Biography of Terence Winch
Terence Winch,originally from New York City, now lives in the Washington, DC, area. In the early '70s, he was one of DC's "Mass Transit" poets and was closely associated with the New York writers connected with the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church in lower Manhattan.
Winch, the son of Irish immigrants, has also been part of Irish-American cultural life, both as musician and writer. Some of his poetry and other writing takes its subject matter from his upbringing in a Bronx immigrant neighborhood.
His newest book, a collection of non-fiction stories called That Special Place: New World Irish Stories, comes out of his experiences playing traditional Irish music with Celtic Thunder, a band he started with his brother Jesse in 1977. Many of the songs he wrote for Celtic Thunder recount the story of New York's Irish community: with "When New York Was Irish," "Saints (Hard New York Days)," and "The Irish Riviera" the best-known of them. Celtic Thunder's second album, The Light of Other Days, won the prestigious INDIE award for Best Celtic Album in 1988.
Winch has published three books of poems:
Irish Musicians/American Friends
(Coffee House Press, 1985), an American Book Award winner
The Great Indoors
(Story Line Press, 1995), which won the Columbia Book Award
The Drift of Things
(The Figures, 2001)
He has also published a book of short stories called Contenders
(Story Line, 1989).
His work is included in more than 20 anthologies, five of them published in 2003 alone: Best American Poetry 2003 (Scribner's); Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry (Random House); Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present (Scribner's); Poetry Daily: 366 Poems from the World's Most Popular Poetry Website (Sourcebooks); and From Totems to Hip-Hop: A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry Across the Americas (Thunder's Mouth).
His work has appeared in The Paris Review, New American Writing, The New Republic, American Poetry Review, Arshile, Shiny, Verse, Western Humanities Review, Agni, The World, Hanging Loose, Crab Orchard Review, New Hibernia Review, Irish Music et al.
Winch's poems have also appeared in such ezines as The Cortland Review and Poetry Daily, and have been highlighted several times on "The Writer's Almanac" radio program. Featured in a 1986 profile by Geoff Himes on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," Winch was also the subject of a two-part interview with George Liston Seay on Public Radio International's "Dialogue" program in 1998. He has interviewed several leading Irish writers for the cable TV series The Writing Life, and was himself the subject of an interview with Roland Flint for the series in 1998. (For the entry on TW in The Encyclopedia of the Irish in America, see www.nd.edu/~ndr/issues/ndr10/winch/winch.html).
TW has also written for The Washington Post, The Washingtonian, The Village Voice, The Wilson Quarterly, The Dictionary of Irish Literature, The Oxford Companion to American Poetry, and other books and publications.
Terence Winch has received an NEA Fellowship in poetry, as well as grants from the DC Commission on the Arts, the Maryland State Arts Commission, and the Fund for Poetry.
For more on Terence Winch, please visit his official website:
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Terence Winch Poems
The Irish Riviera
I wish I could remember the names of these two old guys I used to see when I was a kid and spent my summers in Rockaway which was known as The Irish Riviera
No one is safe. The streets are unsafe. even in the safety zones, it's not safe. Even safe sex is not safe. Even things you lock in a safe
Get old enough so you won't have much to fear. By then, the music plays inside your head and everything beautiful must be learned by ear.
When I die I promise to haunt all my surviving enemies, may they be few if any at that point, because I hope to outlive them all.
Non-Possession is One-Tenth of the Law
Do not travel over vast distances. Stay home and contemplate your neighbor, the old woman who roams up and down the street. She can never remember who you are
for David Lehman I woke up this morning feeling
They came here first in a car shaped like a heart and now they depart as brilliant jazz musicians. They arrived in full costume, rolling north through a winter of neon.
All last night I kept speaking in this archaic language, because I had been reading Poe and thinking about him. I read 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue' which is supposedly the first
Get old enough so you won't have much to fear.
By then, the music plays inside your head
and everything beautiful must be learned by ear.
In the bathroom mirror I behold my wear and tear.
In our bedroom I try to levitate in bed.
Get old enough so you won't have much to fear.