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Sample Poetry
This Way Out (2014, Hanging Loose Press)

From the back cover:
Terence Winch's poems are imaginative, soulful and funny. He writes half way between the everyday and the conjured---his poems often feel like walking into a room made out of the sky. These new poems seem less tethered to reality yet more appreciative of the actual things the world has to give…and take away. This Way Out gives us Terence Winch at the top of his game. ---Bob Hicok

In This Way Out, Terence Winch plumbs mysteries that range from the everyday ("Two Girls," teenagers shinnying down the roof next door) to the enduring ("X-Man," for an illiterate grandfather he never knew), always with an edge of laughter and the call for a stiffer drink. Though Winch has an ear for rhyme, he wears tradition lightly in "Classical Instructions" and "Romantic Poem," before offering a tour de force, "Nightingale, Wish Me Luck," which manipulates the end-rhymes of John Keats himself. Perceptive and subversive, this book has rhetorical marrow, that rich weird greatness at its core. These are the poems you read to your friend at two in the morning.
---Sandra Beasley

To order This Way Out, click on CONTACT.

Lit from Below (2013, Salmon Poetry, county Clare, Ireland)

From the back cover:

In these delightful foreshortened sonnets, Terence Winch makes poems that leak with lucent dreams, dissolving midsentence into reversals, somersaults, and whimsy: counterfactuals that are as solid as the band that is your mind playing favorite songs in an old movie. "The crowd exploded. The room cheered." And now back to the poems, already in progress. . . ---Charles Bernstein

The writing of the poems in Lit from Below began in the early '90s when Ray DiPalma invited Terence Winch to contribute a chapbook to a series DiPalma was then publishing. Winch wrote ten ten-line poems for the chapbook, liked writing them, and kept at it long after the publication came out. Since then many of the subsequent poems have appeared in a wide variety of journals. These poems, which are unlike most of Winch's work, became an on-going writing project that, he says, "felt more like play to me than work, but I've always believed that creativity and play are symbiotic." The poems started out with a distinct Language-poetry feel to them. Winch used them initially to play with referentiality, linearity, etc. But over the course of time, they became somewhat less "experimental," for want of a better term. Winch says that "the confines of a ten-line block make the poems feel like little word-houses in which many different approaches---from narrative, to surreal, to autotelic---may reside. The structure also encouraged a definite economy, terseness, which I think makes them compact and faster than my four-door, luxury model poems."

To order Lit from Below, click on CONTACT.

Falling Out of Bed in a Room with No Floor (2011, Hanging Loose Press)
From the back cover:

Whether they arise from the actual or the conceptual, Terence Winch's poems are plugged directly into real experience, and they convey the quiet authority of what is true. He writes with a sure hand and fine sense of the playful slipperiness of language. ---Billy Collins

The title of Terence Winch's newest collection says it all: the wonderfully droll, self-deprecating, hard-hitting and deliciously comic narrator of these poems knows only too well what life exacts from us. A trivial event like losing one's watch and replacing it brings on the rueful recognition that "it ran so fast, / I had to live every day / as if it were tomorrow." It's a dilemma we all face. No rest for the weary! In a sequence of dazzling and poignant memory poems about love and death, friendship and family trauma, Winch once again displays his uncanny ability to take the most ordinary of incidents and endow them with radiance. One reads Falling Out of Bed in a Room with No Floor with a steady shock of recognition. Here WE are! ---Marjorie Perloff


Part satyr, part fierce angel, Winch manages a voice so full of tenderness and delicious drollery that you know you'd be lucky to spend time with this guy in a pub. They say we like other people who make us feel good, who make us laugh, and these are poems that aim to provide the kind of deep enjoyment and entertainment we need. They aim to, and they do: the voice of these poems moves seamlessly through free verse and traditional forms (villanelles and a sestina, even), through the dream-life's nightmares and the real world of public transit, through memory and tomfoolery, wit and despair; the virtue these poems always embrace, however, is camaraderie. You can imagine Whitman enjoying these poems, just as both Billy Collins and Marjorie Perloff have said they do. ---David McAleavey (in an Amazon review)

Terence Winch is a notable American poet. His latest collection, Falling Out of Bed in a Room With No Floor, contains more of his charming, oddball, wonderfully readable poetry. Published by Hanging Loose Press, it's a must read! ---Steve Kowit (in Serving House Journal)

Read David Lehman's piece on the new book at The Best American Poetry blog.

Check out Bill Nevins's review in Albuqueque's IQ Local.

For Earle Hitchner's essay on the book, "Poet Terence Winch Pours a Potent 'Fifth'"---go to the Irish Echo [n.b.: end of piece is missing here].

