day, and to do it in a relaxed yet productive way. There was always a chance to inquire, clear up, pinpoint, and along with the answers get to know something new about other participants of the workshop, other lands, ways of life, and about oneself as well. There was a kind of a lively festival feel to it.”

Krišjānis Zeļģis, Latvia

“I was surprised by how much time translation takes. When you get to the finer details, it turns out, a poem can have eternal depth. Since we were able to ask the authors what is it all about, the story surrounding each poem expanded more and more. Every word like a stone, when turned upside down, revealed that there is a lot more than it seemed at first.”

Anna Auziņa, Latvia

“I was very lucky with this workshop since I liked the authors whose works I was translating. When discussing the texts, we understood each other with no problems. We only had an argument with Ryan on the last day with regards to the performance, however, it turned out to be a misunderstanding for the most part. Being able to mutually translate poems and delve into the texts of our English-speaking colleagues reminded me what a freedom it is to write poetry and how much I love it.”

Ryan Van Winkle, UK

“This compelling group of contemporary Latvian and British poets spent a week delving into each other’s work and lives. It was an productive and intimate process which earned us many new translations, stories, memories and friendships. We hope the work shows the closeness we were lucky enough to share and that we’ll be able to continue working together in the future.”

Rhys Timble, North Wales

“I found the workshops and interactions with poets in Latvia to be incredibly fun and fruitful. We had a great performance and formed what I hope will be an ongoing relationship between the poets involved. I won’t forget my small Latvian vocabulary or my Latvian colleague’s attempts at Welsh! I have a spare stick waiting with one of the organisers which I intend to use soon!”

The poetry translation workshop was organized in collaboration with international platforms “European Literature Live” and “Literature Across Frontiers”, as well as online literary magazines “Poetry Wales” and “The Wolf Magazine”. Similar workshops and readings with various poets are planned in Latvia and Great Britain also in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Ryan at International Nilüfer Poetry Festival

November 3, 2016

From 3-5 November I’ll be at the International Nilüfer Poetry Festival in Turkey. If you’re in Northern Turkey, do come and say hello.

Thursday 3 November

19.30: Konak Cultural Center – “What’s Inside Poets’ Backpack?” – Poetry Readings

(Participant Poets: Ahmet Telli, Birhan Keskin, Darija Zilic, Deniz Durukan, Emel İrtem, Hans Thill, Hilmi Haşal, Hüseyin Yurttaş, küçük İskender, Marc Delouze, Ryan Van Winkle, Tara Skurtu, Ülkü Tamer, Zafer Şenocak, Zoe Skoulding)

Friday 4 November

14.00: The Şahinkaya School – “The Sound of Poetry is Together with the Youth”

“What Does The Poetry Do To Us ?” – Talk

(Participants: Darija Zilic, Deniz Durukan, Emel İrtem, Ryan Van Winkle)

Saturday 5 November

“Poetry Against Nuclear Power” Peace Pledge Union Project Manifesto Reading by Mustafa Köz -Turkish Writers’ Union President

Poetry Readings by: Ahmet Telli, Darija Zilic, Deniz Durukan, Emel İrtem, Hilmi Haşal, Hüseyin Yurttaş, Karin Karakaşlı, Marc Delouze, Orhan Alkaya, Ryan Van Winkle, Tara Skurtu , Ülkü Tamer, Zafer Şenocak, Zoe Skoulding.

Ryan is part of Far Yella at Leith Dockers Club

April 22, 2016

Really excited to be bringing you a new Edinburgh artists’ collective, Far Yella, and our first event at Leith Dockers Club, 17 Academy Street, at 7pm on Sunday 24 April. It’s going to be an amazing evening, it’s just £5 for an array for incredible words and music, and I hope to see you there.

An evening of entertaiments presented by ‘Far Yella’ (a new collective featuring Faith Eliott, Hailey Beavis, Mario Cruzado, Reuben Taylor, Ryan Van Winkle, Sam Siggs & Supermoon).

There will be:

Music + Poetry + Bingo + Bread + Jumble Sale + DJs + Shit Magic (among other wonders)

Where: Leith Dockers Club — 17 Academy St, Edinburgh EH6 7EE
When: 24 April, 7pm
How Much: 5 quids

Guests include:

– “2 Man(l)y DJs” (Dai Jones & Martin Mckenna)

– Joining the Poetry BINGO:
Tessa Berring, David Stavanger, Alicia Sometimes, Mandy Kahn, Calum Rodger, Jennifer Lynn Williams, Eleanor Lim, Mario Petrucci, Nick-e Melville

– Suited & Booted: a car boot sale with an indescribable difference. (Abby Joyce & Dai Jones)

++++ much much more!

Ryan wins Saltire Society Scottish Poetry Book of the Year 2015

December 4, 2015

The Good Dark has won the Saltire Society’s Poetry Book of the Year award. Here’s what the judges said: “Van Winkle works with the language of love and lost till it is scarcely recoverable but which still nourishes the lover’s past and present. His range is remarkable: everything invokes everything else, the tactile calls in the intellectual, one poem calls in every other poem, mundane tasks call in whole physical and emotional worlds.”

You can get a copy direct from Penned in the Margins or ask at your local bookshop.

Culture Laser Live!

August 14, 2014

We did it live on August 6 at The Forest in Edinburgh. Featuring Louise Orwin talking about her show Pretty Ugly at the Forest Fringe, an excerpt from the fantastic Room, music from The Jellyman’s Daughter and the Culture Laser House Band featuring Snake-faced Jake. Presented by Ryan Van Winkle (@rvwable) and recorded by Alasdair Kampff. Produced by Colin Fraser (@kailworm) of Culture Laser Productions (@culturelaser). With thanks to Creative Scotland for their financial assistance.

