miami university


After A Spell


Nance Van Winckel

1998. 1-881163-24-5 / 1-881163-25-3

After A Spell is the winner of a 1999 Governor’s Writers Award from Washington State.

“Van Winckel’s angels are those of experience, of a life lived in a world populated by the strange and sordid, the supremely fictional and the shockingly real: bizarre relatives of mythic proportions, criminal friends shuffled off to lengthy prison sentences, tragic lovers and their selfish needs, seductive strippers in the dance of provocation. These people and others blossom to vivid life in memory's fertile dirt.”
High Plains Literary Review

“Nance Van Winckel’s poems work, walk, shine, splash, and heal. Their facts are hallucinatory. This traveling phosphoric light registers and defines simultaneously many—all—parallel worlds born on the spot while walking. Amorphous borders are the sharpest edges. ‘Blink, and this sleep is a pebble carried in the great / gullet of a dream—augering down the lava core / and rising into the night mountains...’ Yes. And more. Fascinating.”
—Tomaz Salamun, poet

“Nance Van Winckel looks into the world’s shattered glass and animates the cultures, histories, human dispositions, and decontextualized landscapes found there. For those who celebrate Keats’s Negative Capability—haunting, reflective, discontinuous—lift this mirror and breathe upon it; from the silvery lake of mystery, light’s brief truth glints.”
—Sandra Alcosser

“[The] slide into and away from violence energizes her work... Like Rilke, she is a poet trying to leave the cerebral behind her in order to move into a more spiritual realm via the senses.”
—Laurie Byrne Bouck, Indiana Review

“Like all successful spell casters, Nance Van Winckel knows just what to offer, just what to withhold. And through these assured, finely crafted poems, we follow her brilliant summons into all the worlds of ‘after-ing’: desire, pursuit, the shaping of time...”
—Linda Bierds

“There is so much unpredictability and surprise in Nance Van Winckel’s poems that they seem to hover, sometimes tremble, slightly ahead of the reader and writer, yet all the while rewarding anyone who cares to follow.”
—Li-Young Lee

About the Author

Photo of Nance Van WinkelIn addition to her three most recent poetry books with Miami University Press, Nance Van Winckel authored an earlier volume of verse, Bad Girl, with Hawk. Her poems have appeared in APR, Ascent, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Field, Gettysburg Review, Grand Street, High Plains Literary Review, The Journal, Ohio Review, Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Paris Review, North American Review, Poetry Miscellany, The Seneca Review, Third Coast, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and West Branch.

She has also published two collections of short stories, Limited Lifetime Warranty Quake, and Curtain Creek Farm.

She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship in poetry and a 1998 Washington State Artists Trust Literary Award in fiction.

She is a professor in the graduate creative writing programs of Vermont College and Eastern Washington University.

Author Photo by: R.F. Nelson