See Michael Lally's post on Falling Out of Bed in a Room with No Floor at Michael's blog, Lally's Alley.

Read Laura Orem's take in the Innisfree Poetry Journal.

To order Falling Out of Bed in a Room with No Floor, click on CONTACT.

Boy Drinkers (2007, Hanging Loose Press---click & scroll down).

PUBLISHER'S PRESS RELEASE: The latest work from this acclaimed poet, musician, and fiction writer reaches down to the roots of the contemporary Irish-American experience. In Boy Drinkers, Terence Winch---with singular poignancy, wit, and clarity---draws on his upbringing in the Bronx in the 1950s and '60s to bring to life an Irish Catholic world of guilt and choice, debt and legacy, and the betrayals of belief that shake the self to the core.

Winner of the American Book Award for his poetry collection Irish Musicians/American Friends and of the Columbia Book Award for The Great Indoors, and grant recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fund for Poetry, and the Maryland State Arts Council, Terence Winch is recognized as a significant presence in the literary community. Winch---also known as a songwriter with his celebrated band, Celtic Thunder---has been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered" and numerous times on Garrison Keillor's "Writer's Almanac."

Praise for Boy Drinkers:

Here is a new look at the Irish diaspora, where the sound of glasses clinking is as familiar as the smell of incense at a Catholic Mass, where Terence Winch prays, "If the spirit has its own life, let the noises /it makes be as silent as the multiplication / and subtraction of time, and not / the rattle of a cough in the dark." Boy Drinkers looks with sober eyes at the people, tragedies, and traditions that shaped any of us who grew up in a community where alcohol and God were equally able to bring us to our knees. With his musician's ear and Irishman's humor, Terence Winch pokes fun at the Holy, makes sacred the mundane, and redefines the meaning of "grace." ---Meg Kearney

Terry Winch writes the kind of poems that make you want to kick back and listen, and say to hell with what you were supposed to be doing. These vignettes of growing up Irish Catholic in New York City during the '50s and '60s evoke a world that seems long gone, in many ways with good reason. In a voice that manages to be understated, precise, and casual all at once, Winch exposes us to a set of characters struggling with a world that's changing too fast not only for them, but for anyone. These are poems you'll remember. Clear-eyed, unsentimental, and hilarious, they'll also break your heart. ---Mark Wallace

Reviews of Boy Drinkers

  • "In Boy Drinkers, Terence Winch continues his compelling record of a time, a place, and a people.... The remarkable thing about Winch's Irish-American writing is that it is radically local and inductive in the sense that Charles Olson preached localism. ...An Irish-American classic." ---Jack Morgan, The Irish Literary Supplement

  • "These witty, narrative poems are light, brave particles of truth." ---John Jacob, Rain Taxi

  • "Vivid..., deft...,subtle, poignant---Few contemporary American poets have built with Winch's skill an entire book around the alienating desolation of a religious faith and working-class poverty." ---Bill Mohr, The New Review of Literature

  • "Terence Winch is a poet and founding member of Celtic Thunder, the storied Irish music group. Boy Drinkers is his mesmerizing new collection of autobiographical poems about growing up Irish-American in the Bronx."---Dylan Foley, The Newark Star-Ledger

  • "Winch's nostalgic new collection about growing up Irish Catholic in New York in the 1950s and 1960s...packs the undeniable punch of memories dragged up and pried away from whatever might have obscured them from view." ---Kevin Nance, Booklist

  • "Winch seamlessly weaves comedy and tragedy, the personal or conversational and the highly lyrical.... What one discovers is a universality of feeling: the pleasure of being admitted to a world of strangers who speak your language."---Anna Ziegler, Smartish Pace magazine.

    To order Boy Drinkers, click on CONTACT.

    The Drift of Things

    Publisher: The Figures Press (2001)
    ISBN: 1-930589-12-3

    "The Drift of Things jumps with linguistic life, its mixed marriage of anecdote and epiphany full of surprises. Winch's serio-comic imagination renews the world with panache, letting ordinary matters take on a glow at once enigmatic and everyday. In this technically impressive collection, the poems offer a witty, intrepid, unsentimental response to pleasures of the flesh as well as to pain and soreness of spirit... Winch has a beautifully tuned ear, whether working in formal mode or in supple lines of free verse. In all their zany, plainspoken ways, these poems sing."
    --- Eamon Grennan

    "I wish I lived in the world Terence Winch inhabits. Something invisible and mythical ennobles every object he encounters. His poems are full of a carefree confidence that comes from being so good at what you do that you don’t think twice about mixing elegies, villanelles, jokes, traditional rhymes…. Reading them is like traveling to an archaic but nearby realm, something like French-speaking Canada, but much, much funnier." --- Matthew Rohrer

