Terence Winch

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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 last book, called Falling Out of Bed in a Room with No Floor, includes recent work along with some of his best-known poems from earlier chapbooks. His previous book, Boy Drinkers, is a series of mostly narrative poems that center around religion and Winch’s New York brand of Irish-Catholicism. His 2004 collection of non-fiction pieces called That Special Place: New World Irish Stories comes out of his experiences playing traditional Irish music with the original 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” 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 2007, Winch released a CD that collects his best-known Irish compositions on one disk: When New York Was Irish: Songs & Tunes by Terence Winch.

Winch has published five books of poems and two story collections:

Falling Out of Bed in a Room with No Floor (Hanging Loose Press, 2011)

Boy Drinkers (Hanging Loose Press, 2007)

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).

That Special Place: New World Irish Stories (Hanging Loose, 2004; non-fiction).

Contenders (Story Line, 1989; fiction).

His work is included in more than 30 anthologies, among them The Oxford Book of American Poetry, four Best American Poetry collections, and Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry. His work has appeared in many journals, including The Paris Review, New American Writing, The New Republic, the American Poetry Review, Conduit, Smartish Pace, and Verse.

Winch’s poems have also been highlighted many times on Garrison Keillor’s radio program, “The Writer’s Almanac.” Featured in a profile on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” Winch was also the subject of a two-part interview on Public Radio International’s “Dialogue” program. He has interviewed many leading Irish writers (including Frank McCourt, Colum McCann, Nuala O Faolain, et al.) for the Maryland-based cable TV series The Writing Life, and was himself the subject of an interview with Roland Flint for the series in 1998. Winch has also written for The Washington Post, The Washingtonian, The Village Voice, The Wilson Quarterly, 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 Maryland State Arts Council, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the Fund for Poetry. He is also the winner of a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing. In 1992, Irish America magazine named him one of “The Top 100 Irish Americans.”

Beltway Poetry Quarterly: http://www.beltwaypoetry.com/poetry/poets/names/terence-winch/

Written by Terence Winch in 2013

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