Thursday, September 13, 2007

At Open Books Tonight

Thursday, September 13, 2007 at 07:30 PM

Nance Van Winckel stakes out her turf when she writes of standing near a van “so old and so red and broken, / and me as a ruptured part thunked lose on the road.” In her new collection, No Starling ($12.95 paper; $27 hardcover Univ. of Washington), she is often a tangential character, a witness who, happily for us, witnesses with a strong, self-assured voice — “I may be a false prophet, but god bless me, at least / I have something to say.” By dint of her crafty imagination, Van Winckel’s work enters a wide array of situations — some wholly imagined, some personally experienced, and some historic — and presents them all with a lively fullness. We readers can’t help but enter and occupy them along with her. This, from her poem “Simon Weil at the Renault Factory (1935)” — “The coupe is a cave. / Shine its horn; buff its blast. // The cave wheels forth — God, / where is it going? Into more rat-a-tat- / tat. More hands, less us; more air / in airguns.” This fine collection is the latest addition to the Pacific Northwest Poetry Series from the University of Washington Press. It contains some truly dazzling poems, and we look forward to this chance to hear them.

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