    "If there were a DC school of poetry, Terence Winch would be its Frank O'Hara. The music, humor, flat-out declarative, highly nuanced formal tone of TW—too full of love to be ironic—is propelled in light/dark metacognitive play by an urgent desire of the mind. Winch writes, 'Our inconceivable appointment with happiness is funny, not stupid./ It made the ancients famous and gave you perfect pitch./ It has given the nihilists nothing to worry about.' Fun, intense, and more than anyone—but Terence Winch—can say." --- Joan Retallack

    "'In this world we are mystified by experience,' writes Terry Winch in his latest book, The Drift of Things, and in this tough and funny collection of poems, the world comes on as baffling and reassuring at once, as the poet weaves past and future predicaments together to make a more active present. Winch alternates old-school form and linguistic legerdemain, not like a professional at all, but better---like a poet who recognizes that 'professionalism' actually downgrades poetry to the misery of a job. The Drift of Things is a curative for the malaise of full-time employment; a copy should be posted in every train car of the Metro system." ---review by Buck Downs in The Washington Review
    (see or Small Press Distribution)

The Great Indoors

Publisher: Story Line Press (1995)
ISBN: 0-934257-89-2
Winner of the Columbia Book Award

"Whew! There is something about Winch's poetry that leaves you breathless. Perhaps it's the grand, imagistic leaps: 'quiets as brides/skirting along on sheets of ice.' Brides? Ice? The fusion, the yoking, of such unlikely visions is one of Winch's great strengths. Following his poems in their majestic, airy ballet is thrilling because he's working at the edge of sense, tossing off similes and metaphors in an apparent recklessness that nevertheless seems perfectly controlled. ...Winch, author of the well-received Irish Musicians/American Friends (1985), writes with clear authority and great style and remains a poet to watch." -- Patricia Monaghan, Booklist

"A collection of alternately witty, mysterious, tender, and harrowing narratives.... Winch specializes in a flat diction that imparts a reportorial, measured reasonableness to even the most brutal accounts. He calmly sets things out, moves in for the kill, and leaves you gasping, [yet]...there's tenderness lurking not too far below the surface. ...Winch's acute power of observation, combined with his vacillations between passion/dispassion and faith/cynicism, paint a warts-and-all portrait of how human beings struggle to face the day, battle with each other, and steal small pieces of transcendence from mundane routines. ...The poems come back to haunt you." ---Peter Bushyeager, The Poetry Project Newsletter

" 'I felt an intense craving for simplicity'" writes Terence Winch in his poem 'In the Milky Light.' That craving has been more than fulfilled in this wonderful new collection. It turns out that intensity and simplicity add up to something that is more than the sum of their parts, something very much like being awake and alive in this particular moment, in one's skin, in one's clothes." --- John Ashbery

"My selection for the 1996 Columbia Book Award is The Great Indoors by Terence Winch. I admire its atmosphere of the bitter-sweet, the expert sense of line, and its many subtle and humorous ways of Washington, D.C. I have lived in Washington and Winch understands the drift of those unenclosed by political boundaries, of the way day passes into night in that city. He has caught the essence of many moods, without exploiting them." ---Barbara Guest

"Terence Winch's poems ... resonate with an indelibly intimate narrative music that's as irresistible as the unassuming logic and equanimity that propel them ... It's as if you're suddenly listening to the only guy in the neighborhood talking any sense ... Sexy, goofy, lyrical, and astute, it's writing that gets the job done with incredible pleasure to spare." --- Ed Friedman, Director, St. Mark's Poetry Project, NYC

"Terence Winch is a cryptic urban romantic. His poems skid and glide in and out of focus, emptying out with a wry, postmodern whoosh and then being filled back up again, slowly, with a little dose of glittering liquid, like a glass subject to the ministrations of a devoted bartender." --- Amy Gerstler
(see Amazon)

Irish Musicians/American Friends

Publisher: Coffee House Press (1985)
Winner of an American Book Award.

"Beautiful, simple, often heartbreaking poems about the big-city Irish. Winch...undeniably has the gift -- a blend of the two Jameses, Joyce and Farrell." -- Book World, The Washington Post

"The poems in Irish Musicians/American Friends ...could be called talking blues, sung in an Irish American tempo. There is a specific Irish American music in the voice...that has to be heard to be believed. The writing of Terence Winch will be a great discovery.---Denise O'Meara, New York Irish History Journal

"The poems rescue the lost emigrant culture, making a real Ireland and real myth out of Irish America. I am convinced it is a pioneering effort." --- James Liddy.
(see Small Press Distribution)

To order books or recordings by Terence Winch, click above on CONTACT.