Commiserate August – Jane Flett

August 21, 2013

Commiserate is a monthly experiment in poetic collaboration.

August, 2013: Jane Flett

I asked Jane if she’d stay up late with me and write a poem. In my mind, we’d only send work to each other after midnight, perhaps a little tipsy. Of course, we broke the rules and, of course, it didn’t matter. The point was to connect again since Jane now lives in Berlin and I remain (mostly) in Edinburgh. It is strange how people you once saw every day turn into friends you see once a year. And it is a constant surprise to me (because I’m an idiot) – how people grow and talent evolves. Working in this way with Jane reminded me how far we’ve both come since meeting each other many years ago while working at The Forest. After years of sweating in kitchens and drunken reading tours and countless stupid photographs – it was a pleasure to work with Jane Flett, writer.

Night Vision

I want to be left alone
with you to wind
the garters of our once-told tales
and turn the sky like spades.

I am dead and dry inside
and you are moist as midnight
grass. Some star
always in ascension, some mars

boy always going down, it is five
o’clock somewhere so pour
me a fresh glass of glitter and ask
the bears to leave us be, to stop

clearing those soft furred throats.
To choke. It is dark / they’ve seen our fire
all the times I am not here
—a bag hangs high. So, okay

we’ll leave the bears. Okay, I’ll go in.
I’ll tidy my house. Post my letter.
Stand in the kitchen squinting

at the edifice of glass wondering
whether you plot to return or if
the dark is now your bedroom’s

keyhole / should I grasp my
night vision? Is inside
your room the soft centre of

acorn shells, fit for
my finger? I have forgotten
so many sunsets

so many breakfasts, so many
broken fasts at midnight, so many
rules, all the crosswords I’ve ever

tried to own. So many letters
saying yes
the ocean is deep, of course

you want to be outside
on a sunny day
you can find anything you need
in thrushes or rusted bins

but to get astride your sunny
day / I have to trek
six continents from here,

forsake the Pleiades and
combat the tin shards
of the night. The trail

to your door is measured in
fathoms. I enter by sinking
slow, into pressure and black.

Jane says:

For me, this poem started off as a long distance mash note to a friend: Hey. I miss you. Let’s sit up all night talking again about everything. But then it went all strange and unexpected. This is what I like most about writing when a poem is going well—the moments when ideas appear on the page that don’t feel like mine at all but still feel like they’re they only thing that could possibly come next. What? Where did all those bears come from? 

Of course, in collaboration this feeling is much, much greater. I was pushing the poem one way, Ryan was pulling it another, and I think somewhere in the gaps between our intentions, good things appeared. 


Jane Flett is a philosopher, cellist, and seamstress of most fetching stories. Her poetry features in Salt’s Best British Poetry 2012 and is available as a chapbook, Quick, to the Hothouse, from dancing girl press. Her fiction—which Tom Robbins described as “among the most exciting things I’ve read since social networking crippled the Language Wheel”—has been commissioned for BBC Radio, awarded the SBT New Writer Award, and performed at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

More from Commiserate 2013

Ryan in Moniaive and Dumfries: 8 and 16 September

September 7, 2012

Roofless & Rediscover

Super excited to be feeding chopped up poems a la William Burroughs to a giant mechanical bird in Moniaive and Dumfries. Buzzbeak is a Transformer-like animatronic musical bird made by artist Sumit Sarkar and engineer Duncan Turner somewhere on a farm in East Ayrshire.

I’m in Moniaive on Saturday 8 September between 1-5pm, where we’ll be making recordings to be played back at a special performance in Greyfriars Kirk in Dumfries on Sunday 16 September.

I’ve got some good friends in Dumfries, can’t wait to catch up! The show’s going to be exciting and experimental and excellent, don’t miss it.

For more details about the organisers:

Roofless – Scotland’s biggest outdoor arts programme


Details of the shows in Moniaive and Dumfries:

Roofless @ Moniaive

Roofless @ Dumfries

Sinan Antoon on the SPL Podcast!

November 5, 2009

As part of the Reel Iraq Festival I had a chance to talk to the Iraqi Poet Sinan Antoon. Sinan has two books out and I found his collection, Bagdahd Blues, is hauntingly beautiful. There are some incredibly rendered, short poems in there all written clean and clear.Check it out. You can also find Sinan’s work in the latest issue of The Edinburgh Review as translated by Andrew Philip. I’m really happy that the Reel Iraq Festival branched out into the literary world this year and that I had a chance to be so active in so much of it. Let’s hope these important festivals keep growing in Edinburgh.

Here’s the blurb from the SPL:

Reader in Residence Ryan Van Winkle and Iraqi poet and novelist Sinan Antoon found a break during the Golden Hour to chat about his work, about labels and about which poems he carries with him. Also featuring hip hop track ‘Sunshine’ from Mammoth.

Our podcasts are about to become a bit more frequent. Be here every Friday, or better yet, subscribe!

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Poetry and Drawing

October 31, 2009


I’m posting this video on Halloween because it is kind of spooky. At least to me it is. A bunch of drawings of ME from Jenny Soep’s amazing Sketching the Scene event where there was poetry, drinking, drawing and music from the band FOUND. Basically, people were invited to draw as people performed. Jenny did live paintings projected behind FOUND and myself. It was cool, interactive and really very fun which I think this video reflects. Let’s hope there’s more of these evenings soon!

There’s no audio on the video so may I suggest you enjoy the most recent SPL podcast whilst you watch? Click play below:

And if you can’t get enough of me – come see me read at the Storytelling Festival and at the Electric Cabaret Tonight. Both events should be amazing — the former being a lovely chat and the latter being an all-out party!

Keep it creepy,